Steve SIFF 2009

Inauguration Day

The official transfer of power took place at noon Eastern Time, or 9 am Pacific Time, right while "J" and I were getting "T" ready for school. But we still managed to watch some of the ceremonies, and I listened on the radio while driving.

After four years of nightmares of all kinds, it was a huge relief. It felt good to be a part of the ceremony, even if only through streaming and radio.

Parts of the proceedings were a bit boring, but boring never felt so comforting. The youth poet laureate was amazing.

Other than the celebration, we didn't do much. Because we drank our inauguration sparking wine to toast the new Georgia Senators, we didn't have any for today. Maybe we'll toast the first full day of the new administration tomorrow.

Quarantine report: two outside stops: T to school, T from school.

Steve SIFF 2009

(no subject)

Today, we had another visit from "L".; it was nice to see her again, and "T" in particular was thrilled.

After picking up T from school, we went to the clock store to retrieve the repaired clock. I asked whether they had replaced the hands or used the ones I had brought in. Initially they said that they probably used the ones I brought in, but then remembered more about the repair job, and said that it had new ones. That's because the movement I had used was Chinese-made, while the replacement was US-made, and the standard sizes are different. My guess is that since the durability of its repairs is important to their reputation; the replacement movement is probably a good one.

replacement of switch barriers >p> I baked another batch of bread today; it came out pretty good, even though I didn't give it quite as long a second fermentation as I have on some recent batches.

Quarantine report: two outside stops: "T" to school, T from school.
Quarantine report: two outside stops: T to school, T from school.

Steve SIFF 2009

Welcome, president-elect Biden!

Although signs have looked good for Biden for a few days, today is the day that enough votes were counted to show that Joe Biden will be the next president. That's cause for celebration. "J" and I did indeed celebrate, though it was hardly in proportion to our relief at the results.

I haven't seen Biden's acceptance speech, but my understanding is that it was quite a good show, and an admirable (if not Obama-grade) speech. I include a full-text copy of a transcript below, behind a cut.

The one policy point he made was that he's starting work on the pandemic right away. It's worth quoting in-line:

On Monday I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden–Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that will start on January the 20, 2021. That plan will be built on bedrock science.
It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern. I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic.

That's a complete turn-around from the current policy of lies, magical thinking, and quackery. It's a first step toward restoring normal life to the country.

The other theme of the speech is about reconciliation and forgiveness. I think that's good speech-making, and to an extent necessary. But he knows from his experience as vice president that he can't count on any cooperation from Senate Republicans if they see advantage in blocking progress. Making deals with adversaries is a necessary part of legislation, but where they refuse to deal the only choice is to maneuver around them, which will be difficult unless Democrats gain control of the Senate, winning two of four undecided seats: two tough run-off elections in Georgia, an unlikely vote-count turnaround in North Carolina, and a longshot win in Alaska.

As for the general matter of reconciliation and forgiveness, I personally can forgive the low-information voters four years ago who bought the lies about bringing manufacturing jobs back from China. Sure, they were idiots for not understanding that when manufacturing jobs come back from China it's because manufacturing companies are buying robots, not rehiring people who reminisce about their union assembly line jobs.

But the people who voted for the Racist in Chief this time around have no excuse. They've seen four years of creeping fascism, and voted for more fascism, thinking they'll be the ones whipping the slaves.

Over 70 million people voted for more fascism. That's worse than the almost 63 million who voted for whatever they thought they were voting for in 2016.

It's fantastic that 75 million people voted against fascism. But it's horrifying that 70 million voted for fascism.

Those who voted for fascism deserve no forgiveness. They deserve no reconciliation.

I didn't watch Harris's speech either, but I also read a transcript. I love the civil rights theme. I like it that she mentions that democracy is not guaranteed; after four years of attacks on democracy, that's an important message. I like her praise of the volunteers who worked for the Biden–Harris campaign. I love the line, "You chose hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth." I like the priorities she mentioned: defeating the pandemic, addressing systemic racism, dealing with climate change, and the obligatory unity healing.

A number of friends wrote that their votes for Biden were more about voting against fascism – but that they were definitely voting for Harris. Reading her speech, I'm pleased to say that I voted for her too.

It looks like she spoke before Biden, so I'll copy her speech first, also behind a cut.

Harris speech transcript

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— by way of "Read Kamala Harris's cictory speech in full", Esquire, today.

Biden speech transcript

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Quarantine report: home all day.

Steve SIFF 2009

cool font: Akrobat

This afternoon I was looking for an alternative to Century Gothic with narrower characters. With a web search, I came across an article titled "50+ Best Condensed & Narrow Fonts of 2020", and by the time I was most of the way through the article, I thought, "I don't like any of these!"

But then I came to the point in the article where it mentioned Akrobat free, and I was impressed: great sans-serif font, and free! I downloaded it, installed all eight font weights, puzzled over how to get Scribus to recognize them, downloaded a new version of Scribus, fought with Scribus for a while, and finally got it working.

And when it worked, Akrobat was excellent!

Steve SIFF 2009

paperwork project complete

Having finished the "paperwork project" I've been working on (or more often procrastinating) in recent days, I'm going to announce what it is: my long-delayed income tax return. We're getting a refund, so I should have filed sooner.

Steve SIFF 2009

revising mask sewing patterns

Today was another very hot day, and the tool I ordered for the construction project is still a few days away, so I didn't work on the structure.

Instead, I decided to make more masks. I was out of "face" and "mouth" pattern pieces, because one of each is destroyed in the process of making a mask, because the best way to sew curves is to sew directly through a pattern piece. (There are also "cheek" pattern pieces, but I don't stitch through them.) I couldn't get them to print the way I wanted, so I ended up spending a lot of time customizing the Olson Mask pattern to fit my whims. Between that and other stuff that kept me busy during the day, I didn't get any actual cutting or sewing done. But now I have the patterns the way I want, in files that I can edit if I want to change them again.

I also polished some old Livejournal entries, mostly in February, and made a bunch of them visible.

Quarantine report: home all day.

Steve SIFF 2009

Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon

Tonight a friend reminded me that the sky is clear and that there are good things to see. "T" and I took a look.

I took my 15×80 binoculars out and mounted them on a sturdy tripod and looked at Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon (in that order, so the Moon wouldn't dazzle my vision).

My eyepiece is smudged just enough to reduce Saturn to an oval without a clear distinction between rings and the planet. Still cool.

Jupiter was just a circle. Io was distinct about two Jupiter diameters left of Jupiter. Europa was difficult to see so close to Jupiter, about half a Jupiter diameter away, within the glare from the dirty optics. Ganymede and Callisto were easy to see, about seven and five Jupiter diameters to the right. I used a calculator to tell which moon was which.

Finally, I looked at the Moon. It's dazzlingly bright, and lots of details showed. But it's even better in other phases, when the angle of the sunshine highlights details.

We had fun looking.

I should get my binoculars cleaned. I could look up how to do it, but it would also be nice to get a full check-up, with alignment and so forth, so a professional cleaning would probably be a cheap add-on.

I thought about getting out the big telescope (a 1990s Celestron 8), but I don't remember where I stored the eyepiece case.

Steve SIFF 2009

fence, get-together moves to net conference tools, governor announces more social distancing

Today I worked on fence repairs. The main fence work was putting water-seal on the fence posts. It used to be that pressure-treated lumber was regarded as sufficient to prevent rotting. But the old post rotted, and a sign by the pressure-treated lumber at the store recommended water-seal too, so I applied it.

This evening, I got together with my usual Monday evening friends: "J", "L", "M", "M", and "D". But in recognition of social distancing (which M and L, the usual hosts of our group, had decided on a few days ago), we decided to get together through net conference tools. They were rather flaky, and I think we spent more time tinkering with the tools than actually hanging out.

Quarantine report: home all day.

At this point, we finally and rather belatedly, started taking social distancing seriously. It's time to retire the "pre-quarantine" tag and replace it with a full "quarantine" tag.

Pandemic news

Governor Jay Inslee announced today an emergency proclamation that mandates the immediate two-week closure of all restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities, as well as additional limits on large gatherings. The new orders go into effect at midnight tonight.
. . .
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page. [Link to next article excerpt.]
"Inslee announces statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars and expanded social gathering limits" — Office of the Governor.

Take-out, delivery and drive-thru food and beverage services are not banned under the proclamation.
"Inslee announces statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars and expanded social gathering limits — Governor Jay Inslee, Washington State, Medium.