A sick, sad world.

Something really ridiculous just occurred to me after listening to a documentary on the Synanon cult and it’s one of those “glad that didn’t go anywhere” moments, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

For various reasons I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression for a long time. I don’t know how much may be brain chemistry, how much may be environment (a LOT of it is definitely environment!) and how much may be dealing with past traumatic incidents. Back when I was attending Florida International University, they actually had a pretty good student health system that included mental health services that helped me out a lot for a while.

That is….. until the psychologist I was seeing was arrested due to involvement with Cuban espionage.

I mean— this was Miami, so could anyone be surprised? That’s a hell of a gray area. As various federal agencies came in performing parts of the investigation they COMPLETELY TRASHED the counseling and psychological services department of the student health and wellness services. Student and employee files were all seized and never returned, employees AND PATIENTS were all placed under ridiculous amounts of surveillance (yes, to the point that patient confidentiality was compromised), and most of the staff quit over it. This all basically happened over a summer semester when I wasn’t taking any classes at the university, and I came back not too long afterwards to try to see someone.

Well, that didn’t go great.

I was invited instead to join an “experimental, unstructured group therapy” model they were working on.

So this is where Synanon comes in, sadly. One of the tools the Synanon cult used for mind control and “treatment” of their members was something they called “The Game”*. This was a system of attack therapy in which participants were encouraged to confront one another and target weaknesses in an attempt to ……. improve aspects of their personalities and thinking? I don’t even know. I’m sure someone must have some bullshit non-peer-reviewed academic preprints on how this is actually supposed to *work*, but all it turns out to be is a massively traumatic experience, at least how we came out from it.

I remember of the two sessions I attended, there was no attempt whatsoever to guide the direction away from this – it was pretty much me and four other people in the group eventually just wanting nothing more to do with it as three others got very confrontational and the rest of us wondering what they were even there for.

One of the unusually bizarre aspects of this was that we were required to have no contact outside of these sessions, and it was quickly proven that we were being observed outside of them by other members of staff and clients who had been put to the task… so those of us who actually did feel any sort of connection and tried to speak outside of that first session were torn down for it at the next.

And this shit happened in a public university, of all places, which was trying to branch out into being a school of various medical disciplines. Glorious….

Needless to say this was a COLOSSAL failure, but worse, it made me feel like I couldn’t turn to anyone for help in the next few years because I was seeing a lot of private practices around the South Florida area turning to group sessions…. primarily because they were, unsurprisingly, more profitable to run. I couldn’t really imagine this going much better.

I’ve had pretty much zero luck with trying to seek any assistance since then. Usually I’ll find someone whose private practice is covered by my insurance, wait a number of months, and find that either they decide to stop accepting new patients and cancel on me, or I’m able to go in for an initial consultation after 4-7 months only to have the practice cease to exist shortly after that initial consultation. The best to date was the practice in Jupiter, Florida, which blinked out of existence due to Donald Trump’s “Winter White House” claiming its office space for Secret Service detail and a failed office move to an abandoned tapas bar. You can’t beat that for being a classic South Florida Sucks tale, can you? Unfortunately I’ve had nothing but similar false starts since I moved to California, it just seems to be the normal state of healthcare services in America.

* Not to be confused with a particularly annoying and content-free meme from a few years back. Trust me, it’s dead and you’re all free from it now.

Evertz what did you do

Ok let’s just go in here and replace these bad power supplies

Hmm, weird….. There are three different sets of CPUs and RAM in there!

DDR3(?) ECC ram, makes sense
Hold up is that. Is that DDR1?! There’s some other bga mounted ram peeking out to the left of that roundboi cooler.

what. WHAT. It left the factory like that. It passed “QUALITY” CONTROL. What.

But somehow it works. Thanks I hate it.

You know what? I never want to see this again and maybe they were doing us a favor by using those crappy screws on the top cover where you have to drill out one or two because they’re galled and the head is made of pure nacho cheeze.

Yeet.

Yeet.

I wonder what this sounded like

So, reportedly there is good CCTV footage of this, and it’ll get posted online once the insurance company is done with it. The user at the time kept repeatedly slamming their car back and forth under the machine until they caught it with the top brush down and backed into it hard, tipping the whole wash gantry over and crushing the roof of the car as it came to rest. Amazingly, the Istobal machine looks pretty much unscathed other than the wire/hose guide getting torn off the wall.

Istobal car wash taking a nap
Stick your brushes in the air like you just don’t care
Judging from the top brush position when this went down, it was caught by what was formerly a fairly tall SUV.

Wanna bet this was a GMC Yukon or a Land Rover? Those seem to be the peak derpcastle vehicles around here.

Yes, I’m glad they resigned this…

So you know how GatesAir has that cool little integrated pump station for their liquid cooled transmitters nowadays? Yeah uh it was not always that nice. Presenting…. the older one circa 2009. It’s interesting.

This poor thing was running on EMPTY, time to juice it up! Let’s see, uh…. wait. You can’t just let it draw the solution in out of a bucket, you must use an external pump to force it in there! The expansion tank is very much on the wrong side of the pump to make pressurizing the system the same way you do with the newer systems possible.

Oh and it’s all on the outdoor side and the pumps get all nasty due to weather exposure. Both of these units have one bad pump each. Yaaaackkkk.

HhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

REALLY? The possum focus group reacts.
Blurpppblbblllbllblbthhhh

I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of the mess that occurred when the charging pump blechhhhh’d all over the floor or when that main vent pictured above inexplicably yacked on the wall behind it but suffice to say mess was made here.

Does this say crap! because in my mind it does.

Grass Valley SwampAss

This post contains very unprofessional opinions and hissing. You have been warned.

HhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

So we had an incident with an Evertz time clock just like, well, yeah, this at work. Surprise, it turns out the fragile-ass load bearing as hell Stratus system is entirely intolerant of ANYTHING messing up timecode and…. the results seem to be all but irreversible failure.

It’ll still start and stop recording video on time. It’ll still play out video. It still archives video properly.

But that’s where it ends because once it’s taken a nice hit (in this case due to bad LTC timecode that was passing through a distribution amp that shat out its power supply capacitors) it will just

It will just

No timecode. No more timecode. Ever.

And this completely thunderfucks your editing workflow.

Seriously. All I can get out of it after fixing the bad DA is the Summit 3G client machines assuring me in their logs the LTC timecode (which provides the time of day in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames- 29.97/sec because NTSC) is present and good and then it just

Fucking

Yeets it

And then it Makes Shit Up as it goes along

So far I’ve received clips where the TC starts at 00:00:00.00 and never advances as recording progresses, regardless of the Free Run setting, and that’s a major Everlasting Cockstopper because it makes it impossible to set an in and out point to generate a subclip later…

I’ve gotten clips where the timecode starts rolling correctly BUT it’s 23 minutes and some odd sec/frames in the past which is really strange but you can still mark in and out…

And I’ve gotten clips where the time starts at 00:00:00.0 but counts up properly. Weird but also harmless

But until its desired behavior is fully back I’m getting nonstop phone calls about it and it’s all just a great pile of piss streaming forth from a god awful product that never, ever, fully worked as advertised and was constantly unstable for the first few months we had all our eggs inexorably in it’s basket.

Stratus, let it be known I hate your lifeless yet malevolently vile shitty software driven guts and you make me wish I could just put everything back on fucking U-matic tape.

73’s and go fuck yourself, you piece of techbro turd. Guess I’ll be trying to get an appointment with one of Ass Valley’s two support techs tomorrow.

AMazing!

These photos are from fellow engineer Chris Hall. The owner of an AM station reached out to him for advice after a contractor from two states away rebuilt the transmitter facility and it just wouldn’t make power. Wonder why? What’s the dielectric strength of a Mason jar? Which parts went Exxon Valdez in there?

My experience with AM antenna systems is limited but I can say that I would not trust even a single component in this ATU – it’s probably all been compromised by excessive voltage, current, and, uh, mechanical abuse, fire, and overheating. Call up Kintronic Labs, ask for a quote….

How do you do that to a poor innocent vacuum variable cap?! I mean uhhhhhhhhh. What. I’m guessing the voltage flew off the handle when it ran far off resonance, I can’t even fathom which part would have failed first, or maybe if the contractor just tried to bring up full power with the Vise-Grips not clamped on or okay that’s it I’m done I can’t even. This is why I like coming up at the lowest possible power first if in doubt….

20 years in the toilet

So, my thoughts on the past 20 years of life in America…

First off I wish to mention that I in no way am unaware or intending to downplay the tragic losses of life that occurred as the result of the September 11, 2001 attack on New York City. It’s just unfortunate that this was allowed to negatively affect so many more lives than necessary.

That being said…

This is just a weird set of disjointed observations I felt like putting in writing so I could get them off my mind and go back to thinking about cats and video feedback.

Read more “20 years in the toilet”