Friday, 6 October 2017

09:15 – It was 52.6F (11.5C) when I took Colin out at 0715, partly cloudy. Barbara is heading for the gym and supermarket this morning, after which we’ll be doing kit stuff.

I’ve never been a member of the NRA, because I consider them anti-gun. Every time the federal government introduces new anti-gun legislation, the NRA has been right there supporting them. From the National Firearms Act to the GCA68 to Clinton’s banning “assault” weapons and magazines, NRA has at best stood by and done nothing, and often actively co-operated with the feds. With friends like them, 2nd amendment supporters don’t need enemies.

So I wasn’t even slightly surprised yesterday when the NRA officially came out in favor of regulating bump-fire stocks as Class 3 automatic weapons. Screw them. What they should be doing is fighting to eliminate all laws and regulations that infringe our right to keep and bear arms, including automatic weapons.

I was about to change the designee on my Amazon Prime smile account. I thought it was the NRA ILA, which was the group I specified when I first set up Amazon smile. (Not that ILA was great; they simply hadn’t done anything egregiously bad lately, and they were the only supposedly pro-gun group offered as an option when I originally signed up with smile.) Turns out, a year or 18 months ago I’d changed my designee to the Second Amendment Foundation, so I left it as it was.

Barbara and I finished re-watching the first series of James Burke’s Connections and got started on Connections¬≤. Season One, which ran in 1978, started with Burke sounding like a prepper. He first covered the Great Northeastern Blackout of 1965, which for him at that point was little more than a decade in the past. He pointed out the fragility and interconnectedness of our electric power network, how subject it was to cascading failures, and that a long-term, widespread electricity failure could kill tens of millions. He then walks us back through what that would mean, eventually ending up standing behind a horse-drawn plow.

The irony, of course, is that here we are forty years on, and our electrical grids are much, much more subject to catastrophic failure than they were in the 60’s and 70’s. And we have half again the population now that we did then, and all of those people are even more dependent on reliable electric power. As just one example, in 1978 a fair percentage of public water systems were still gravity-fed, and so could continue to provide water even without electricity. Nowadays, almost 100% of public water systems–including ones in small mountain towns like Sparta– use pumped storage, which does require electric power to function. When those big golf-ball water towers run out of pumped water, all of the people who depend on them are SOL.

When this series first ran, I thought of James Burke as a pretty radical leftie/prog. He was then, and still is, although some of what he says in this series would nowadays get him branded as a hide-bound conservative/Nazi.

If one thing still establishes his leftie/prog credentials, it’s his insistence through the series that genius plays little or no role in innovation and invention. In fact, the whole series is built around that concept. Burke reminds me of Obama’s You didn’t build that.

According to Burke, the key issue is that a critical mass of discoveries exist that are just lying around waiting for someone to combine them into something new and innovative. If Isaac Newton or James Watt or William Henry Perkin hadn’t done it, Ed the Regular Guy down the street would eventually have figured it out. Wrong.

Unless Ed TRG happens to have both curiosity and a genius IQ. All kinds of discoveries have lain around for years, decades, centuries, and even millennia, waiting for a genius to happen by and notice them.

The example I always use to illustrate this is the discovery of smelting metals. In areas where copper ore was exposed at the surface, some of our early ancestors happened to use chunks of that ore to build fire circles. Everything necessary was present: the copper ore, the heat of the fire, and the carbon from the charcoal needed to reduce the copper ions to metallic copper.

And I’m sure that for a thousand years, if not ten thousand, many people noticed the little beads of red metal that appeared around such fires. Chances are, they collected them to use for jewelry, but thought no more about it.

Then one day, a genius sitting around the fire started thinking about those tiny beads of copper and started wondering if they could get more of them. He or she may have experimented for an hour or a month, doing different things with the ore, fire, and charcoal, but those experiments eventually yielded metallic copper in large amounts. And that changed the world.

This is the way things work. Regular people take advantage of things they find lying around; geniuses wonder WHY that stuff was lying around and then do something about it. Burke even uses a classic example, Fleming and penicillin.

How many thousands or tens of thousands of times did someone culture bacteria and have the culture spoiled by a growth of Penicillium notatum mold? How many thousands or tens of thousands of times did that scientist mutter, “SHIT!”, and just throw out the culture and start over? It took Fleming to notice that the growth of P. notatum was suppressing the growth of the bacteria and wonder why that was happening. And, again, that changed the world.

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Thursday, 5 October 2017

09:21 – It was 48.3F (9C) when I took Colin out at 0645, partly cloudy. Barbara’s driving down to Winston today to have lunch with a friend and run errands. She’ll be back mid- to late-afternoon.

Someone posted a link to John Ringo’s take on the LV shooting. An adverse reaction to a psychotropic drug makes as much sense to me as any other proposed explanation, and more than most. A very high percentage of the US population are on such drugs, from the very old all the way down to children.

Teenage boys in particular are very likely to be prescribed these drugs for behavior modification of so-called conditions like ADHD or aggressiveness that are in reality just a normal part of being a teenage boy. But it’s by no means just teenage boys. Men and women of all ages, teenage girls, and children are all routinely prescribed these drugs, despite the fact that severe side effects up to and including mass murder are known risks.

Things were better back before such drugs were common. Sure, there were mentally ill people, but a much larger range of behaviors was tolerated. If Aunt Edna suffered bouts of manic depression or Uncle Bert was a bit odd, well people just kept a close eye on them. If they became a danger to themselves or others, they committed them to a loony bin. But we didn’t have tens of millions of people under the influence of psychoactive drugs, any of whom could blow up at any time.

I’m sure the pharma industry has spent a lot of money to hide the role that such drugs have played in suicides and murders both retail and wholesale. Drug companies make billions of dollars on these drugs, so it’s in their interest to have as many people as possible taking them routinely.

It’s the FDA’s job to ensure that drugs are “safe and effective” before they’re approved for use. By and large, they’ve done a decent job at ensuring they’re effective, although not necessarily any more effective or even as effective as out-of-patent drugs that don’t make any money for pharma companies. But I think the FDA has fallen down badly on ensuring that they’re safe.

When most of us hear about the latest outrage, we rightly suspect muslim or antifa or BLM terrorism. But often, particularly with school shootings and similar events, it eventually becomes apparent that neither politics nor religion were motivating factors. Someone just flipped out.

But the question that’s almost never asked, let alone answered, is: “why did this person flip out?” The normal tacit assumption is that a certain number of the population are nut cases, so a school shooting or whatever is an Act of God, kind of like a tornado, unpredictable and unpreventable. Sure, sometimes people try to attribute the event to bullying or other social interactions, but most just shake their heads and figure these things happen.

Although it almost never makes it into the news stories and follow-up analyses, my guess is that most or all of the mass killings that occur and weren’t due to religious/political motivations are in fact caused by adverse reactions to psychoactive drugs. Presumably the pathologists run drug screens on the bodies of the killers, but I don’t remember ever hearing the results of those.

Oh, the news may mention in passing that the killer was on such a drug, but they minimize its contribution to the event. Here, for example, is an article from the Denver Post mentioning that fluvoxamine, an SSRI, was found in the body of one of the Columbine shooters. But the article emphasizes that there’s no reason to think the presence of that SSRI had anything to do with the shooting.

Then there’s Adam Lanza and the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The pathologist in that case reported that no drugs were found in Lanza’s body. But what they don’t mention is there’s no such thing as a Star Trek tricorder. The only way you’ll find a drug is if you look specifically for that drug. And pathology screening protocols don’t include looking for specific psychoactive prescription drugs. If you don’t look for it, you’re not going to find it.

Posted in personal | 100 Comments

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

09:36 – It was 44.5F (7C) when I took Colin out at 0645, mostly clear.

We treat our deep pantry like a personal supermarket. Barbara even keeps a “shopping” list on the refrigerator to remind us what to bring up when we go downstairs. For example, the other day she was running out of vegetable oil in the kitchen, so we carried a gallon from the deep pantry upstairs.

For pantry items that we’ve reached “steady-state” on, as soon as we remove one from the deep pantry, I immediately add one to my Walmart shopping cart. Whether I actually order it or not depends on the current price.

For example, a month or so ago, I ordered eight one-gallon jugs of vegetable oil from Walmart at $4.77 each. When I looked this morning, they were $6.18 each, a 30% jump. Unfortunately, there’s nothing unusual about such radical price changes on Walmart and Amazon. In fact, 30% is actually pretty minor. Even so, I just added a gallon jug to my cart. I’ll wait until the price drops again before I order a replacement jug. If it drops a lot–I wouldn’t be surprised to see $3.50 at some point–I’ll order several while the price is very low.

Often the price changes are even more radical. For example, a month ago Walmart had Augason Farms #10 cans of potato slices priced at $4.99 each ($4.42 each with shipping discount). That was an excellent price, so I ordered eight cans. A day or so later, Walmart’s price on that product had quadrupled to about $19/can. As of this morning, it’s down to $9.98/can, which is exactly twice what I paid a month ago.

I think it’s all about a war between Walmart’s and Amazon’s pricing algorithms. Each often tries to price just a bit lower than the other on a particular product, and it ends up looping. For example, a few months ago, Walmart had #10 cans of Augason powdered eggs priced at $12.50/can. (Amazon, IIRC, was $12.99 at the same time.) I ordered only four cans because I didn’t really need any more. A day or two later when I checked prices, Walmart and Amazon were both back up to $37/can, which was three times what I’d paid. As of this morning, Walmart and Amazon are both (coincidentally…) at $34.75/can.

And it’s not just Augason products. For example, some months ago, I noticed that Walmart had 5-pound bags of their store-brand macaroni for $2.48/bag. Less than $0.50/pound was a good price, so I ordered 50 bags. (I would have ordered 100 bags, but I figured Barbara would give me a hard enough time about 50.) Within a day or so after I ordered, their price had jumped to $5.48/bag, a 121% increase, where it remains as of this morning.

The lesson here is that Walmart and Amazon prices can vary dramatically day-to-day and even hour-to-hour. So keep an eye on their prices for stuff you need and when you see a good/great price, take advantage of it. Don’t buy one or two units; buy 20 or 50 or 100, assuming you have use for that much.

Which brings me to something that really pisses me off. Affiliate links gone mad. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t trust prepping web sites that sell products, directly or via affiliate links. That calls into question their objectivity, to put it mildly.

The other day I came across a recent article on one of these sites that was recommending various canned meat products. One of those was Costco canned chicken. That’s fine. We have 50 or more cans of Costco chicken in our deep pantry, and it’s a good product. The problem was, instead of linking to the Costco site–where a six-pack costs $12, $2/can–the article linked to Amazon, which was selling a four-pack for $30, $7.50/can. Why? Because Amazon pays affiliates for linking to their outrageously overpriced product, while Costco does not.

Every other product link in that article went to an extremely high-priced version of a product. Instead of linking to Keystone Ground Beef for $6.28 for a 28-ounce can at Walmart, the article linked to the competing Yoder product at twice or more the price. But the worst of all was Sweet Sue canned whole chicken. At HEB, it sells for something like $5.50/can. The article instead linked to a third-party seller on Amazon, which was selling it for $51 per can. Give me a break. That goes beyond sleazy.

Again, the moral is Buyer Beware. Particularly when it comes to following product links on prepping websites.

Posted in personal, prepping | 68 Comments

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

09:22 – It was 48.1F (9C) when I took Colin out at 0615, dark and mostly clear.

We’re left with mostly unanswered questions about the Las Vegas mass shooting, and no way to separate fact from lies and spin. ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting, claiming that the alleged shooter was a recent jihadi convert, but that seems unlikely on the face of it. The large “arsenal” of automatic weapons initially reported now seems likely to be standard semi-auto black rifles equipped with slide-fire stocks.

If you’re unfamiliar with those, they’re simply replacement buttstocks that use the recoil of the rifle to pull the trigger rapidly and allow a semi-auto black rifle to fire 900 rounds or so per minute. They’re completely legal and uncontrolled. As far as the government is concerned, a semi-auto rifle equipped with a slide-fire stock is still a semi-auto rifle, just one that has a very high cyclic rate. They even come with a letter from BATFE that so states, in case a user runs into a state or local LEO who thinks such rifles are Class 3 weapons.

When I read this morning that the shooter had used bump-fire stocks, I admit that my first inclination was to order one this morning, figuring they’d soon be banned, but I decided it wasn’t worth it. I have a fair amount of experience shooting selective-fire and automatic weapons. I’ve fired probably 50 or 100 different models over the decades. They don’t impress me for civilian use. Military use, yes, but then the military has logistics pipelines to keep them fed.

The cyclic rate of a typical selective-fire or automatic weapon is 10 to 30 rounds PER SECOND. Most serious preppers I know keep anything from 1,000 to (rarely) 5,000 rounds for each of their battle rifles. On rock-n-roll, you can go through that many rounds very quickly, and you don’t have a military logistics chain to resupply you. You can’t afford, in any sense of the word, to waste the ammo.

Seeing the pictures of the LV shooting victims saddens me. Given that it was a country music concert, essentially all of the victims were probably Deplorables. Good, Normal people, in other words. Mostly young people. The faces were mostly white, as you’d expect, but there were a fair number of blacks and Hispanics and Asians in that crowd as well.

Most of the crowd fled or attempted to flee when the shooting started, as you’d expect, but there were more than a few heroes as well. One guy, black as it turned out, dragged 30 victims out of the line of fire before being hit himself. He deserves the civilian MoH. Progressives are always trying to incite racial hatred, but when the chips were down here, race didn’t matter. Whites helped minorities, and vice versa. That’s because, contrary to the prog party line, Normals don’t generally care much about race.

Posted in personal | 71 Comments

Monday, 2 October 2017

09:00 – It was 42.6F (6C) when I took Colin out at 0645, partly cloudy. Barbara is off to the gym this morning and has a meeting in town after lunch.

Even a 64-year-old guy with an AK-47 can do a lot of damage very quickly, particularly if he’s firing from an elevated position and has a densely-packed crowd of people to fire into. This bastard hosed down a crowd of people attending a country music festival, killing 50+ people and wounding 200+. From partial reports so far, it sounds like he did this in less than a minute of actual shooting.

No word yet on his motivation. All we know right now is his name, his age, and the fact that he was “known to the police”. He may have been a jihadi, a BLM or Antifa activist, or simply a non-political lunatic. Not that it matters to his victims and their families. Had the police not responded quickly and decisively, the body count might have been much, much higher.

This is just one more example of our nation coming apart at the seams. The next time, and there will be a next time, instead of the victims being Deplorables, they might be a group of BLM or Antifa or muslim “protesters”, and instead of a rifle the weapon may be a bomb or bombs, toxic gas, or simply a dump truck driven by a maniac.

As always, the best way to ensure that you and your family survive such an outrage is simply not to be there. Avoid political rallies and protests, sporting events, concerts, amusement parks, and any other venue that draws large crowds.

Posted in news, personal | 84 Comments

Sunday, 1 October 2017

09:42 – It was 41.0 (5C) when I took Colin out at 0645, mostly clear. The overnight low was down in the 30’s. Autumn is definitely here.

Colin’s new shock collar arrived yesterday. I plugged it in to charge the transmitter and receiver, went through the procedure to marry them, and then played with it for a while.

It offers the option of four different stimuli: flashing an LED, beeping, vibrating like a cell phone, and finally delivering an electric shock. We decided to set it vibrate mode. After dinner yesterday, we took him out loose. He did his usual walk over to the corner of our property near the road and started sniffing. He ignored Barbara the first time she called him. She waited a moment and called him again. He ignored her again, and I pushed the button to activate the collar. Colin levitated sideways several feet and then came back to us on a dead run.

I just now took him out for his morning constitutional. He ambled down to the corner of the property near the road and started sniffing around. I let him do that for a minute, and then called him. He ignored me and started to walk across the road. I pushed the button, and he turned and came back onto our property on a dead run. I let him sniff his way down our south treeline and around the southwest corner of our property. After he did his business, I called him. He ignored me and kept sniffing around. I called him again, waited a moment for him to respond, and then pressed the button. He came on the dead run, passed me without even stopping to ask for a treat, and ran up to the front door, where he stood and waited to be let in.

I wish I’d had this when he was a puppy. But better late than never. We’ll use the stimulus as little as possible, but we will use it as necessary until he comes reliably when called. They say one can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that doesn’t really apply to Border Collies. They learn new tricks on their own, regardless of their age.

Posted in personal | 46 Comments

Saturday, 30 September 2017

08:56 – It was 48.4 (9C) when I took Colin out at 0645, mostly clear. Barbara is off this morning to volunteer at the friends bookstore, filling in for someone who had people coming in from out of town.

Yesterday, we got the second shelving unit set up in the lab/work area downstairs, and a lot of stuff moved from stacks on the floor onto the first shelving unit. The second one will remain empty until I decide what I want to go where.

As we arrange and reorganize down there, I’ve been thinking about installing a couple more LED shop lights as grow lights. We have a couple of worktables that we use only for binning chemicals when we’re making up chemical bags. They’re empty 99% of the time, and we could use one or both of those to hold herbs and vegetables in containers. The environment is climate-controlled, and free of the animal and insect pests that often attack our outside plants.

The big question is how much light they’d need. The LED shop lights we have consume only about 40W per fixture and provide about 4,000 lumens. I could put them on a timer and let them run 12 or 14 hours a day. They’re bright in terms of indoor lighting, but nothing close to actual sunlight. More like daylight in open shade.

When I read about home grow light setups, the articles were talking about very large lighting units like 1,600W metal halide lamps. That’s a lot more than I want to get into.

Posted in personal | 54 Comments

Friday, 29 September 2017

08:54 – It was 57.3 (13C) when I took Colin out at 0715, partly cloudy. Barbara is off to the gym and store this morning.

Our weather is starting to get a lot more autumn-like. Most of the leaves are still green, but a lot of them are falling. Our forecast highs over the next week or so are in the 60’s, with lows in the 40’s and high 30’s.

Science kit sales are starting to taper off, as is typical for late September into October. This month’s revenues are just short of last September’s. We’ll probably end up selling only three or four fewer kits this month than a year ago. But this August was considerably bigger than August 2016, so on balance we’re actually doing better than last year.

Embarrassing prepper moment. I called Blue Ridge Co-op a couple days ago and asked them to come out and top off our propane tank. We last had that done back in April, I think, and I was curious to find out how much propane we’d used from our 330-gallon tank to run the cooktop in the intervening five months or so.

As it turned out, the answer was a massive 0.0 gallons. The guy pulled the hose down, but when he checked the overflow valve there was still liquid propane shooting out. So there was no point to even connecting up the filler hose.

I speculate that when they filled the tank in April, the temperatures were enough lower that simple thermal expansion of the liquid propane has accounted for all our usage. With the current higher temperatures, the liquid propane expanded to fill the available volume.

The good news is that my original calculations were apparently correct, although I questioned them at the time as being intuitively ridiculous. I calculated that that 300 gallon tank was sufficient to run our cooktop even under heavy use for between 10 and 14 years. Turns out that was probably a good estimate. So from now on I’ll have it topped off only every year or two.

Colin and I were surprised yesterday morning when we saw Al’s pickup pull into the drive. I guess he was short of things to do, so he drove up here to thin our turnips. He stuck around for an hour or so, thinned the turnips, and then turned around and drove back to Winston.

Our first attempt at turnips, planted this spring, failed miserably. They looked happy enough, but when Barbara pulled the first one it was full of worms. Same for the second, the third, and on and on. We’re hoping this autumn batch will do better.

Speaking of agricultural fails, here it is almost October and we have no apple crop to speak of. Nor any black walnuts. Last year, we had bushels of both. Next year may be a big year or a repeat of this year or something in between. Raising food crops is always a crap shoot.

I’m always puzzled when I hear from preppers who intend to raise their own food in a SHTF situation, but have never actually attempted to grow anything. Folks, that’s not how it works. If you’re counting on growing something, you’d better try it BEFORE you really need it. And even then there’s no guarantee that what works this time will work every time.

I’m also often puzzled by their choices of crops. It sounds like many of them are planning to eat mostly salads. I mean, stuff like lettuce and celery and peppers are fine as minor parts of the harvest, but they aren’t very calorie- and nutrient-dense. The bulk of your crop should be roots/tubers, legumes, and grain crops. Stuff like potatoes, yams, turnips, beets, parsnips, beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, wheat, oats, barley, amaranth, and so on. Stuff that produces large amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and oils. And, most importantly, bulk calories. You can starve to death on celery.

We maintain only a small garden patch. That, and pots on the back deck. Last year and this year have been experimental, finding out what works and what doesn’t. We now know that some crops just don’t work here, notably broccoli. But some flourish, including several types of squash, green beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Tomatoes, onions, and peas do okay. Beets, not so much.

But the point is that we’re finding out what works for us, with our climate and our soil. In a real long-term emergency, we could expand our garden to 100 times or more the size that it is now. There would very likely be scaling issues, but at least we’d have some experience that would allow us to deal with those.

But if you’re a prepper who’s bought a supply of heirloom seeds and just stuck them on the shelf, you’re fooling yourself. You’re not much better off than someone who hasn’t even bought seeds. Thinking and planning is NOT the same as doing.

Posted in personal, prepping, science kits | 71 Comments

Thursday, 28 September 2017

08:56 – It was 63.1F (17.5C) when I took Colin out at 0700, mostly clear. Barbara is off this morning to volunteer at the historical society museum. I need to get my application to be an amateur radio volunteer examiner filled out and submitted today.

I finally ordered a shock collar for Colin yesterday. It allows a gradually escalating stimulus, from audio/visual to start with, up through an adjustable level of electric shock. One way or another, we are going to get him trained to come when he’s called, no matter how interested he is in something else.

I forgot to mention that we’d had our first real deep pantry fail. At least I think we did. We were running out of mayonnaise upstairs, so I brought up another jar. It was reasonably fresh. The best-by date on it was January, 2016. I just put it on the kitchen counter and didn’t think any more about it.

When Barbara was making sandwiches for lunch, she opened it. She called me into the kitchen and pointed out that the PET jar had dented in and that when she opened the jar that cardboard/foil seal over the mouth of the jar just came loose freely. The contents didn’t smell bad, exactly, but there was a moderate odor. So we pitched the jar.

That’s the first time we’ve ever encountered a problem with food that was packaged in a way that I’d consider LTS-grade.

Yesterday, we assembled the first set of steel shelves I’d ordered from Walmart. The only shipping damage was a minor dent to the corner of one of the fiberboard shelves. It’s a 2X4-foot shelf unit that’s six feet tall and has five shelves. It’s rated to support 4,000 pounds total, 800 pounds per shelf, but I have my doubts. The 2X4 fiberboard shelves are supported only along the four edges, with no cross-bracing. I’d be surprised if they didn’t sag, especially since the fiberboard is only about a quarter inch thick. If it becomes a problem, I’ll just replace the shelves with 3/8″ plywood.

We started watching a documentary about stone-age humans last night. The clan had a dog running around their huts, which again made me think of Neanderthals.

H. sapiens neanderthalensis was apparently superior in just about every way to us gracile H. sapiens sapiens. They were bigger than us, much stronger, and, given their much larger cranial capacities, almost certainly smarter than us as well. So the mystery is why they faded away while modern humans became the dominant primates on the planet.

I’ve always suspected it was because modern humans domesticated Canis lupus familiaris while Neanderthals did not. One on one, a sapiens was no match for a neanderthalensis, but one modern man with a dog easily overmatched a Neanderthal.

So, gradually, neanderthalensis faded out as a distinct sub-species and was incorporated into the muttly line of modern humans.

Or so I strongly suspect. And DNA testing on various modern human lines bears that out, I think.

Posted in personal | 63 Comments

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

09:02 – It was 60.9F (16C) and still dark when I took Colin out at 0645. He just trotted off down the road, which is becoming a usual thing. I’m going to have start taking him out on leash, particularly when it’s still dark out.

Barbara is off to the gym, after which she’ll be building kit sub-assemblies. I’m not sure if she has any outside stuff to do today. The only thing in the garden is turnips, which are starting to come up nicely. A lot of turnips, which will need to be thinned. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a turnip, so I’m looking forward to trying them.

Work on the house next door continues to progress. Yesterday, Billings Heating and Air was installing a heat pump. They left the oil furnace in place, and will use the heat pump only for air conditioning. The deck looks to be complete, all the new windows are installed, and the outside looks good. Barbara mentioned that they’re spending as much on renovations as they did to buy the house. I’m sure Grace is champing at the bit to get in there.

I have a bunch of stuff coming from Amazon today, including six rolls of packing tape. Since we started the business, I’ve been buying U-Line packing tape by the case of 36 rolls. We’re down to eight rolls or so, so it was time to re-order.

But before I order another case of U-Line tape, I decided to try a different brand. The U-Line tape works, but it can be very aggravating. It often doesn’t stick to the tape dispenser cutter bar, and the end flops loose and sticks itself to the plate below the cutting bar, which is a pain to free up.

The U-Line tape is 2.0 mil. Amazon has another brand that’s 3.2 mil, and I thought maybe the thicker tape would work better. The U-Line stuff by the case costs $1.60 per 110-yard roll, plus shipping, or about $0.015/yard. The new stuff is just over $2.00 for a 60-yard roll if I buy a six-pack, or about $0.036/yard. But we don’t use THAT much packing tape, so if the new stuff works better it’ll be worth paying twice as much for it, just to avoid the aggravation. Of course, it may turn out to be even worse. We’ll see.

The morning paper reports another cluster of shootings down in Winston. Six people shot in 24 hours, in four separate incidents. There was a similar cluster there a couple weeks ago. I remember when shootings in Winston were extremely rare. They’re starting to become commonplace. Winston isn’t Chicongo, yet, but like most cities it’s heading in that direction.

Posted in personal | 69 Comments