Alt Sunday School: I, The Lord Your God , Make the Deaf, Mute, and Blind.

Wow. There’s a lot to unpack in Exodus 4. Today I’ll cover the first half.

This is the part of Moses’ story where the Judeo-Christian God (henceforth, just God) is telling him to go to Egypt and demand that they let his people go. Remember, they are slaves at this point; to the Egyptians. God even gives Moses the power to perform some magic tricks to prove that God sent him. Moses doesn’t think he has the wherewithal to deliver this message but God assures Moses that he can. And will. Moses explains to God that he’s not the man for the job. Not eloquent, and claims to be “slow of speech and tongue,” to which God replies, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (verse 11).

Woah. Did God just let it slip that He’s the one responsible for for making human’s deaf and mute? Interesting. Most God-fearing folk I know would like to say no, the devil, or original sin is responsible for handicaps some may inherit. But here we have God himself straight up owning that shit. So which is it? Is God responsible for defects and diseases? Is he the cause or the solution? Surely a loving, caring God would never be responsible for unfortunate birth defects. If he’s not responsible, then we have a case where God simply ain’t all powerful now, is he? Either he is omnipotent and could stop that from happening or he 1.) Doesn’t care; or 2.) Is not omnipotent.

Some would like to argue that it’s not that God doesn’t care, we don’t know. God works in mysterious ways. We’ll never know God’s reason. His reasons are beyond our comprehension. Bull shit. Ain’t nothing mysterious about it. If God want us to mirror his love, well he better be showing us a real image of love to reflect. Goose. Gander.  

On the next ASS – again, with some foreskin stories. What is it with the Bible and it’s Foreskin Fetish?


Fixit Yourself: Water Heater Flame Sensor

Standard equipment disclosure first. 2015.5 Lance Model 1995 with Atwood 6 gallon water heater. Atwood has since been bought out by Dometic. Same shit. Different day. Plenty of parts available online. Both OEM and aftermarket.

We spent last weekend at Davis Mountain State Park. We even had shore power to hook up to. Most camping trips for us are to remote places and strictly boondocking. For us, that’s the point. Enjoy having nobody around us for miles. Freedom to let the dogs out without leashes. Our goal for this trip was to hike over the Davis Mountains and into Fort Davis National Historic Site. Reservations were made, electricity was available.

Even though we were at an electric site, I still prefer to use propane to heat the water. Gets hotter faster and seems to recover faster as well during showers. I turn on the water heater.

The usual click click click *whumpf* did not happen. This time it was click click click *whumpf* click click click silence. Uh oh. Not wanting to have to troubleshoot I simply turned off the propane side and and turned on the electric portion of the heater. Problem temporarily solved. Good thing we were at an electric site when this occurred or I would have had to begin troubleshooting right away. We went on to enjoy a fine 4-day weekend with plenty of hiking and relaxation.

Now that I’m home it’s time to troubleshoot. The igniter is working. It lights the flame, but it appears it doesn’t know that it lit the flame because it keeps clicking. Once it senses a flame it should quit clicking (trying to ignite). If it doesn’t sense a flame, it will close the gas valve for safety reasons. Since I know it is in fact lighting, it could be one of two major components: the flame sensor or the motherboard (some call it ignition board). Or the wiring in between any of them.

Trying the easy thing first, I unplug the igniter and pull it out of the fire tube. The flame sensor is part of this. One screw under the L-bracket holds this in place. Easy to remove. Both rods look pretty dirty.Other than that, the ceramic is fine. Wire is fine. I take some sand paper to the rods and shine it up. Everything else looks in tact. I reinstall the igniter and plug it back in. Turn on the water heater and wait.

Click click *whumpf* and stays lit. Fixed!

I got out of jail easy this time.

Alt Sunday School: How David Married Michal, or How to be an Overachiever

Alt Sunday School

I’m opening a new category of post here. Alt Sunday School (ASS). Wherein I write an expose on one of the lesser publicized bible stories.

This is one of my favorite Sunday School stories.

Taught me to be an overachiever.

I Samuel 18:25-27

Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife.

The Word of the Lord. (English Standard Version 2016)

Let’s break this down. David, before he was ruler of God’s chosen, wanted to marry King Saul’s daughter, Michal. King Saul was current ruler of God’s chosen. King Saul is not too keen on this marriage but also seems hesitant to just outright say no. Perhaps to not get on the bad side of his daughter. I mean, you’re king, right? As Mel Brooks says, “Sometimes it’s good to be king.” This is not one of those times. Additionally, he doesn’t even have the balls to tell this to David himself. He’s having someone else tell David. Loser.

Instead, King Saul has David told that the price to marry his daughter will be the foreskins of 100 Philistines – God’s Chosen People’s arch enemy at the time. Go cut off the junk of my enemy. 100 of them. Bring them to me. Then you can marry my daughter. But there is an ulterior motive here. He assumes that no one will be able to march into a Philistine city, cut off the junk of 100 of their men and leave.

David not only pulls this off (see what I did there?) but being the overachiever that he is, doubles the pile. He secures 200 foreskins, brings them back and presents them to King Saul, who then lets him marry Michal. And how did he present these to the King? A literal bag of dicks?

The real question is, how did Saul *know* they were Philistine, and not say, Sodomites? No, not that sodomite, you sicko. Actual. From the biblical city of Sodom.

RIP: Twitterrific

I joined Twitter in August of 2008. It was still pretty new then. There were no ads that I can remember at that time. I recall a Twitter app but it was very lacking. Hence the introduction of the clients. My preference at the time was Echofon. Soon, Twitterrific caught my attention and for a few years I would use both – whichever I was in the mood to use. Eventually, Twitterrific won out and became my sole way of tweeting with exception to auto posts from other applications.

Back then Twitter was still trying to find a way to make revenue off their service. Advertisements seemed the way to go rather than charge a fee. Just like other social media services. That’s where these 3rd party Twitter clients really shined for us users. There were no ads. They successfully filtered them out and only brought us the content we wanted out of Twitter.

We all want our favorite social media outlets to be successful and to… live. That is, we want them to be around today and tomorrow. That can only be accomplished through revenue when controlled by a single entity. That is where I was conflicted. While I do hate ads and certainly enjoyed the ad-free environment provided by Twitterrific, I also need Twitter to be financially successful. I aint gonna lie. I was very surprised that Twitter allowed these 3rd party clients to exist when the same 3rd party clients allowed us users a reliable way to circumvent the very revenue process that brought us the service we were using. Crazy, right? But hey – they allowed it. Of course I was going to take advantage of it. I figured Twitter owed these clients in part, if not whole, for their very existence in the first place; so they turned a blind to this usurpation.

When Megalomaniac Musk bought and took charge of Twitter, I said to myself, “Self, this dude is all about the coin. The first thing he will do is cut off all these 3rd party clients that are robbing him of his revenue.” But no. That’s not what this fool did. He ran the company into the ground as if he was pissed. Pissed that he changed his mind on buying the platform, but the company he no longer wanted was actually suing him to coerce him into buying. So fine. Buy it. Run the bitch into the ground. Fine, you want me to buy you? I will. And then I’ll make you wish you didn’t. That’s what I think is going on. Or at least was.

Now that his errant actions are reaching into the other realms of his life, he has to change course. He has to find a way to make money. Especially since his initial actions caused Twitter’s top 30 advertisement companies to drop their spending by 42%, according to Reuters, and is being sued for rent. The most effective way to take advantage of revenue is by banning 3rd party clients. Perhaps there could be some way to charge 3rd parties for a license which would then be passed along to that 3rd parties customer base.

Even though I hold Musk in very low regard (like he cares), this is the one thing I can’t really hold against him. I can say he did it the most dickish way possible. No warning. Immediate cut off. Certainly could have been handled in a more courteous way. It really sucks for small companies like The Iconfactory.

From the Iconfactory’s good bye blog post, they add “Finally, if you were subscriber to Twitterrific for iOS, we would ask you to please consider not requesting a refund from Apple. The loss of ongoing, recurring revenue from Twitterrific is already going to hurt our business significantly, and any refunds will come directly out of our pockets – not Twitter’s and not Apple’s. To put it simply, thousands of refunds would be devastating to a small company like ours.”

Absolutely. Absorbing a $10 hit collectively as the customer base is a much more appealing consequence than The Iconfactory having to shell out en mass. I’d call it “Reverse Crowdfunding.” Mine just renewed January 3rd and shows that it will renew again January 3rd 2024. I most definitely will not be asking for a refund. Just this alone could be enough to eradicate this small business, let’s not compound it by everyone trying to get a refund for something as small as $10. Maybe someone could start a class action lawsuit to collect that refund from Twitter. I’d join.

Gaia GPS Test Drive

Enjoyed a long weekend at Davis Mountains State Park over this Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Turns out we did the same thing last year over the same weekend at the same park. Different site. Habits die hard I guess. Looking back over the years it seems to be split between Davis Mountains and City of Rocks State Parks.

Both are pretty remote and contain poor cell phone coverage, if any. Mostly not. Which brings me to the topic of this particular article. Gaia GPS. I’ve been experiencing degrading reliability with my go-to app, All Trails, for hiking. I’ve been a user of All trails since 2015. Subscribed to the pro-version since 2016 to be able to download map data because where we hike there is no cell phone signal. That renders most hiking/biking/running apps useless to me. What do these fuckers think? That we all hike where there will only have reliable cell phone coverage? Some apps, like Map My Run, will not even start up without signal. Ridiculous. My wife gets plenty of aggravation out of that every time.

A particularly useless update about 2 years ago to All Trails made it crash upon opening a large map. I had downloaded the entire area of Lincoln National Forest from Cloudcroft down to below Sunspot, NM. That’s maybe around 25 miles north and south, with a swath of about 10 miles east and west. All Trails became useless at that point. Worked great for a few years prior to this. Since we had no cell phone coverage (which is actually my preference) that means we spent an entire long weekend without being able to use All Trails. Which also meant sticking to known, well marked trails or roads. No cross country hiking. Boo. Upon returning home I made a much smaller map to use and it quit crashing. Back to the large map – crashing again. Currently, it drops map data. I have to switch to another layer and then back to regain visibility of the map I downloaded as well as my progress.

That’s when I made it a point to find another app to rely on. Enter Gaia GPS. Read a lot of nice things about it. Plenty of features I’ll never use. But it did seem to excel at downloading offline map data to use and track my hikes. I like having USGS topographical and satellite maps. So I gave it a shot. A yearly subscription to it was around $50 which included a membership to some other set of online resources that as of now I have no interest in and probably will never use. But hey, it’s the price of admission.

I set up my areas, this time around the entire area of Davis Mountains State Park to include Fort Davis Historic Site. As expected, no signal in the park. The downloaded map populated and the app tracked our progress up the mountain and down into the old fort and back. It does just a good a job at tracking me as All Trails did when it was working, and then some. I like that it not only tells me how much elevation I have ascended, but also descended.

For now, I’m sold on it. Will definitely be using it for the year of the subscription. Meanwhile, I just received an email from All Trails telling me the yearly cost was going up and will renew in February. Fuck All Trails. It has now fallen victim to Cancel (subscription) Society.