Saturday, 22 December 2012

09:04 – As I expected, kit sales have fallen off a cliff. None overnight or so far today. If last year is any indication, we’ll probably sell half a dozen kits during the last week of the year, and that’ll be it until the New Year.

Barbara is off until next Wednesday and then most of that week. She’s starting this morning on her Deep Clean, beginning with the finished area downstairs. Last week, we donated a sofa and table/chairs to a moving company that transports used furniture to people who need it, freeing up some space downstairs. Barbara will vacuum the floors, walls, and ceiling in the areas that are currently open, we’ll move furniture into those areas, and then she’ll vacuum the newly freed-up areas. After a couple of iterations, we should have the whole area clean and the furniture where it’s supposed to be.


11:04 – Barbara is making a lot of progress in the finished area of the basement. Out in the garage area, I just used the last new 4-foot fluorescent tube I had in stock to replace a flickering one. Three or four of the six 4-foot tubes in my lab are starting very slowly now, so I need to re-stock on fluorescent tubes soon. I was expecting replacing all ten in the basement and six in my lab to be an expensive project. The last time I bought a fluorescent tube was probably three or four years ago, when I replaced the 2-foot 20W tube in the kitchen. At the time, I though the price was outrageous, something like $12 for that one tube. But I just checked the Home Depot web site, which sells 10-packs of 4-foot 40W 2300+ lumen 6500K tubes for $25 or $30. Now the only problem will be disposing of the old tubes, which can’t just be thrown in the trash.

27 thoughts on “Saturday, 22 December 2012”

  1. [snip] Now the only problem will be disposing of the old tubes [snip]

    Around here, the county dump has ‘Amnesty Day’ a couple of times per year, where people are encouraged to bring hard to dispose of properly items, like fluorescent tubes, solvents, etc to have them handled properly. A quick phone call could probably let you know if & when such things are done. Or call the large university in the neighborhood’s physical plant department to find out what they do.

  2. Four foot tubes are usually the cheapest. Most smaller ones actually cost more likely because of the much smaller quantities used.
    HD should take old tubes back, they do here but I think the law requires them to. I you sell them you must recycle them.

  3. Our local collection service has a hazardous drop-off service. Also good for CRT monitors and eight track players.

  4. Our local collection service has a hazardous drop-off service. Also good for CRT monitors and eight track players.

    Or Barry Manilow CD’s. Aretha Franklin CD’s are so annoying that no one will take them.

  5. From Pournelle’s website: “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” illustrated by Rudyard Kipling:
    http://andstillipersist.com/2012/11/the-gods-of-the-copybook-headings-illustrated/

    “When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.“”

    Still true to today, so true. I will bury my weapons and ammo before I give them up. Oh wait, what weapons and ammo? I have none and am just an innocent little lamb, ready for the picking.

  6. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/22/us-usa-gun-shows-idUSBRE8BL0DP20121222

    Here we go again with the “assault weapons.”

    OFD wants to know: Can a butter knife be an assault weapon? How about a shoe? A bag of peanuts? My bifocals?

    But it’s good news anyway; guns are selling like hotcakes! Nosferatu II and his krew should get monuments to them paid for by the firearms manufacturers and the NRA.

    Yo, later; gotta run; see how many assault weapons I might have around the crib, yo.

  7. Can a butter knife be an assault weapon? How about a shoe? A bag of peanuts? My bifocals?

    Just about anything can be used as an assault weapon. Soon we will ban everything. Hammers will require a license and nails are no longer sold over the counter. Repairing your own home will be a federal offense for using unlicensed tools and materials.

    Lest you think I am kidding I cite a true incident. I was traveling to a customer site to repair a system. I was carrying a small tool case that had a couple of screwdrivers, pliers and some other ancillary tools. It fit entirely in my briefcase that also contained other stuff. I was told I could not carry the tools on the airplane as they could be used as weapons and take over the plane. Or worse, I could start dissasembling the plane in flight and cause it to crash. These were not large screwdrivers, but smaller ones that you typically use on a PC. I had to leave them at the airport and buy some new ones when I got to my destination.

  8. Look on the bright side Ray: You made someone feel important, and that they’d earned their pay for the week.

  9. Well, I am guessing that Ray fits the profile of the typical international terrorist, i.e., young Arab male with a sullen facial expression, so luckily our heroic homeland security professionals were on hand to thwart his nefarious enterprise, if only temporarily.

    OFD notes that despite there being only one unsuccessful incident involving the use of a shoe as a weapon on a plane, and despite the notice that the airlines and TSA would no longer require the removal of shoes by passengers, they’re still doing it.

    Gonna be a white Xmas up here in Retroville this year; we had enough powder blowing around and it’s cold enough to freeze it for the next few days.

  10. Whenever I travel to the States, I’m struck by the differences in airport security. They even joke about it, “in Canada, we’re not afraid of your shoes”.

  11. Yeah, I guess the reason I like foreigners so much, is that they apply logic, whereas US Americans are afraid of anything and everything.

    In response to OFD, I don’t know about the South of Germany, as I never spent much time there, but in the North, there is no lack of children or parents who want them. Yeah, couples put off having kids, just like Americans do these days. But it is decidedly not true that mothers are afraid to entrust their kids to others. Either parent can take 1 year off with pay when a child is born. Try that in the US. The Kindergarten care there begins at 6 months, and is the best daycare I have ever seen; I have mentioned that here before. Well organized by people who receive 2 years training before they can be employed in that government-run system. No one I knew feared for their babies or kids. The people working in Kindergarten loved their jobs and the kids, too. I picked up our grandkids several times a week for all the years we were there, and the kids loved Kindergarten.

    As far as income, most Germans can afford for 1 parent to stay home, but since work is life to them, they do not. The whole society is better equipped to raise kids than is the US, IMO, including schools just teaching and letting the kids out right after lunch, instead of extending school into nothing more than babysitting daycare like in the US, where they are not much of a learning institution.

    I have no idea what kind of decadence the article is talking about. Germany is a very tolerant place, having come to terms with things like homosexuality waaay before the fights that still go on here in our supposedly most-advanced-in-the-world US society, which is to be admired the world over and exported to everywhere and never criticized, or—gawd forbid—changed. They do not consider the naked human body to be pornography and are certainly not constrained by religion into repressing sex—or even language, as they play and listen to US rock songs on the radio with the ‘bad language’ version, which is super-strictly verboten by the FCC here in the US. Although there are those who are alcohol dependent, Germans I was around do not drink to excess like the football parties I see all around me here where if you don’t finish a 6-pack of Bud Light (ugh!) before the game is over, you ain’t a man, nor fit for US citizenship. Many, many times I saw Germans drink half a bottle of beer, and leave the rest. Germans shun fast food but do love fine food, music, dancing, live entertainment, and book-reading as much or more than anywhere I have been here in the US, and almost every person can play a musical instrument of some kind.

    The commenters point out how far off-the-mark that article is. I doubt the South was any different than Berlin, but Brad may want to chime in on that. The news media these days is SO far off, most everything they print or say is aimed to spark reaction, and practically none of it is fact-checked for accuracy anymore—even at the BBC, where their practices are really coming under fire these days.

    Regarding population decreases, more than one economist I read asks, ‘What’s the matter with fewer people? The masses here complain about terrific daily traffic jams, overcrowded schools, not enough jobs to go around, not enough doctors for everyone, and on-and-on—why should a reduction in population be a PROBLEM?!!’ It will solve a lot of complaints, and with computers, automation, and robots improving productivity, that should mean more money to pass around to fewer people. But no, to the MSM, it is a disaster! Just like the imaginary ‘fiscal cliff’

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/the-y2k-disaster-how-news-outlets-not-working-for-the-campiagn-to-fix-the-debt-report-on-the-fiscal-cliff

    and the supposedly ‘exploding’ national debt against GDP, which only rose for 2 of the last 9 years and has actually been decreasing significantly since 2010

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/does-the-post-have-to-say-qtame-the-debtq-in-every-budget-article

    That article is not a description of the Germany I recognize.

  12. Speaking of foreigners, it drives me crazy that the Weather Channel maps stop with their temperatures and other info at the US borders, and do not give any info about Canada or Mexico. Gawd forbid any US citizen should have an interest in either of those places.

  13. I think it’s because most Americans think there is a huge temperature change at the border. After all, it’s 32° in Montana, but all the way down to 0° in Alberta. Best not to confuzzle them.

  14. Do Canadians mostly think in Celsius? I was under the impression that many continued to think in Fahrenheit, not to mention inches, feet, miles, and so on.

  15. I know one American who may think the temperature drops at the border. Mary Chervenak did a post-doc at the University of Edmonton. She says she almost froze to death there, literally.

  16. Excuse me. I meant University of Alberta, of course. She was on the Edmonton campus.

  17. Thanks for the info/update, Chuck; I figured you’d have a different take on that article. So out in Tiny Town way a six-pack of Bud Lite is the key to manhood and citizenship? Crikey, I could drink case after case of that stuff and just have to pee a lot, only effect. As of three or four years ago, I could no doubt drink that whole county under the table in minutes flat.

    It is 22 here today but I am told that Montreal is usually lots colder in the winter, which is one reason half their city is underground. I was also struck by discovering that although the city itself is 2-million people, the whole metro area is double that. Meanwhile our little state here 75 miles south has nearly the exact same population as the city of Boston, 275 miles or so south of us.

  18. Thinking in Celsius is an age thing. I was 16 when they went metric, so I understand metric, and even approve of it as a better system, but I still think in Fahrenheit and miles per gallon, and have to translate into imperial to best understand relative sizes. You still see both measurements in grocery stores in meat and produce, though liquids are all marked in ml. The exception being beer on tap in bars, which are still sold and advertised as pints. My kids think in Metric, but can speak Imperial with only a little accent. Right now I would put the tipping point at age 45. Under that, and I expect most people will be solidly metric, over that and imperial rules.

    Tell Mary EVERYBODY almost freezes to death in Edmonton, and there is no confuzzlement as -40° is the same in both systems.

  19. It must have been particularly difficult for Mary. When the four of us are outdoors when the temperature is in the 66 to 70F range (19 to 21C), Barbara and Paul wear shorts and t-shirts. Mary and I wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts, if not flannel shirts or jackets. Mary and I are happiest around 74F; Paul and Barbara around 65F.

    Geez, when Barbara and I were first dating, the first time she invited me into her house it was below freezing out. I came in the door, took off my coat, and then turned right around and put it back on again. It was 50F in her house. Granted, she had electric heat, which was expensive, but holy cow. I asked her if she just kept it at 50F while she wasn’t home. She said that’s how she handled it. When she was home, she turned up the thermostat. To 60F.

  20. I vastly prefer metric, and after nearly 10 years living with it, I still think in terms of it. Meters was the hardest to get used to, but we put a meter stick up on the wall, with feet and yards next to it, and after just a few months of glancing at it, it was not hard to use meters instead of yards or feet to describe distances. I have the bathroom scales set to kilos, instead of pounds. It is just insane to use Farenheit instead of Celsius for temperatures. I have my web pages for weather set to Celsius wherever possible.

    It does not take that long to get used to metric. But this using half and half is nuts. Germans generally have never even heard of Farenheit, even though he was a German (who lived all over Prussia and ended up in Holland). Germans have no idea what a bank check is, either—and I wish we didn’t. Just had problems with another one that simply vanished between me and the payee.

  21. I envy the cold tolerance of some people. I’d love to live somewhere like Singapore, where it’s 30 degrees celsius all year.

  22. “…66 to 70F range (19 to 21C)”

    i.e., a hot summuh day up here. We go nude. (well, some folks do; I don’t wanna scare anybody or make the other men insanely jealous)

    Seriously, when it hits 80 here, we are pretty uncomfortable. Too damn hot. But we’re pikers compared to the Russians this winter; they are in a record deep freeze.

  23. People who grow up in cold climates actually do have physiological adaptations to cold. Until my mid-20’s, I lived in northwestern Pennsylvania, Rochester, New York, and northern Ohio. Even when it was well below freezing, if I was going to be outside for a few minutes I usually didn’t bother to put on a jacket. Short sleeves were fine for that long. If I tried that now, they’d find my body frozen solid. When a Northern boy moves South, the antifreeze wears off after a year or two.

    I couldn’t tolerate the climate in San Francisco, which most people like. Years ago, one of our friends was going on her first visit to SF and wondering aloud what clothes to take. I told it’d be 64F while she was out there. When she asked how I knew that, I told her that it was always 64F in SF.

  24. Yep, I remember how it was; finishing boot camp and “tech school” in east Texas and then being sent to northern Maine for the winter. Then back to Texas for combat training and ‘Nam. Back from ‘Nam to Marin County and SF area; back to Texas for the exact same combat training again and then back to SEA, mainly northeast Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Then back to Maffachufetts in April where I froze my ass off and it was still snowing heavily (this was before GlobalWarmingClimateChange, natch). The climate in Marin Country and SF area was flat-out boring to this born and bred New Englander, I can tell you. Nice for a week or a month, but for eighteen months? It snowed in winter of ’73-’74 out there, maybe two inches; whole area went nuts and drove up our mountain to see it. Saw that same phenom again in Mordor in the winter of ’88-’89’ maybe two inches and the whole city shut right down. Hell, they don’t even close skool up here for major blizzards. You gotta get yer kid there no matter what.

  25. Same when I was in Minnesota. Nothing ever closed for anything, and blizzards may have slowed people down a smidgeon, but never stopped them. People around here do not believe me, but when you have major road-grading equipment plowing the streets, it makes a huge difference over the tinker toy salt trucks they use around here.

  26. I think in metric, except for height. I’m 6’1″. I know that’s about 185 cm, and that’s what I tell younger people or health professionals when they ask, but I don’ think in metric for human height. I have very little idea about Fahrenheit.

    I used to love hot weather, and hate humidity. Now I’m getting less tolerant of the heat. I don’t like cold weather either but at least I can put on more clothes if I’m cold.

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