Oh, Elon Musk, you just got serenaded with horns.aiff IN SPACE

So earlier, Elon Musk posted someone else’s art to his Twitter then claimed crediting the artist is “destroying the medium” then he ragequit Twitter after being called out on it, by “deleting” his account, but not actually deleting it.

I feel kinda dirty for once looking up to this turd sandwich. I’m sorry, everyone. Here, enjoy some random derp pictures from my collection:

Redding sucks snow off Mt. Shasta.

In the honor of having worked in the city of Redding, California, for over a year now, I wish to inform you all of why it sucks. Massively.

I work in Redding, but I live down the road about an hour. I’ll gladly take that hour or so over the mere idea of living in Redding, not that it’d be reasonably possible anyway, for spooky reasons I’ll get into shortly.

A little backstory: Redding was the original northern terminus of a railroad— I guess Southern Pacific. It was certainly involved in the Gold Rush and stuck around as a city of industry with businesses selling timber products. Later on, it became one of the industrial hubs to support the nearby Shasta Dam construction project. It continued with a lot of construction and agriculture related businesses until the Great Recession in 2008.

Most of the businesses closed suddenly and Redding lost a lot of residents. Also, at some point, methamphetamine started blasting out of the storm drains or something. I’m not sure when this became such a major problem but it’s fucking everywhere.

At that point, a growing megachurch, Bethel, was able to swoop in and pretty much snap up EVERYTHING including monopoly control over the housing market and commercial real estate, key positions in the local government and police department. They formed a great fractal burst of shell companies that somewhat hide their involvement, but it’s still bleeding obvious if you know where to look.

Flash forward to today, and Redding just sucks ass.

The first thing you’ll probably notice if you start researching the city’s current state is Bethel, and the associated Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Yes, you read that right, and it’s every bit as stupid and utterly horrible as it sounds. Bethel is… actually a terrifying cult. Among their core beliefs are the dangerous theory that prayer will cure things that should really be left to Western medicine, such as cancer and other deleterious diseases. They’re pretty much your textbook cult, training their followers that outsiders are in need of conversion and SURVEILLANCE, and encouraging them not to speak to the outside world… I’ll get into that more later too, get ready to laugh and/or cringe.

An amusing thing I have discovered: Bethel drones are comically afraid of ham radio. I use this to my advantage often.

The City of Redding bends over backwards to support Bethel’s services, which is unsurprising considering that Bethel has pretty much taken them over anyway. The Redding Civic Auditorium is reserved every week for programs for the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and the police will block up traffic so that everyone else has to wait for their students to finish coming and going before anyone else can travel through the area.

BSSM recruits students nationwide, and is kind of just enough of a school and kind of just enough of a religious organization to qualify for every tax break in the code. Their voracious appetite for expansion has completely locked down the housing market in Redding. Unaffiliated families and individuals seeking a place to live in the Redding area find themselves either refused for not being affiliated with the cult, or they find themselves competing with the cult’s many agents and shell companies for buying or renting property. Once the cult gets their hands on a property, they cut it up into dorms and pack it full of BSSM students, or just keep it empty and off the market until it becomes part of the BSSM housing later. They also own an entire business district alongside the Sacramento River that they keep empty as overflow parking for their services at the Civic Auditorium.

The entire city shuts down at 9 PM. I realize this wouldn’t be uncommon for a SMALL city, but Redding isn’t all that small. You can’t even get gasoline late at night without going out of town to a truck stop.

Living near BSSM students is an interesting sort of horrible as they spy on and harass the neighbors. A friend of mine frequently experienced eavesdropping in the quite literal sense: he routinely found occupants of the BSSM dorm in the end of his apartment complex sitting on the roof over his unit and listening to all conversation within.

The Bethel cult has control over most commercial real estate within the city and businesses effectively cannot be created without the support of the church. Costco managed to get their hands on a parcel to build a new store without going through Bethel, and their reaction was to immediately tighten their grip on housing and begin evicting tenants from rental properties they own through their shell companies, blaming the Costco store for the loss of available housing. Charming.

Last time I looked, you could….. maybe…. get on a waiting list for a few months and get a one room studio for $1300 a month, no utilities included, no parking available because it’s all reserved for the Bethel kids in the complex, no pets allowed, and a roof that only occasionally lets it rain inside. Meanwhile, about an hour away I’m paying 950 a month for a two bedroom townhome that’s never given any issues whatsoever.

It is no wonder Redding has a disproportionately large homeless population. Whereas many churches do a lot for the community and will try to assist people who are displaced, Bethel does nothing. When the Carr Fire swept through Redding, Bethel both refused to open their facilities to assist people displaced by the fire, and started a totally bogus collection for wildfire ‘relief’. I’m guessing any funding collected, if it was used for related purposes AT ALL, was probably used to snap up more property for housing BSSM students.

Among the homeless population in Redding, there are a lot of problems with substance abuse, and Redding provides pretty much no resources to assist with this. Drive around Redding and you’ll see people just barely shambling around who look like they died two years ago and came back as zombies with their skin falling off. Walk around Redding and NO WAIT DON’T WALK AROUND REDDING ARE YOU MAD–
(At least they aren’t super aggressive like Miami zombies.)

The lack of social services tends to be, well, a big conservative thing… and Redding is a very conservative town. Redding’s pissed that it’s a very red city in a VERY BLUE STATE. The city hosted a campaign stop for Fuhrer Drumpf before his election and has had at least one bizarre rally in his support since. “State of Jefferson” supporters are everywhere. The large yellow bumper stickers and truck decals they display serve as a useful warning sign that douchebaggery may occur onboard their vehicle. The areas surrounding the city are dotted with mansions up in the hills occupied by the rich idiot sector of the population; all they really care about is not seeing anyone else when they come down the hill to go shopping.

Marijuana is legal in California and has been for a while now, and Redding simply tripped over their own fat feet trying to figure out what to do with this. There are three dispensaries for medicinal and recreational marijuana products up in the city of Shasta Lake to the north, as they welcomed businesses to the city without any major restrictions. Redding sat around for a long time mulling what requirements they’d have – last I heard they came up with a highly restrictive zoning plan which – SURPRISE – ruled out any business district that Bethel doesn’t own, and they wanted to charge 20K in fees a year. Nobody’s taken them up on their amazingly generous offer, so they don’t get a share of that revenue. Oh well! Guess they don’t really want to be in the business of doing anything other than hosting a cult. 😉

Well, at least I’ll say this much— it isn’t that bad working in the city and leaving every night. I will not, however, consider living in this right mess. Bye Felicia!

Brain sludge.

Earlier this morning while actually feeling the effects of my brain trying to malfunction its way into full on migraine headache, I started to ponder for a moment if years of living with stress, sleep deprivation, and anxiety had left me with the brain chemistry of an abandoned swimming pool.

Nah. It’s not that bad— migraines just suck. Basically, the brain entirely misfires and screws up, best I can understand of the medical science behind it. It’s like when you’re playing a pinball game and a multiball begins and the balls all immediately loft off of each other and off of the slingshots and other unpleasant parts of the playfield and suddenly drain at the left and right outlanes and SDTM (straight down the middle).

But then I had this one intrusive thought, or more like, memory, that keeps haunting me to this day. WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT MYSTERY PARTY EVERY WEEKEND?

 

It was, oh, 2004 or so. The Quad was a neverending source of excitement in my neighborhood but there was one thing that I could never, ever figure out. It was fairly harmless, except to one’s sense of logic and reason, trying to figure out what it was or why it was happening.

 

Our house was in the middle of the block on the south side. On the northeast corner of the block was a house on a slightly large lot which had a big yard and a large covered patio on the back. There was an extended family living there, which isn’t uncommon at all. Every now and then they had parties which had a lot of people in attendance – seemed like most of them were family for the most part.

 

I suspect the house changed ownership as I saw different vehicles outside and an older lady who used to walk around the block every day wasn’t there anymore. I never really spoke to them much as the language barrier was pretty bad – I’ve never spoken enough Spanish to hold a conversation and they didn’t speak English. Everything thus had a kind of mystery about it— but then came the really… really big mystery.

 

The family there started holding parties every weekend and brought in a DJ (by which I mean some guy who had a mixer, iTunes, and a set of speakers). The first couple of weekends, it was just blasting salsa, reggaeton, and random pop music, with his voice occasionally booming over it all distorted. The music was POWERFULLY loud and was very audible inside our concrete block house, probably a good 300 feet away. They’d start up maybe 1 or 2 pm, and it’d be over by like 6 or so, never running into the night (thank goodness). Cars would be parked on the swale all over the block from the people in attendance. Following these first 2 or 3 unremarkable parties, they developed a unique and bizarre format, and that is what haunts me to this day. What was this and WHY?

In radio, a lot of programming adheres to a format clock which dictates what goes where in each hour. There are certain times for the break, station identification, locally inserted advertising/sponsorship, etc. In television it’s the same way but a little more standardized between shows. These parties—- they… could have had a format clock, because they all ran exactly the same. I don’t know what the hell they were doing but it was like this:

12-1 PM: Setup with random music playing, no voice.

1:00 PM: Music cuts off, followed by talking on the mic

1:05 PM: Beginning of Dragostea Din Tei loop.

…..

6:20 PM: Burst of shouting followed by the party ending.

 

Now, the loop is the super perplexing part.

Each cycle of it started with the guy shouting. His voice was heavily distorted, and I was hearing the reflection off houses and the back side of the speakers so it was muffled beyond recognition. I was never once able to understand what he’d say on each cycle.

He’d start shouting something (unintelligible due to the distortion and echo between the houses) then start playing what’d be 30 seconds of the chorus of Dragostea Din Tei.

(this video is not set to autoplay, if it does for some sick and twisted reason decide to autoplay, please inform me so that I may go drive down to San Francisco where this server is located in a VPS container in a datacenter, pull it offline, and fill it with beans)

The first 15 seconds would play out clean.
The last 15 seconds would have a police whistle blown on the backbeat.
The last 10 seconds had the whistle blown on every beat.
The last 2 or 3 seconds were covered by the whistle blowing constantly.
Then he’d yell something again and seconds later the pattern began over again.

This…. went on for hours. Pretty much the only time this pattern ever changed was the one week that I knew myself and the three neighbors in between were all getting very tired of this, and I just happened to have a single weird damaged PA speaker that came from the university’s surplus warehouse and had a strangely narrow dispersion angle. I put it up on the edge of the roof and blasted tracks from The Conet Project in their general direction. This caused the Dragostea Din Tei loop to end and be replaced with the guy shouting occasionally instead…. until my amplifier overheated and shut down. The brief shouting and Dragostea Din Tei resumed IMMEDIATELY.

 

This continued up through when the neighbors who lived directly behind us moved out and someone else bought the house and turned it into an entirely unauthorized and horrible banquet hall. That was….. a whole new form of fresh hell, but at least it did not leave me with a baffling, bizarre mystery that will haunt me until the end of days.

funny, I usually see Aqua Net recommended for adhesion on a glass bed, but I guess Rave works fine when you’re printing a dickbutt

Sonicwall, schmonicwall

How to forward ports on a SonicWall:

Okay, it’s easy, just start steeping some hemlock into the blood of a virgin in a quartz flask upon an altar of old single sided floppies and get to work—-

you will not know this horror unless you experience it for yourself and i recommend you not.

sonicwall was clearly developed by someone who had a raging databases-where-databases-are-not-due fetish.

you do not just specify addresses. you do not just specify ports.

No.

You create address objects.
You create service objects to define ports.

Then you define NAT rules.

HOWEVER…. if you manually enter or edit anything about a NAT rule, for arcane and horrible reasons that have apparently never been addressed in over a decade worth of firmware versions, they break. The only reliable way to create these rules is to go into Quick Configuration and use the Public Server Wizard. There, you can create your objects (or select them if they’re existing already) and bake them into a NAT rule.

Then maybe 40% of the time it works and the rest of the time you’re frantically SSH’ing into a remote shell somewhere else and crying into your coffee over the output of nmap.

FUCK SONICWALL.

thanks i hate it

hi there, i need a combiner care package from Microwave Filter Company, thanks

Sadly, we DO actually need antennas pointed three different directions, but that’d let me eliminate one of the dishes (not seen in the picture here) that’s mounted all janky and was able to be spun around by the wind.

Joe Jobbed…!

Well not exactly but

At the stroke of the new year, the 20 or so robocalls I was getting each day starting at 8 AM Eastern stopped. Blissful silence! I could leave my phone set to ring again!

Oh wait. This morning some text spam started going out as group texts with a huge number of recipients. Fellow victims all started clicking reply aaaaand I turned my phone off for a couple hours so it’d stop vibrating constantly and getting hot

It looks like I got about five of the messages, but each has a thread of dozens of replies!

Can I have an AMPS StarTac please?

What in the electromagnetically radiant fuck

“completed” installation by a local WiSP

Let’s get that mystery battery charger board (?) off the metal framed switch

What’s on the other end of that zip cord?

Hurk

SUPER JACKPOT!!! 10,000,000 FAIL BONUS. EXTRA BALL IS LIT

That poor tripp-lite

Yeah that’s just some outdoor CPE setup (?) lying on top

Custom… Power… Thing?

I agree with this cat

MicroREKT

I always used to wonder why every time I worked in a radio site I’d find the transmission lines going through the entry panel just goobered in there with silicone sealant or spray foam and the unused pieces of the Microflect / Andrew / CommScope / insert today’s name of the conglomerate cable entry port system lying around unused

Now I understand why and my arms and hands and back and legs all hurt, hours later

Woop Woop the FUCK POINT has been reached, this is as good as I can get this one. You just can’t get these things together if the cable doesn’t wanna go through straight.

Smoked out…

As I drove into Redding this morning I saw this wall of muck…. visibility dropped to just a couple hundred feet.

The map on purpleair.com confirms my suspicions that I should probably just top up the generator fuel tank and go home early today. This is well beyond “unhealthy”, it’s probably all the way up into “unsuitable to support life, GO AWAY”.

This is the result of the Delta Fire burning north of Shasta Lake. It’s currently 24,558 acres in size and has reached over east to meet the area affected by the Hirz Fire.

 

Interestingly there seems to be exactly *one* PurpleAir sensor in use in Southeast Florida. I thought about getting one at home, but someone right across the street already has one. Maybe adding them at our transmitter sites would be useful…?

PITAtek

Upon having the strange experience that a new supposedly frequency agile PTek would only work on half the band (seemed almost like an exciter unlock or something when I tried to dial in 107.1?) I decided to look at the exciter card to see if there’s a tunable tank coil or something

I wish I hadn’t now

SCA and composite inputs, J9 and J10 respectively. C66 lowpasses the composite sorta by shunting everything above an unknown frequency to ground. C65 highpasses the SCA, it’s in series. The two combine at fixed yet frequency dependent levels and go down that via near C63 and R33. U7 under the board is a voltage regulator. J1 is the RF out and L1 is the DC feed to the power amplifier just out of frame.

Yeah just go right ahead and stuff the audio inputs right on top of the RF out. No big deal.

Full view of the card. The DDS is at upper left.

Think you can get away from having your audio run across the butt of a voltage regulator by using the XLR jacks? No.

The trace going down the via next to R81 is one of the audio channels, and it runs right under the header connector for power and data to the board.

A word on this PA. This is a new LDMOS transistor from ST Micro. As such, its dissipation is really low, and it basically gets heatsinked by the leads and traces. Here’s the reference design…

What you get is significantly less copper. The big ground planes that’d soak heat away via the source leads are just not there… so a weird block thing was sandwiched under the board and I don’t even want to look at this any more

The stereo generator used to, in earlier designs, be based off a DSP that I’d heard they couldn’t get anymore. This stereo generator is what I could best describe as “deconstructed BA1414 feeding a high speed ADC”. I’m guessing the two PICs are used for timing generation and the 8 bit ADC, U8 / DAC0800LCM is probably used to generate a sine wave from a lookup table or something. conspicuously absent is any sort of audio filter to roll off program content above 15-18 khz, if this is present the generator flips the hell out. It’s a living nightmare on green circuit board. Gaaah.

Side note– the BA1414 I mentioned above is a chip made by Rohm which is used in a lot of really cheap little FM transmitter baubles and produces TERRIBLE output. It performs stereo multiplexing using a couple of poorly filtered square wave oscillators that are mixed with audio.