Spork and Speef

Click to view the horror

Say what you will about the American diet as it stands today — at least we don’t have this around anymore. See, food was disturbing as hell in the 70s.
Just ask Betty Crocker.

Onwards to the disturbing gelatinous “Meat” In A Can:


Thanks to x-ray delta one on flickr, who has this beautiful set of Regrettable Food pics…..!!


User interface design FAIL? In MY automobile?

It’s more likely than you think!!


The next time you turn on your car, leave the key in the “RUN” position without turning it all the way to start and look at the lights that will appear on the dashboard. You should notice somewhere a small battery icon.

And there, folks, is the fail, for despite being a glowing battery icon, this light does not indicate a problem with the vehicle’s BATTERY.

I’m not going to put up schematics and stuff because that’s just getting too technical* for this. In short, the battery light indicates a problem with your vehicle’s ALTERNATOR.

The ALTERNATOR light, which inexplicably has a freaking BATTERY painted on it, indicates that the vehicle’s alternator is not charging the battery when it SHOULD BE. It came on when you turned the ignition on without starting the engine because the alternator is not being spun by the engine. Once the engine is running it should go out, because the alternator is being spun and is generating electric current to recharge the battery.

You may see the light occasionally flicker under any situation that keeps the alternator from spinning. Driving through a puddle may wet the belt and cause it to slip, causing the light to flicker. Forcing the engine RPM too low on a vehicle with a manual transmission will also make it flicker. In either case it will go out once the alternator spins back up to operating speed.

If the alternator fails to generate power, due to a broken/failed belt (you may also notice a loss of power steering assist and air conditioning!), the light will come on. The car will stop running once the battery runs out of power.

If the alternator itself fails, it may also turn on the battery light. Note that the battery light signal is generated by the alternator, so a particularly rotten failure of the alternator’s internal electronics may not necessarily turn on the light. My father had the electronic voltage regulation controls inside the alternator on a Volvo 740  fail like this while driving on the Florida’s Turnpike in the middle of nowhere – the first sign of trouble was when the antilock brake controller (dimly) illuminated its fault light due to the low input voltage!

Soooo… why not label the light “ALTERNATOR”? Even the execrably designed NABI 40LFW transit bus has the light labelled as “GEN STOP”. Suggesting that it means the GENerator has STOPped working is infinitely more useful.

* me, resisting the urge to geek out about how this actually works? INSANE

Vintage 2009, as the real estate market crashed…

I just dug this up off my old LiveJournal page. It’s kinda strange thinking that the residents of one house at the time had pulled down the quality of life so badly in my family’s neighborhood and quite refreshing to realize that the problem more or less solved itself. I was actually glad when the house was just left with the doors open for days and scrappers came in and removed all the plumbing, wiring, and fixtures – thus pretty much ensuring it was uninhabitable until major repairs were done and the heavily modified interior that split it into four apartments was annihilated.

What follows is the post directly copied and pasted. The subject line below is “KITA!” which is… well, it’s well explained in the Densha Otoko TV drama.

キタ━━━━━━(゚∀゚)━━━━━━ !!!!!

My fuckwit neighbors in the quad house across the street appear to be gone.

Back in 1999, this Hispanic family moved out of a house across the street.

The house had new owners temporarily, who did very strange things with it. One day I asked my parents for a ride home from school, and they couldn’t do it because we’d been *triple-parked* into our driveway. I came back via MDTA bus and found the entire neighborhood jammed with cars, a box truck outside that house, and a very loud party going on inside with hundreds of people. This ended when the house’s electrical system caught fire, and everyone just kinda ran. When the smoke cleared, I looked into the house through a door that had been left open, and saw that all the interior walls except for those around one bathroom had been removed. The central HVAC unit was just sorta sitting in one corner on its side on the floor, surrounded by condensate; if the power had still been on, cold air would have been blowing out of it. The DJ had hastily departed and taken his equipment with him, but had left behind *thousands* of flyers for some event taking place at another address in Kendall that sounded residential as well.

A pretty nice couple was going to move in back in 2001. They’d paid a mint to have the house fixed up, new interior and roof… and then they vanished in about April. I think the husband got a job somewhere else. He was working for Piper Aircraft at the time.

Around then, this other family moved into the neighborhood and started buying up many, many properties on ARMs, including that one.

Since like 2002, we’d had to put up with their nonsense day and night. The house had been purchased on an adjustable rate mortgage by this one family who had done the same thing with literally every house that went up for sale in this neighborhood; the rates were very low at the time, and they were making some profit off of renting the houses out.

They were, however, really shady. They’d rent to pretty much anyone who called up and met them with cash in hand for the first month.

Eventually, as ARMs reset, they started ditching the properties one by one, including the house they used to live in, two houses down from mine. They sectioned off one of their houses, across the street from me, into four seperate apartments, and put a shed out back that might have been rented out as a fifth. They lived in one of the apartments, and rented the others out.

The quad magically gathered some of the most unsavory residents imaginable. We had the Harley-tards, a couple of younger guys who owned Harley V-twin powered bikes and apparently had some affliction that kept them from ever shifting out of first gear. They’d circle the block like eight times whenever coming or going, which happened at all hours. With the engines at near redline, it would create a really terrible noise that would shake windows in their frames and could wake the dead. This continued until one of them struck the speed limit sign down the street and died, and the other one moved out of the Quad.

There was one couple who we’d always see there, a douchebag guy and a twatwaffle girl, who would have endless screaming arguments and lovely sessions of domestic abuse in the driveway in the middle of the night. This was on a nightly basis. Such a happy couple.

There was also this tiny lady with blonde hair and a Ford Expedition who would always be coming and going during the day. Like, she’d come home, then leave again within about five minutes. Whenever she left, she backed the SUV out without looking, very rapidly. She nearly creamed my uncle twice, ran me off the road doing it once, and then finally had the rear end of that thing removed when she backed right into someone going by in a Honda Civic. They were uninjured, but their car was a total loss. She eventually got a new black SUV, and after some time of being under law enforcement surveillance, left the Quad.

Finally, in the very end, it was a total mystery… there were entire days of banging, thumping, buzzing car stereo, people getting themselves drunk until they passed out in lawn chairs on the driveway… and then came the weird move-out (best I can tell, that’s what it was).

At some point last year, there was one guy living there who drove a Mustang. He always seemed quite intent on trying to steal my car, but didn’t really know how to steal a car. One night I was coming home around like 2 AM and he was waiting in his driveway in his Failstang. As I passed and went to turn into my driveway, he came up and tried to slam into my car from behind… but I dodged him, ran over a plant in my swale, which recovered within a week, and took off again. I drove around through some of the local streets, turning the corners as fast as I could (which is really fast, with that car), and he kept chasing me… until he wound up kinda parked in the front of an empty house about a mile away. I didn’t stop or really even slow down. I just got the fuck out of there. I didn’t see him for a long time after that, until he appeared briefly, buzzing around the area on a pocket bike.

Last week, there was this frenzied flurry of bizarre activity. Everyone was coming and going 24/7 in all sorts of vehicles, most not street-legal, including pocket bikes, ATCs, and Go-peds. I recall seeing them carrying a television on an ATC at one point. I’m guessing this was them moving out.

Then, suddenly.. there was silence… followed by a dump truck and crew hauling away bits of the shed out back until well into the wee hours of the night.

The house now stands with a door open into one of the apartments. It smells REALLY bad, like moldy avocados, and the smell hangs in the air heavily all around. I even noticed it wafting into my laundry room. I think the Quad’s roof must have failed and soaked the place. I looked up the property info from Miami-Dade County, and it’s currently owned by some German bank. The power’s off, but the meter’s in the socket and my volt-pen shows power present up to the meter — I don’t really know what to make of that. I have the feeling they might have taken the panel with them when they left. (Yeah, I don’t know why they’ll do this, but I do see a lot of the local handymen will buy used panels to resell them and their breakers to homeowners who probably would be a lot better off getting NEW ones…)

And thus… the neighborhood is far cleaner and more peaceful once again.

Hey guys stop reversing the polarity on your Xantrex Freedom units :P


Or, “Now presenting, the all new for 2011 International Rectifier PwndFET Transistors”

I suspect this happens when someone reverses the battery leads on a Xantrex Freedom series inverter. The IRF1010E HEXFETs are blown to bits! On the power board for a 1000 or 1500 watt unit (they both appear to be the exact same board), there are ten on each side.

The symptoms are usually an inverter which goes through the right motions of going into charge and invert, but no output is seen. Sometimes, the unit even makes the right sort of sound as if it were going into charge/invert. Inspection of the FET board will reveal… this.

The other devices on the board appear unaffected. Coming soon: an experiment to see what happens when the IRF1010E’s are replaced! Does this lead to a perfectly working board… or just an object which remains a paperweight? Stay tuned…

Elkhart, we have a problem

Modified Sine Wave HORROR! This is what I got off an inverter with a bad output filter. I believe this is proof of why you should invest in a true sine wave inverter if you’re running anything other than lighting and a refrigerator (note: a refrigerator with electromechanical controls — not an electronic control system.)

No, the scope isn’t lying here… see the last pic…

I almost missed this because I had a resistive load on the inverter. Apply a resistive load and it looks like this. Apply an inductive load and it still has those ugly spikes.

They really are that bad.

Set to trigger on the very start of one of those negative pulses. What you’re looking at is essentially a DC offset of -170vdc… with THAT on top of it. YES, THAT IS 200 VOLTS/DIV. HOLY ASS, BATMAN.

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