On Don Bluth (and Gary Goldman)

Okay I’m just going to come out and say it, since I still see a lot of people praising him: Don Bluth was a horrible film maker. He was a great animator. But when it came to making movies, he just couldn’t cut it. Same with Gary Goldman, who was Bluth’s co-director on most of his films.

I grew up with Don Bluth and Disney. I watched An American Tail when I was in 7th grade as part of my history class. I watched Land Before Time with my friends. I’ve yet to see All Dogs Go To Heaven. And I still count Anastasia as one of my favorites, and the soundtrack for it is still my favorite.

I haven’t seen any of his other films.

But I don’t need to.

So how can I say Bluth was a horrible film maker without seeing all of his films? The numbers speak for themselves.

Starting with this: he made only 10 major motion pictures between Secret of NIHM and Titan A.E. Just 10 within 18 years. (Bartok the Magnificent was a direct-to-video release, so not counted here.) He hasn’t made a major motion picture since 2000.

An American Tail was easily his biggest success. Released in 1986, it made nearly 10x its budget at the box office. But that was mostly because of Stephen Spielberg. I wonder how many of you reading this remember the movie poster for it? Don Bluth’s name wasn’t prominent on the poster. The movie was advertised as “Stephen Spielberg Presents“.

The Land Before Time was advertised as “Lucas/Spielberg Present”, referring to George Lucas (yes, that George Lucas):

Bluth severed ties with Spielberg before making All Dogs Go to Heaven. The box office results speak for themselves:

BudgetBox office
An American Tail$9 Million$84 million (9.3x)
The Land Before Time$12.3 Million$84.5 million (6.8x)
All Dogs Go To Heaven$13 Million$27.1 million (2.1x)

From there, Bluth would go on to have a string of 4. Flops. In A. Row. Let me repeat that. Bluth would have FOUR. FLOPS. IN. A. ROW after All Dogs Go To Heaven. How he was even able to make Anastasia after that is beyond me. But it would be his last success. And while it would surpass All Dogs Go To Heaven on the Box Office/Budget ratio, making back nearly 3x its budget, it wouldn’t come close to Land Before Time or An American Tail.

Don Bluth just could not cut it as a filmmaker. And Titan A.E., which ended his career, showed he couldn’t be trusted to make a profitable film.

And anyone who says Don Bluth is a great filmmaker, or even just a “good” filmmaker, is engaging in cherry-picking.

The “Respect for Marriage Act” does NOT “codify” gay marriage

Rcently the House of Representatives passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” – H.R.8404. And the bill was moved through under fears the Supreme Court could revisit and overturn Obergefelle.

This fear comes from Justice Thomas’s concurrence where he wants to revisit the entire concept of substantive due process and determine whether any cases decided on that could instead be upheld under the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The late Justice Scalia was also no friend to substantive due process and the incorporation doctrine.

But we’re not going to get into that here.

Instead let’s get into the bill itself since it does NOT do what proponents think. Instead it’s nothing more than a repeal and replace for the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996.

Repeal and replace the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996

The Defense of Marriage Act was part of what was ruled unconstitutional in the Obergefelle decision. So if it was ruled unconstitutional, why is Congress moving to repeal it? Because ruling a law unconstitutional doesn’t remove it from the books. So if Obergefelle is overturned in full, the Defense of Marriage Act is again enforceable unless repealed.

The Defense of Marriage Act made it so gay marriages enacted in one State were not automatically recognized in another. The statute in question is 28 USC § 1738C:

No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

It also created the Federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse” at 1 USC § 7:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

So while rendered unenforceable by Obergefelle, they are still on the books. Overturn Obergefelle and they become the law of the land again. So the Democrats in Congress are wanting solidify the Obergefelle decision as best they can.

The Act does this by replacing §1738C:

(a) IN GENERAL.—No person acting under color of State law may deny—

(1) full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals; or

(2) a right or claim arising from such a marriage on the basis that such marriage would not be recognized under the law of that State on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.

(b) ENFORCEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL.—The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief.

(c) PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.—Any person who is harmed by a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against the person who violated such subsection for declaratory and injunctive relief.

(d) STATE DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘State’ has the meaning given such term under section 7 of title 1.

Given the language of this bill, it makes me wonder if they fear the Supreme Court will revisit and overrule Loving v. Virginia. Anyway… the bill also replaces 1 USC §7 – though the bill says it amends it. Hopefully someone in the Senate will catch that.

(a) For the purposes of any Federal law, rule, or regulation in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.

(b) In this section, the term ‘State’ means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.

(c) For purposes of subsection (a), in determining whether a marriage is valid in a State or the place where entered into, if outside of any State, only the law of the jurisdiction applicable at the time the marriage was entered into may be considered.

And all of this is fully within Congress’s powers under the Full Faith and Credit Clause in Article IV of the Constitution.

What’s missing?

Pretty straightforward bill. I really wish most of what Congress passed is this short and to the point. But there’s one significant omission from this bill, and it’s missing because Congress doesn’t have any power over this: making gay marriage universal.

As such this bill doesn’t “codify” gay marriage in any way. Congress cannot force States to allow gay marriage by statute. Doing so would violate State sovereignty. Congress has no power over the actual solemnization of marriages in the United States. To grant that power, the Constitution must be amended.

But it’s not necessary. Since interstate recognition of gay marriages is enough.

What if Obergefelle is overruled?

So the big question is what would happen if Obergefelle is overruled. Do all gay marriages suddenly become invalid overnight? No. In his concurrence in Dobbs, Kavanaugh pointed out how the ex post facto provision of the Constitution works in mentioning that overturning Roe doesn’t mean every woman who has ever had an abortion and every physician who has ever performed one is now exposed to risk of prosecution.

The same would be with Obergefelle. Even if they overruled it tomorrow, all existing gay marriages would still be valid in the State in which they were solemnized. It’s future attempts to obtain licenses for a gay marriage that would be in jeopardy.

But if the “Respect for Marriage Act” is successfully enacted, that would mean all States must recognize any gay marriage lawfully performed in the United States. This would mean that any homosexual couples who want to get married can go to States where they can be lawfully performed and they’ll be recognized across the board.

The only way for that to not be the case would be if the Federal Courts ruled that marriages are not “public Acts” under the Constitution. But I don’t see that happening.

Over-selling hand-to-hand combat

Article: I Carry a Gun. I Don’t Need That H2H Crap!

Setting aside for a moment that directly hand-to-hand engaging an assailant is beyond stupid, hand-to-hand combat trainers seem to rely on fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) to sell their training.

“You may not have your gun”. “You may not be able to access your gun.”

Missing from the discussion? Risk.

Starting just with the probability you’d actually need to defend yourself, whether using hand-to-hand or deadly force, along with the risk of injury or death from doing so. Doing so in any fashion means you invite the risk of a criminal prosecution, but one should never let that dissuade them from actually defending themselves.

And, more importantly, there are some situations where the legal standard for deadly force may be met, but you will still suffer consequences of your actions that may be worse than a legal punishment.

And the same would be true even in a hand-to-hand situation. You cannot use more force than necessary to neutralize a threat. Indeed, you may face greater liability attempting to engage someone hand-to-hand, especially if you go so far as to gravely injure or kill the other person because you “couldn’t stop yourself” from doing so. Don’t pretend that hand-to-hand means you won’t kill someone. Remember that more people are killed each year from kicks and punches than rifles.

And don’t pretend that a pistol means you always will. Contrary to popular belief, successful use of deadly force with a pistol – meaning the intended target is killed – is uncommon. Stories abound of someone taking several shots from a pistol and acting like nothing happened. Shot placement is what matters. And under stress, you’re actually quite unlikely to put rounds within any of the critical zones, even if you’re well trained.

Hand to hand requires a bit more awareness and control over your actions to avoid going too far.

Also missing from the discussion? Whether it’s in a person’s best interest to actually train for hand-to-hand, let alone use it. “Of course it’s always in a person’s best interest” I can hear someone already saying. And… no, no it isn’t. To think such is myopic and asinine.

I’m approaching 42 years old. I’m 6’2″ tall (188cm). I’ve had various problems with my musculoskeletal system since I was in middle school. (Read: nearly 30 years.) Trying to learn any kind of martial art or hand-to-hand combat would likely lead to injury. Meaning trying to use it in real life is more likely to lead to injury.

And that is something I really want to avoid. There have been numerous days since the start of my 30s where I’ve been pretty-well incapacitated due to pain in my back, shoulder, and/or hip. Unconnected to any kind of strenuous activity, I might add. I remember one particularly bad day several years ago while at my previous job where I left work early due to back pain, even saying in my email to my managers that I should never have come in to begin with.

I also can’t run or sprint worth a damn, haven’t been able to since college, so my ability to put worthwhile distance between me and an assailant in quick time is, in practicality, nonexistent.

That’s why I carry a firearm. My only other option is pepper spray or a melee weapon. Both of which have a maximum effective range far closer to your person than a firearm can reach. And with pepper spray you have to be mindful of the wind to avoid droplets flying back at you. Meaning if you personally are allergic to capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper spray, the risk of a reaction should any of it fly back at you eliminates it as an option.

But even for someone who is reasonably fit, engaging in hand-to-hand combat with any assailant is unwise, in the kindest terms. Okay, I’ll stop being kind: it’s downright stupid. It’s in your best interest to keep distance from an assailant as best as possible. And the best way is with a ranged weapon – e.g., a firearm.

Let me put it this way: if your assailant closes distance to you enough to grapple, whether they do or not, you’ve already lost. As the saying goes, there are no winners in a street fight.

You also can’t know whether the person is armed with… anything they haven’t already presented. Grappling with an assailant leaves you open to all kinds of ways you can be attacked. And the amount of energy needed to defend yourself via hand-to-hand is far greater than that needed with a firearm.

Especially since, in most situations, all you have to do is brandish. And brandishing a firearm is not the same as using it. I’ve said that time and again to the anti-gun crowd, so I’m surprised I’m having to say it here.

And the standard for brandishing a firearm is a bit more lenient than using it. But I know the ready retort from hand-to-hand advocates and instructors about brandishing a firearm, since it’s the same one that comes from anti-gun advocates and was seen during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial: “escalation”. That brandishing a firearm in response to someone you perceive as a threat – even if not immediately perceptible and articulable as one of great bodily harm or death – is escalation under the law and immediately puts you in the wrong. Except it doesn’t.

But rather than brandishing your firearm… engage in hand-to-hand combat instead?

Another consideration as well: training environment versus wherever you end up engaging in hand-to-hand. Unless your training environment includes the kind of hazards you’ll find in alleys and other common urban or suburban areas, your training is inadequate.

Your environment can be used to your advantage and it can be used against you. Remember that.

Speaking of… This part of the article is rather telling:

Does anyone want to trade places with George Zimmerman? He was eventually found not guilty, but how much money did he have to spend to defend himself, and how much of an emotional toll did he endure? There was absolutely a valid and functional H2H solution for his problem that could have easily avoided the need to employ deadly force

Wow… How arrogant can you get?

Remember how I said your environment can be used against you? Yeah, the George Zimmerman incident is evidence of that.

Since, last I checked, it’s pretty well established that Trayvon Martin surprised Zimmerman, sucker-punching him in the nose and forcing him to the ground, where he then proceeded to bash Zimmerman’s skull into the concrete. There is no “valid and functional H2H solution” in that situation.

Plus engaging someone hand-to-hand doesn’t mean escaping interaction with the criminal justice system, so stop pretending that’s the case.

Instead there’s another possibility: hospitalization or death from knife wounds. Since, again, you can’t know if the person you’re grappling has another weapon they haven’t yet presented.

And being ambushed in the same fashion as Zimmerman is a possibility one must account for. Again, your environment can be used against you. And that’s the case whether you’re carrying a firearm or simply going to try standing your ground and fighting hand-to-hand.

In all seriousness, train for hand-to-hand if you desire. But situational awareness along with competent risk assessment so you avoid the need to defend yourself will take you much further.

Imposing fines based on income

I’ve seen this idea crop up every now and again. And a lot of people are wanting this because 1. it sticks it to the rich and 2. it’s from Europe, so obviously it not only a. must be a good idea, but b. is going to be easy to implement in the 3rd largest country… Ugh. And there’s one thing in the US that makes this a no-go from the outset that I’ll get to at the end since… no on seems to bring it up.

So what’s the idea? Fines imposed by a Court should be based on your income:

fines (sic) should hurt people equally. $50 to a person living paycheck to paycheck is a huge setback; to someone earning six figures, it’s almost nothing. to people earning more than that, a drop in the ocean. a lot of rich people just park in disabled spots because the fine is nothing and it makes their life more convenient. Finland has done this with speeding tickets, and a Nokia executive paid around 100k for going 15 above the speed limit. i think this is the most fair and best way to enforce the law. if we decided fines on percentages, people would suffer proportionately equal to everyone else who broke said law. making fines dependent on income would make crime a financial risk for EVERYONE.

Now a lot of people brought up a lot of good points, so I’m only going to add a couple others to the discussion.

Income vs Cash Flow

Before getting into this, let’s address the idea that $50 “to someone making six figures, it’s almost nothing”. And I’ll use this specific point to clarify a couple terms many people either get confused in their mind, use interchangeably, or never knew were separate ideas to begin with.

And those terms are “income” and “cash flow”.

What’s the difference? As I’ve pointed out before: income doesn’t include only cash. That is what makes imposing fines based on income as opposed to cash flow extremely difficult.

Forgiven debts are income. Market value increases in a person’s retirement or investment accounts are, technically, income. (I have an account in my accounting system called “Change in Market Value” to account for this.) The same with the annual appraisals of my home’s value. Gifts, whether cash or otherwise, are income.

There is so much that is considered “income”, both in accounting and the tax code, that this idea becomes difficult from the outset. It’s one hell of a sliding scale. And if the person in question owns a small business, things become even more complicated. Since a lot of small business owners merely look rich on paper.

But again, there’s also the confusion between income and cash flow. A person’s income isn’t the whole story.

And if you impose fines based purely on income, you’ll essentially give a free pass to nearly half the country to just do what they want without any kind of penalty because they don’t have an income under IRS rules. Basing it on cash flow would, at least, capture those receiving government benefits such as welfare.

Policing for profit

One person in the Reddit thread I quoted above said this:

What stops high income people from being constantly pulled over and harassed by police to get the department gigantic paydays? I mean, I know people don’t exactly have a whole lot of pity for people who make a ton of money, but I don’t think it’s fair to let police go on fishing expeditions against them.

And it’s a valid point.

Now there are a lot of wealthy individuals who don’t drive fancy cars. They’ll drive a Toyota Corolla or another mid-range sedan or SUV – like my Honda CR-V – and hang onto it for years, getting as much utility out of it before getting something new.

A lot of people try to look wealthier than they actually are. Hands up if you know someone who is a middle-income earner (so NOT 6-figures) who drives a Camaro or other sports car.

And along with “policing for profit” comes civil asset forfeiture and the can of worms that creates that is only now starting to be rolled back by the Courts. Since fines are revenue to the government, and police do get rewarded based on tickets and arrests, this would end up shifting police attention away from the more serious crimes because they don’t pad the government’s bottom line and won’t be nearly as rewarding to the police departments.

Eighth Amendment

One last point no one brings up in these discussions with regard to the United States: the Eighth Amendment’s protection against “excessive fines”.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

And plenty of States have similar or the exact same language mirrored in their own constitutions. In the Kansas Constitution it is in our Bill of Rights at Section 9 (though it says “cruel and unusual punishment”, not the plural “punishments” in the Eighth Amendment.)

As much as you might like to see fines imposed based on income, wealth, cash flow, or what have you, the first attempt at such in the United States would be quashed as violating the Eighth Amendment or the State Constitution. Imposing a fine of tens of thousands of dollars for a speeding ticket would be excessive under most everyone’s definition – except perhaps the “stick it to the rich” types.

The rich may not only have the money to pay the fine, but they also have the money to fight it. And it wouldn’t take much to get not just the fine declared unconstitutional, but the law that imposed it.

And in my instance, if Kansas law declared that I should pay $1000 for going 10 over the limit merely because of my AGI last year, I’d plead not guilty on the ticket to file a motion to have the law quashed under the Kansas Bill of Rights.

Regarding Dobbs

I’ll preface with this… I’ve made my stance on abortion clear several times over. I don’t favor the procedure, prefer it did not exist, and would rather women select an option other than abortion when they have an unplanned pregnancy. And the option must be preserved when the pregnancy presents a credible danger to the woman’s health or survival.

But I don’t like it being struck down with the legislative pen. I believe it to be a symptom of underlying fundamental problems in our society rather than a problem unto itself. History has already shown that correcting those underlying issues leads to fewer unwanted pregnancies, leading to fewer abortions. The near uninterrupted downward trend since the early 90s in the number of abortions sought per year shows this.

So now comes the big question: now that Roe is overturned, where will the pro-life organizations go next? A nationwide ban on abortion isn’t feasible. And Planned Parenthood isn’t going away either.

States like California and Illinois are likely to actually have *greater* abortion allowance than the limitations placed on the entire discussion by Roe and Casey, while States like Kansas will outright ban the procedure. (We don’t actually have a law on the books doing so, but it’s been put up for referendum with a vote on August 2nd.)

I know a lot of people are going to compare and contrast Roe with Obergefelle. That if Roe was overturned, then Obergefelle and, possibly, Griswold are next. And the one thing to note with Obergefelle is where in the advance on gay rights it occurred as opposed to Roe and the push for legal abortion. The former was rather late to the party.

Roe, though, was a very early effort.

And the pro-choice groups at the time even urged the lawyers bringing Roe in Texas to drop the case. That they wanted to continue the legislative wins that had already begun rather than going right for the Supreme Court since they felt doing so would more undermine their efforts. And they weren’t wrong.

Griswold, however, isn’t going anywhere either. As much as the hardcore pro-life right like to paint hormonal contraceptives as “abortion pills” due to how they function, they aren’t going to succeed in getting contraceptives banned. Anywhere.

The timing of Griswold is also noteworthy. At the time of its ruling, Massachusetts and Connecticut were the only two States that still had a ban on contraceptives.

Roe and Casey were on much shakier ground. From the outset. It was the quintessential example of the Supreme Court attempting to install a “one size fits all” solution to questions it should’ve jettisoned. Calling the Court in Roe “activist” would be an understatement. And calling the Court in Casey “orderly” would be giving them too much credit.

Outright overturning them, however, is probably a step too far. They really should’ve been replaced. But the issue is how. Unfortunately there really isn’t a good solution to repair the issues Roe and Casey present in their language. They’re more examples of how to not write a Court decision.

But if you interpret today’s decision as eliminating access to abortion, or banning abortion, I’ll know immediately that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Replace 9V batteries with USB type-C

With portable chargers everywhere, including ones that support USB type-C power delivery and USB type-A QC, I’ve been on a bit of a USB type-C kick lately. I wrote previously about a USB type-C adapter for Milwaukee M12 devices. I used another 12V USB type-C board to create a 12V fan adapter for powering fans from a portable charger so I don’t need to keep any kind of power supply nearby.

And recently I decided to replace the 9V battery connector on my multimeter with a 9V USB type-C power board.

I also drilled out a channel on the side of the battery compartment to allow a type-C cable to pass through so I can still close the battery compartment.

Simple little upgrade that means I can use my multimeter without having to worry about batteries.

And it’s a simple upgrade I can make to anything that uses a 9V battery. And since these power boards are typically sold in packs of 5 or more, it’s easier to just replace the battery terminal as opposed to making an adapter to a 9V battery terminal.

And obviously this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway because people are stupid and stupid people are litigious: DO NOT DO THIS TO A SMOKE DETECTOR, CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR, OR POISON GAS DETECTOR!

Blackmail variant – 2022-06-20

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Upgrading the chassis

I realize this will sound hypocritical in the wake of what I said with the latest update on Amethyst. But I did say to only swap out the chassis and power supply if it no longer meets your needs.

I bought the NZXT H440 back in 2016 to have better room for HDDs compared to the Zalman Z12 Plus. The Z12 had better support for external water cooling, but at least the H440 had grommets. And, again, better support for HDDs.

And I’m upgrading to have room for more HDDs.

I considered using or building an external enclosure for the HDDs, but upgrading the chassis was actually the lesser-expensive option overall, both for cost and space. Taking in mind that I do have an LSI controller card for the HDDs as well, so would want to retain that rather than falling back to USB for the HDD connection.

Sadly, I actually bought the new chassis over 18 months ago and only recently just moved everything into it. Laziness being the reason it took so long. But two things spurred me into doing this. First was finally getting ahold of an RTX 3070 after sitting in EVGA’s reservation queue for over a year. And the second was… needing to swap out the power supply to support the that graphics card.

be quiet! Dark Base 900 (BG011)

The be quiet! Dark Base 900 is what I went with. It’s since been surpassed by the Dark Base Pro rev 2.0, which comes with the tinted window side panel by default. The Dark Base 900 comes with closed side panels, and the tinted window was available separately.

I prefer clear window side panels, personally. I didn’t like the smoked acrylic window with the H440 and replaced it with a clear acrylic replacement from MNPCTech. And I’ll likely have something custom made for this. A 2-part panel, actually: aluminum (painted black) to cover the HDDs and clear acrylic to show off the rest. Similar to the H440’s partial panel that hides the HDD cages.

Its modularity attracted me. It has a LOT of customization options, even though I went with, more or less, a standard setup not much different from before. You can also rework it into an inverted setup if you want. But its HDD support is what drew my attention. That the chassis is also designed and built for silence definitely helps.

That it comes with seven (7) HDD mounts was my only gripe with the chassis. And that the NZXT H440 had five (5) mounts was a little aggravating as well. And finding an additional one was… tedious for some reason at the time I went looking for it. But I was able to find one, thankfully. Since though I currently have only 4 HDDs in the system, my plan is to fill it out to a full 8 x 1TB setup.

If I didn’t have all the HDDs, this chassis would be great for water cooling. It’s bigger than my wife’s Corsair Obsidian 750D with room for 420mm radiators and a lot of options for mounting pumps and reservoirs.

But it doesn’t have pass-through grommets for external water cooling. So I had to rely on a pass-through bracket – Koolance BKT-PCI-G specifically. (I tried the AlphaCool PCI bracket, but I could not get it to not leak. I think one of the O-rings was faulty or just too thin.)

EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G6

Back… nearly 10 years ago, I bought the Corsair CX750M in preparation for a full platform upgrade to something a lot more capable and power hungry than I had at the time. That power supply is actually still working very well in Nasira despite it being long out of warranty. (The uninterruptible power supply no doubt has something to do with that.)

And it quickly demonstrated to be inadequate for lack of power connections. It had two (2) PCI-E connectors and four (4) peripheral connectors. (The latest revision has three PCI-E/CPU and three peripheral.) Which became a problem when I went from a GTX 660 to a GTX 770, then to two (2) of them in SLI.

My first step up was the Corsair AX860. And after I mistakenly believed the unit was faulty (it was actually extension cables that were faulty), I bought the EVGA SuperNOVA 1050 GS. I looked at both as I had my system in the Zalman Z12 Plus at the time, so needed a short power supply.

Recall from above that I managed to get an RTX 3070. (Finally!) The XC3 version from EVGA has two 8-pin PCI-E connectors. This presented a bit of a problem with the 1050 GS. Since 1. I couldn’t find my cable kit and 2. no one made custom cables for it, so I couldn’t exactly order a replacement. The latter is due to the GS’s pinouts differing from the rest of the SuperNOVA lineup.

So out with the EVGA GS and in with the EVGA G6. Which uses the same pinouts as the G2, G3, and G5, meaning custom cables were a click away. Specifically the custom 8-pin PCI-E cable from CableMod.

This is better in two ways: 1. each 8-pin connector on the card has a straight line to the power supply rather than going through a pigtail, which allows for better for current draw (read: more stable overclock), and 2. it’s a true 8-pin connector, not a “6+2”-pin connector like on the GS. The PRO series from CableMod is better still since it uses thicker wire, meaning better current draw. (Most power cables in a PC are 18ga, which is more than enough for the vast majority of configurations, and the PRO series is likely 16ga, which is better for longer cable runs.)

Plus, again, it uses the same pinouts as the G5 and earlier, meaning custom and replacement cables are readily available. So to amend what I said in the update for Amethyst… picking a quality power supply is important. But if you’re buying one that is modular or semi-modular, pick one for which replacement cables are readily available, either direct from the manufacturer or from a third party. And on that, EVGA and Corsair are easily the two best brands.

Which brings me to my only gripe about the power supply: why are the SATA power connectors… inverted? They would work great for a top-mounted power supply, but not for floor-mounted. Hopefully the custom length cables I’ll be buying from CableMod won’t have that.

And needing to replace the power supply and install a new graphics card gave me the push I needed to finally migrate Mira into a new chassis.

Next steps…

So there are a few things on the todo list here:

  • Custom SATA power cables from CableMod (2 x quad connectors)
  • Replace SATA data cables with right-angle connectors
  • Install other 1TB HDDs
  • Water block for RTX 3070
  • Split side panel for chassis: part aluminum and part clear acrylic

For now I have just the CPU on the 9x120mm radiator capacity on the radiator box. I’ll take benchmarks and attempt to overclock the GPU after I get the water block.

The seed is planted

Article: I found out my husband is sexually attracted to my sister. I don’t know what to do.

This one’s a doozy. First, let’s give an executive summary.

The letter writer (LW) has been married to her husband for four years, together for eight, with two children. LW’s father and younger sister stayed with them for a couple days, after which LW said something seemed “off” about her husband’s behavior. When she confronted him about it, he got defensive, and she started suspecting infidelity even though there was no evidence of it.

And much of the letter is written from a perspective where it seems she’s convinced herself he is cheating on her.

So yeah, this one’s going to be interesting.

I’ll say up front that my wife knows that I find one of her two older sisters to be attractive. (No, the sister herself doesn’t know.) And I haven’t been quiet about it with my wife because 1. it’s not a huge deal, and 2. I have no reason to not be honest with her about it. Because my wife knows I’m not about to even try to sleep with her sister. 1. She’s married and 2. so am I.

It’s about the same as the fact that I flirt with other women. I have no need to be secretive about it, and my wife doesn’t get offended that I do it. Flirting with a woman doesn’t mean I will sleep with her, or even that I actually want to sleep with her. Something I’ve discussed on this blog. At length. Twice. Plus I’m a photographer, and I’ve photographed a lot of women. Flirting is just part of it.

But for some reason there are a lot of women who get very jealous or insecure about the fact their significant others or spouses find other women attractive, even sexually attractive. And that’s the problem here. But who ultimately has the problem: the letter writer or the husband? Well I guess you can say “both”, since her problem became his problem when she confronted him.

My husband and younger sister have always been pretty close; some people have told me a little too close, but I trusted him and always thought they had a brother/sister relationship.

Having a close relationship with another woman isn’t a problem. While I personally don’t have any close relationships with any other women, I know other men who do. Whether that can become a problem all boils down to a little thing called “self control”.

[Father and sister] were only here for two days, but after they left things felt off. My husband, who likes to write music, kept complimenting me a lot. It almost felt like he was also trying to convince himself of the compliments.

Sudden changes in behavior do need to be noted. But her interpretation of his actions is a little troubling. I wonder how she’d react if he suddenly started doing this after he was openly flirting with another woman other than her sister. Actually it’s plainly obvious she’d get mad at him and territorial if she saw him flirting with other women. Probably jumping into that catastrophic thinking of believing he’s a cheater who just hasn’t been caught yet. Her later statements show this is how she’d interpret things.

The compliments obviously came from a little bit of a high from being around the younger sister. There’s likely a mutual attraction there. (And, again, whether that is a problem depends on how well they control themselves.) But to automatically think the compliments are not genuine is a bit odd, to say the least. He took whatever emotional or sexual high he got from being around the sister and channeled it to his wife. That doesn’t mean his compliments aren’t genuine.

Instead marriages have this… rather common problem of falling into ruts. In my article on flirting while married, quoting Rose Maura Lorre, the idea that you will only be having sex with your spouse can easily turn into your spouse is the only one who will have sex with you. So getting validation from someone else that you’re still sexually attractive to others, especially where there is a mutual attraction, can be a great boost to one’s self-esteem. Especially if your marriage or relationship has fallen into a rut.

A little playful flirting can be a healthy thing. And, again, self control is what keeps that from turning into a problem.

I felt like he might have been cheating or at the very least hiding something from me. I had a pit in my stomach that wouldn’t go away, so I finally mustered enough courage to say something. He got defensive, saying I was acting crazy and that it made him feel bad being accused of something he didn’t do. Then I cried because I thought he was right.

I know it’s going to make me sound bad, but I couldn’t take his word for it, and the fact that he got defensive instead of comforting me rubbed me the wrong way.

Of course he got defensive. She basically jumped to the worst interpretation of his actions: he’s cheating. That is catastrophic thinking or “worst first” thinking.

And we all will naturally get defensive in the face of… any accusation, whether justified or not. That’s just part of our psychology. She’d likely get defensive if he accused her of anything since, again, that’s how we’re wired.

So instead of accepting the fact she just might be incorrect, that her suspicion might be unreasonable, she tried to confirm her suspicions. By… looking through his phone. You know, even though my wife knows the passcode to my phone, she doesn’t just go looking through it at a whim.

I decided to go through his phone to put my mind at ease.

What if she didn’t find anything? Would that have put her mind at ease? Likely not. As I’ve said before, once that seed is planted in your mind that your significant other or spouse might be cheating, it begins to grow like a weed.

Once that seed is planted in your mind, it becomes like a weed, always coming back until you eradicate it at the root. Provided that’s even possible.

Along with the mere allegation [of cheating], the seed being planted, will come confirmation bias, wherein you will look for anything proving your allegation true. “He never lets me see his phone. He talks a lot about Heather, his co-worker.” Which will demonstrate you no longer trust your significant other.

It’s been said that a rape accusation can be worse if it’s unsubstantiated or false than if it’s genuine and true. Just the allegation of rape can and has destroyed lives. By extension the mere allegation of cheating can be enough to destroy a relationship by completely washing away any trust. The mere thought or insinuation that your significant other is cheating can be enough to completely erode your trust in them.

They, in turn, will lose their trust in you with the mere allegation and their defense against it. Because now your partner will wonder how anything he does will be interpreted by you. And you’ll likely always be interpreting any little action by your significant other as a “micro cheat” or a sign your partner is being unfaithful.

And clearly the letter writer is beyond this point. Since in looking through his phone, she finds… song lyrics. Yes, song lyrics. Leading to more confrontation and more defensive posturing on his part.

I went to his notes app looking for a password and found a bunch of songs he had written. I saw one titled “Girl I think about you.” I stupidly thought it was about me but I quickly realized it wasn’t. It talked about thinking about a girl he’s not supposed to, how he undresses her with his eyes, finds excuses to touch her and much more. I honestly was in shock and confronted him, and he tried to get defensive asking me why I went through his phone.

And he had reason to get defensive. It’s about the same as if a police officer just willy-nilly started going through his phone looking for whatever. And part of the psychological tendency to get defensive comes the tendency to not be able to think straight on your feet. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, just being accused of something can get you acting like you’re guilty. It’s something we’ve seen time and time and time again with police interrogations, and being confronted by a spouse or significant other is little different.

The trust between us is completely broken. I know he didn’t technically do anything, but it’s still bad, right?

Well, yeah, the trust was destroyed the moment she started thinking her husband was cheating. The moment she let catastrophic thinking take over and control her thoughts and actions.

The big question is simply: why did she immediately suspect he was cheating? There’s more to this than is being given by the letter writer. And I’m thinking she’s been cheated on in the past by a previous significant other. There’s also no mention in the letter on whether there was a previous marriage that ended due to infidelity. Something about her past caused her to immediately jump to the conclusion he’s cheating.

Note that this wasn’t just an allegation. She accused him of cheating as if she was certain of it. Even if she didn’t flat out ask him – likely in a fit of rage – “are you cheating on me?” or “did you sleep with my sister?”

There are two concepts that come to mind here. First is the presumption of innocence, which I previously wrote about in regard to relationships a couple years ago.

Then there’s simply this: if she was certain he was cheating as she actually thought, she’d be filing for divorce. She confronted him trying to get a confession. When she didn’t get that, she doubled down, operated as if her allegation was true and went seeking evidence to confirm it. Not finding anything concrete, though, she doubled down more in her next confrontation with him, interpreting his defensiveness as if it’s as good as a confession.

One thing I’ve said about the police: if they had evidence to arrest you, they wouldn’t knock on your door wanting “to just talk”. They’d knock on your door to arrest you. And they want you to talk in the hopes you’ll unwittingly give them what they need to arrest you.

Here it’s much the same with the letter writer. As said, she confronted him looking for a confession. Looking for confirmation that she was right. But she didn’t get that. So rather than thinking she just might be wrong, she’s continuing to operate as if she’s correct. And it’s effectively destroyed her marriage.

She can’t trust her husband, and certainly can’t trust him around her sister. The seed is planted. The weed has sprouted. And I don’t think there’s any way to keep it from coming back. All it’d take is just one mutual smile between the sister and husband and those thoughts of infidelity are likely to come roaring back.

My advice to the letter writer is to just end the marriage.

Blackmail variant – 2022-05-01

Been a while since I’ve received one of these. This came in with the email subject “You have an outstanding payment. Debt settlement required.”


Unfortunately, I have some unpleasant news for you.
Roughly several months ago I have managed to get a complete access to all devices that you use to browse internet.
Afterwards, I have proceeded with monitoring all internet activities of yours.

You can check out the sequence of events summarize below: Previously I have bought from hackers a special access to various email accounts (currently, it is rather a straightforward thing that can be done online).
Clearly, I could effortlessly log in to your email account as well ([REDACTED]).

One week after that, I proceeded with installing a Trojan virus in Operating Systems of all your devices, which are used by you to login to your email.
Actually, that was rather a simple thing to do (because you have opened a few links from your inbox emails previously).
Genius is in simplicity. ( ~_^)

Thanks to that software I can get access to all controllers inside your devices (such as your video camera, microphone, keyboard etc.).
I could easily download all your data, photos, web browsing history and other information to my servers.
I can access all your social networks accounts, messengers, emails, including chat history as well as contacts list.
This virus of mine unceasingly keeps refreshing its signatures (since it is controlled by a driver), and as result stays unnoticed by antivirus software.

Hereby, I believe by this time it is already clear for you why I was never detected until I sent this letter...

While compiling all the information related to you, I have also found out that you are a true fan and frequent visitor of adult websites.
You truly enjoy browsing through porn websites, while watching arousing videos and experiencing an unimaginable satisfaction.
To be honest, I could not resist but to record some of your kinky solo sessions and compiled them in several videos, which demonstrate you masturbating and cumming in the end.

If you still don't trust me, all it takes me is several mouse clicks to distribute all those videos with your colleagues, friends and even relatives.
In addition, I can upload them online for entire public to access.
I truly believe, you absolutely don't want such things to occur, bearing in mind the kinky stuff exposed in those videos that you usually watch, (you definitely understand what I am trying to say) it will result in a complete disaster for you.

We can still resolve it in the following manner:
You perform a transfer of $1590 USD to me (a bitcoin equivalent based on the exchange rate during the funds transfer), so after I receive the transfer, I will straight away remove all those lecherous videos without hesitation.
Then we can pretend like it has never happened before. In addition, I assure that all the harmful software will be deactivated and removed from all devices of yours. Don't worry, I am a man of my word.

It is really a good deal with a considerably low the price, bearing in mind that I was monitoring your profile as well as traffic over an extended period.
If you still unaware about the purchase and transfer process of bitcoins - all you can do is find the necessary information online.

My bitcoin wallet is as follows: 1MW4maqRuqi62YiRNMaBiHT65WJJMEAvQw

You are left with 48 hours and the countdown starts right after you open this email (2 days to be specific).

Don't forget to keep in mind and abstain from doing the following:
> Do not attempt to reply my email (this email was generated in your inbox together with the return address).
> Do not attempt to call police as well as other security services. Moreover, don't even think of sharing it with your friends. If I get to know about it (based on my skills, that would be very easy, since that I have all your systems under my control and constant monitoring) - your dirty video will become public without delay. Don't attempt searching for me - it is completely useless. Cryptocurrency transactions always remain anonymous.
> Don't attempt reinstalling the OS of your devices or even getting rid of them. It is meaningless too, because all your private videos are already been available on remote servers.

Things you should be concerned about:
> That I will not receive the funds transfer you make.
Relax, I will be able to track it immediately, after you complete the funds transfer, because I unceasingly monitor all activities that you do (trojan virus of mine can control remotely all processes, same as TeamViewer).
> That I will still distribute your videos after you have sent the money to me. 
Believe me, it is pointless for me to proceed with troubling you after that. Besides that, if that really was my intention, it would happen long time ago!
It all will be settled on fair conditions and terms!

One last advice from me... Moving forward make sure you don't get involved in such type of incidents again!
My suggestion - make sure you change all your passwords as often as possible.

Other Bitcoin wallets associated with this scam: