Monday, 11 February 2013

07:50 – North Carolina is one of several states that are apparently in the early stages of revolting against the federal government. Every day, it seems, the front page of the paper has another article about one way or another that North Carolina is refusing to cooperate with the feds. We’re opting out of the expansion of Medicaid. As of July 1st, we’re reducing the duration and amount of unemployment benefits significantly, thereby becoming ineligible for the federal extended unemployment benefits program. And some local sheriffs and police chiefs have already said that they won’t cooperate with Obama’s proposed new gun control laws, because they are sworn to uphold the state and federal Constitutions. It wouldn’t surprise me if North Carolina followed Virginia, Utah and several other states in seriously considering introducing a silver- or gold-based state currency. And I’m hearing rumbles about some states considering declaring their residents exempt from paying all federal taxes. This could get interesting.


10:55 – I see the pope is going to abdicate at the end of this month. Media reports say this is the first time a pope has resigned since 1415, but in fact Gregory XII didn’t resign; he was pretty much fired from his pope job and demoted to bishop. IIRC, the RCC was then popeless until after GXII died. It seems to me that this is a great opportunity for the RCC to just wrap things up. Don’t bother electing another pope. Just let things wind down. Sell off all the assets and donate the proceeds to the current RCC members pro rata.


11:55 – I just finished filling 200+ 15 mL bottles with 1% phenolphthalein in IPA. It’s a lot quicker and easier to do that with the bottle-top dispenser rather than manually. The problem with manual filling is that the viscosity of IPA is low enough that it’s difficult to pour into the small opening of a 15 mL bottle without having it run down the sides of the bottle. The only problem with using the bottle-top dispenser is that phenolphthalein is extremely insoluble in water, so cleanup is a bit more involved than usual. Fortunately, phenolphthalein is soluble in basic solutions, so I’ll do multiple passes with a washing soda (sodium carbonate) solution, followed by a dozen passes of tap water, followed by a couple passes of DI water. The involved cleanup is why I did 200+ bottles in one run.

Next up is turmeric reagent, which is a solution of curcumin in IPA. It’s even more of a bitch to clean up, because it stains everything bright yellow, including even glass. For that one, I’ll start with a couple passes of IPA to get most of the staining gone. Curcumin is slightly soluble in sulfuric acid (about 1%), so I’ll follow the IPA wash with a dilute sulfuric acid wash to dissolve whatever curcumin remains. Several rinses in tap water and then DI water should finish the job.


15:25 – An hour or so ago I was surprised to get a call from Barbara’s mom. She was confused, thinking Barbara would be at home. I told her Barbara was at work and that I’d call her and have her return her mom’s call. So, a few minutes ago, Barbara called to say that her mom is going to be released at 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. That throws Barbara’s and Frances’s week into confusion, because the doctor wanted them to have someone with Sankie 24 hours a day. And that doesn’t include Dutch, apparently. So Barbara is going to pick up her mom tomorrow afternoon, take her home, and wait until Frances can get there. I’m not sure what they’ll do after that.

59 thoughts on “Monday, 11 February 2013”

  1. The snowfall for this bit of Connecticut was 3 feet, with drifts to make it interesting. (The town adjacent to us – visible out the back window – has a weather station at its small airport that measured 36.2 inches.) That’s a record around here. The snow is not wet (yet*) but it is dense and heavy. Plows can not move it, at least not the plows we have here.; clearing is being done with a payloader. They have opened at least a single lane on every road so emergency vehicles have access but clearing to the curb will take a while. So last night I blew through the eight foot stretch between the driveway and the path down the middle, not liking being blocked in. Schools are closed for at least two days.

    The newspaper was delivered this morning! We have power! (And propane for the grill, and a generator.) This time I have the right plug (240V) to be able to run the well from the generator, but we also have buckets of water for flushing and a good supply for drinking. The oil tank is full, the freezer is well stocked, both the satellite dish and internet are up, and we have quite a long list in our Netflix queue, two Kindles and a dozen or so overflowing bookcases. If we don’t actually go out this week it won’t really matter.

    *The forecast includes some rain today and tonight.

  2. When I lived in Minnesota during the late ’70’s, snow removal was done by road graders and payloaders filling dump trucks. The kind of plows one sees around here in winter, with salt spreading equipment on the back, came around after the big machines did most of the clearing. Friends who still live there, say it does not snow as much now as in previous decades.

    Since I have been back in the US, weather seems to be a month ahead of normal. Right now, it is like March out, with high winds and otherwise warmer than normal temps for early February. Same last year. And in the fall, it was bloody cold by October, which used to be a pretty nice month with only occasional need of a jacket.

  3. When your local law enforcement people really start enforcing the constitution by arresting the TSA “agents” and other federal employees who routinely violate the constitution, I’ll believe they’re serious. Otherwise it’s just posturing.

  4. ” Media reports say this is the first time a pope has resigned since 1415…”

    And as usual the media suck and are wrong; the last time a pope resigned was Celestine V in 1294, although several others before that left for various reasons. I predict the next pope will be Cardinal Schonborn of Austria, but I do not rule out the cardinals from Ghana and Brazil. Also don’t rule out the Italians taking it back.

    “… the right plug (240V) to be able to run the well from the generator…”

    May I ask what sort of generator you’re using for the well? We just bought our house and it has a well that of course runs via electricity but it would be real nice to have the water if the juice goes out for any length of time. It would also be nice to have an alternative to a generator to pump the water.

    “Otherwise it’s just posturing.”

    Agreed. It’s a start, but we’ll know more when push comes to shove. IIRC, some southern states a while back thought they’d test the Feds on previous statements in writing, including from the incumbent president, on their right to bail out. The Feds and that same president then went from zero to ninety on the blood and iron scale.

  5. “I see the pope is going to abdicate at the end of this month.”

    That started out like a joke. I thought for sure it was going to be a good one.

  6. I HATE turmeric stains! I’ve been using methanol, water and a bit of Dawn, so I’ll try adding some vinegar. Do you think that will help?

    What do you use the turmeric reagent for, anyway?

  7. I agree, but they will never admit to the facts of the past and the experiences. They will just go on until nothing is left as did Studebaker and Eastern Airlines, among thousands of others. When does it end? When the bankruptcy court can find no more funds to pay the bankruptcy lawyers; it is only then that the lawyers walk out the door for the final time.

  8. May I ask what sort of generator you’re using for the well? We just bought our house and it has a well that of course runs via electricity but it would be real nice to have the water if the juice goes out for any length of time.

    I’m not actually using it, but I have it ready to use. When we lost power for a week after that October snow storm a while back my son-in-law lent us a generator of an unremarkable variety (Echo) but which was sufficient to run the furnace, the refrigerator, the freezer, and several lights. I think it is rated around 4500 watts, and I will not use it for sensitive electronics. The problem we still had was not having water, as the well runs on 240V and at that time I didn’t have the correct plug to get 240V out of the generator. There are two that appear to be unique to generators, one 20 amp and the other 30amp. When I went to the hardware store last Saturday they had dozens of the 30 amp version, just three of the 20 amp I needed.

    Our well is nothing unusual; the pump is way down the well connected by long wires, making the higher voltage important. In the garage/basement we have the tank with the internal air bladder and control box with the pressure-controlled switch. My impromptu 240V extension cord is about 30 feet of 2-conductor ROMEX with the aforementioned plug at the end. The plug has 4 conductors; ground, neutral, and two out-of-phase 120V. I will not be using the neutral and nothing is connected to it. When I am ready to run the well pump I will open the control box, remove the wires running in from the house wiring, and connect the ROMEX in its place. Then plug it into the generator.

    It would also be nice to have an alternative to a generator to pump the water.

    At one time this house used what was called a “jet pump”. Instead of suspending the pump way down in the ground, there was a pump in the basement and two pipes to the bottom of the well. The pump sent water down the well and back up again, but courtesy of the venturi effect there was more water coming back up than went down. When that pump died the water people wouldn’t have anything to do with installing another one and changed the setup to a standard submersible pump. That is the only way I know to avoid putting the pump at the bottom of the well, where electricity is the only way to power it.

    On a side note, running the oil furnace off the generator to heat the house worked, but there was no power to the thermostats and zone valves. I had to operate the zone valves by hand.

  9. Thanks for the informative update, Roy; we’re a few miles to the north of you here and all our stuff in the house runs on electricity, so we’re looking at what we need to do if that goes out for any length of time. We’ve got food and lighting covered, but need to focus on heat and water now; of course we also live about a hundred feet from a 100-mile long lake.

  10. I HATE turmeric stains! I’ve been using methanol, water and a bit of Dawn, so I’ll try adding some vinegar. Do you think that will help?

    Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. Ethanol is actually a better solvent than methanol. I’ll try sulfuric acid to see if that helps, but if not it’s no big deal. Staining of this sort is cosmetic only. There may at most be milligram quantities and possibly even microgram or nanogram quantities of the material causing the stain. If I can’t get the stain out with any solvent, chances are it’ll stay stuck.

    What do you use the turmeric reagent for, anyway?

    The tumeric (or curcumin) test has been used for more than a hundred years for quantitative determination of boron in soil and water specimens. It’s cheap, fast, sensitive down to the sub-ppm level, and selective. There are a few chemicals that can react as boron does, causing false positives or skewed readings, but none are commonly found in soil or water specimens.

  11. Just remember that those gasoline generators need 10 to 20 gallons of gasoline per day. And, you need to have the gasoline on site before the apocalypse starts. So that is 70 to 150 gallons of gasoline for a week. Either a lot of 5 gallon jerry cans or an old 200+ gallon propane tank. The propane tank is better because it can hold pressure and your gasoline will not get “old”. I can explain more in broken english why and how gasoline gets old but you might want to google “reid vapor pressure” instead.

    BTW, good luck on getting that little amount of gasoline delivered. But you do have a Shell around the corner and a pickup. It would be good to find a station that has 100% gasoline with no ethanol so you do not get separation in your tank(s). The separation takes about a month to go to completion unless you have some sort of stirring mechanism. Plus the ethanol has an affinity for water so if you are humid (if perchance you are near a lake) then the ethanol can double its volume with water every month or so fro your air. Unless you have an old propane tank.

  12. “But you do have a Shell around the corner and a pickup.”

    Lynn channeling a drone. (-:

    Yeah, I don’t like the idea of storing a bunch of gasoline on our small-footprint premises. I’d like to pump the water from the well without a generator, if possible.

    For heat we currently have an oil burner and a pellet stove, both of which need the juice to run; we have a small woodstove out in the shed (Mrs. OFD’s art studio) and will be looking at wood cookstove of some kind for the house before next wintuh.

  13. Your date is off. This is MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11. Somewhere you have lost a couple of days.

  14. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about, not one of those rocking-horse things used to pump oil.

  15. Geez, if you’ve got a lake 100 feet from your house, you have no water worries.

    Build a sand filter by filling a large plastic bucket with clean sand on top of a bed of gravel. Poke some holes in the bottom, and use it to filter out suspended organic matter.

    Buy a few bottles of cheap generic chlorine bleach. If you can’t boil the water to sterilize it, chlorine bleach does a pretty good job.

    Another alternative is iodine, which is actually better than chlorine in most regards. The nice thing about iodine is that you can remove all aftertaste simply by dissolving a vitamin C tablet in the treated water, which converts the iodine to tasteless iodide ions.

    Finally, of course, you can set up a still.

  16. Thanks for the info, Bob. I trust you more than some anonymous guy on the web who said methanol worked better. Maybe I should just dye all my napkins in the stuff and be done with it! :p

  17. Just remember that those gasoline generators need 10 to 20 gallons of gasoline per day.

    I’m sure there are such generators and demands. When we were running that small generator and just keeping the house (more accurately, my wife) from freezing on cold autumn nights and food from spoiling and a few lights on I didn’t use anywhere near that, more like five gallons ever two days. Unlike some here I am not preparing for the end of the world.

    flojak

    Neat! I’ve never seen that before. Unfortunately for us, our well head is about four feet below ground level… dig down to a cement cover over a cement-walled pit with the well head in it. Like our old jet pump that was replaced, they don’t make them like that any longer

    (When I was a kid our house was on the south shore of Long Island, NY. That is to say the town was on the shore, the house was maybe half a mile from Great South Bay. Until city water was put in we had a well, but not like we have been talking about. The “well” was a pipe, maybe an inch or inch and a half, going straight down through the basement floor; the pump sucked up the water from above. The south shore of LI was essentially sand, and the water table wasn’t very far away.)

  18. Well alrighty, then! Our wottuh worries are over! Yes, I of course thought of the lake, and there is also a stream flowing into it just up the road from us beyond the state park that Lynn’s circling drone can see, the Black Creek Wildlife Management Area. Between the Flo-Jack, the sand filter, the chlorine and iodine and boiling, Bob’s yer uncle!

    Now, on to the heating/cooking needs; we’re looking at this little honey:

    http://www.vermontwoodstove.com/vermontbunbaker.htm

    These are nice, too, but a little pricey for us:

    http://www.elmirastoveworks.com/fireview.aspx

  19. Geez, if you’ve got a lake 100 feet from your house, you have no water worries.

    Yes, there is a lake 100 feet from his house. He’s in Nova Anglia, and if the power goes out, it will likely be in the middle of winter, when he doesn’t need to worry about filtering the water. He’ll need to figure out how to cut it into chunks of manageable size and melt it.

  20. I would have to worry about that right now, as the frozen Bay is currently the scene of various vehicles, including pickup trucks towing campers and ice-fishing sheds, snowmobiles, passenger sedans, and one private airplane last week. This traffic will disappear today into tomorrow as the temps rocket into the fotties and up, with rain.

  21. “because the doctor wanted them to have someone with Sankie 24 hours a day.”

    Gee, to me a doctor’s requirement of 24 hour a day care seems to scream ‘Hospital’, but what do I know? I don’t even play a doctor on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

  22. They’re not talking about having a skilled person with her 24 hours a day, just someone who can provide non-skilled assistance.

  23. “I’m sure we’ve had many atheist popes.”

    They wouldn’t have been too public about that, though.

    Nor would at least as many, if not fah, fah, more, solidly fanatic Roman Catholic scientists, Anglican scientists, and secret Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran and Mormon scientists. And that’s just scientists.

  24. I stayed at a Holiday Inn last week and was around doctors all day 3 days out of 5. But we still have the same problem here on the “watching” front. My uncle has to be “watched” for the next 2 weeks, then they will decide if he can return to assisted living. My aunt cannot be the watcher. So they both are in the nursing care part of the retirement place. The problem for ‘watching’ comes if there is something like a fall. Neither my aunt nor uncle can pick the other one up anymore. As the Pope says: growing old ain’t for sissies, so I quit.

  25. Lynn channeling a drone. (-:

    Who needs a drone when one has google maps?
    http://xkcd.com/1169/

    as the frozen Bay is currently the scene of various vehicles, including pickup trucks towing campers and ice-fishing sheds, snowmobiles, passenger sedans, and one private airplane last week.

    How many of those Northeastern rednecks are peeing on the ice right now? Don’t eat the yellow snow! Don’t drink the yellow ice!

    When we were running that small generator and just keeping the house (more accurately, my wife) from freezing on cold autumn nights and food from spoiling and a few lights on I didn’t use anywhere near that, more like five gallons ever two days. Unlike some here I am not preparing for the end of the world.

    Most water well pumps that I have seen (all two of them, can’t remember the rest) require 240V at 10 amps to run the pump. How much does your pump take? You are going to need a 7 Kw (preferably more) generator. A natural gas fueled generator would be much better as no fuel storage is required unless you get cold enough the freeze the natural line (starts at 20 F if your natural gas is water saturated).

    If I put a generator in my new place, I am putting in a 14 Kw running on natural gas. That way I can run one a/c unit. But it has only been 4 years since our last hurricane, 16 more years to go before another big one. VBG.

    I found out today that I may need a new pool heater. The current one is 250,000 btu/hr. The new pool heaters are 400,000 btu/hr, $3600 and require a $300 upsize on the natural gas meter. Lucky me! I will know more Thursday when an actual technician looks at my pool heater.

    One of my partners has a house at 8500 ft in Colorado. He has a basement pellet stove as backup for his electric block heater as his place drops to -65 F occasionally.

    T minus 3 days for the move. They are now spot checking the trash on me and rescuing stuff. Precious stuff. I threw over 100 VHS tapes that we had recorded crap on over the 1990s. People were wailing and blocking the door when they caught me.

  26. Lynn wrote:

    “They are now spot checking the trash on me and rescuing stuff. Precious stuff. I threw over 100 VHS tapes that we had recorded crap on over the 1990s. People were wailing and blocking the door when they caught me.”

    You let yourself get caught? You need to take sneakiness lessons from someone.

    “How many of those Northeastern rednecks are peeing on the ice right now? Don’t eat the yellow snow! Don’t drink the yellow ice!”

    Some people are into that, ya know…

    “If I put a generator in my new place, I am putting in a 14 Kw running on natural gas. That way I can run one a/c unit. But it has only been 4 years since our last hurricane, 16 more years to go before another big one. VBG.”

    Do you do anything to condition the power?

  27. Okay, does anyone here have a pool? I’ll be buying a new place this year and I’m wondering whether they’re a good idea. My sister is advising me in pretty strong terms to avoid them, as, she says, they are a maintenance trap and are a pain to keep clean and safe to swim in.

    I don’t *especially* want one, but I’m wondering what to do if the place I like has one. One of my neighbors filled in his pool when he bought the place 20 years ago. I probably wouldn’t do that.

  28. I have a pool as of last week. All I know so far is that it is expensive. $165/month for a dude or dudette to come by once per week and check the chemicals, fill the pool, clean the pool and backwash the filter. The service call for the pool / spa heater is going to cost me a $100 trip charge on Thursday at which point he will probably condemn my heater (it is blinking “low pressure” on the control panel – not sure if that is the pool side or the natural gas side).

    Did I mention that the pool / spa has a fully featured PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) running the whole thing? The controller has five setup screens. It looks amazingly complicated.
    http://www.polytecpools.com/polaris-controls-polaris-eos-c-34_372_512.html

    The last time I had a pool was at my parents home back in the middle 1970s. No spa. Dad padlocked the pool heater after the first $300 natural gas bill in February (hey, we wanted to swim without freezing our you know whats off). So we heated that entire pool up to be a spa. OK, just 90 F. It was going through a foot of water of day due to evaporation.

    Our new used pool is a freshwater pool. The wife wants to convert it to saltwater asap. I have no idea how that is going to cost but I know that the chlorine generator is not cheap.

  29. Do you do anything to condition the power?

    A UPS with power conditioning is highly recommended. All my office PCs have one, my home pc has one and my DVR / big screen has one:
    http://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP1000AVRLCD-Intelligent-1000VA-Tower/dp/B000QZ3UG0/

    You never know when you are going to get a low voltage or an over voltage situation. I would size for ten minutes of powerless operation. That will get you past most power cycling outages. And if you are running on a generator when a big motor like an A/C or a well pump cuts in…

  30. You let yourself get caught? You need to take sneakiness lessons from someone.

    Dude, I am 6’1″ and close to 3 ft wide. I used to play center in high school football because the quarterback could hide behind me. Sneakiness is not my middle name. People can hear my size 12s coming a long way.

    BTW, what is your water cost in your area? My water cost is $4/1000 US gallon and rising rapidly. If we start to put in state desalinization plants then I bet that cost will continue to rise rapidly. And, pools use a lot of water due to evaporation. I will tell you how much in a year or so.

  31. Miles should be ecstatic that—according to the BBC—the Pope first announced his intention to resign by tweeting it in Latin.

  32. I’ll have to look at the water bill in the morning, I think it’s at work, but I pay about as much per 1000 litres as you pay per 1000 wimpish, short-changed, undernourished, girly US gallons.

    When I bought this place in 1985 water was very cheap compared to now. I had an allowance of 350 kL which was included in the basic charge. Nowadays the basic charge includes 0 kL and I’d be impoverished if I used that much water.

    I remember seeing my parents water bill in about 1970: 4 cents/1000 manly, tough, full strength imperial gallons. (We went metric in the early Seventies.)

  33. In eastern Australia we had years of severe droughts. The government of South Australia thought it would be a good idea to build a desal plant in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. (Adelaide takes a lot of its water from the River Murray, which starts in the eastern states and “flows” to sea, sometimes, about 100 km to the south east.) South Australia has sobriquet “the driest state in the driest continent”.

    Anyway, without any studies on the matter the government decided to double the capacity of the plant, at the same time the drought broke. It’s looking like a white elephant and will be a major election issue at state level.

  34. Lynn, I was mainly thinking of the need to condition power out of the generator, not the mains. I have some UPSes too, one small one for the cable modem in another room, and a couple of 1000 and 1500 VA APC SmartUPS models for the major computers.

    On the weekend I had a couple of near misses. One of the fans faltered momentarily, I wondered if it was faulty, then a few minutes later it happened again and the lights flickered noticeably. Later the lights flickered again but the computer I was using, sans UPS, didn’t miss a beat. (I always get Antec power supplies.)

    For years I’ve been thinking of getting a surge suppressor at the main power box/meter, but I’ll just leave it to the next owners.

  35. Damn these parasites:

    I should sue Microsoft over their date storage format. Back in 1973 we were facing a Y2K hurdle as retirement dates are predicted 30 years into the future. The limited storage on our mainframes made date storage, of which there were many, a real storage hog. We had to do something.

    Myself, along with my team, conceived the idea of storing dates as an integer that represented the number of days past 01/01/1900. Date math became nothing more than simple addition and subtraction. Sorting of dates was a simple value sort. Wonderful solution. All we had to do was write a routine to convert between the integer format and a displayable format. Problem solved. Y2K was no longer an issue and storage was really improved.

    I will be contacting the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe in the very near future.

    Okay, does anyone here have a pool?

    Yes, I do.

    The initial cost to open the pool for the season is somewhat costly, about $400. That is required to balance the PH, get the hardness to where it belongs (generally has to be raised), add algae killer, and get the FREE chlorine to the proper 1 to 3 PPM. This is provided you don’t drain your pool at the end of the season which you should never do anyway.

    After that I merely keep a couple of chlorine tablets in the skimmer and that seems to keep the FREE chlorine level about right. Occasionally I have to add some other chemicals such as clarifier, PH adjustment or hardness during the season. A lot of that depends on the amount of rain that I get and how much use the pool gets.

    Every so often I have to super shock the pool with massive doses of unstabilized chlorine. That is to get rid of the combined chlorine. Combined chlorine is what gives off the chlorine odor. A properly maintained pool you will not smell or detect any chlorine with your human senses. The unstablized chlorine dissipates in a few hours.

    So over the course of a year I may spend $600.00 on chemicals. Chlorine is the most expensive and I buy that in large buckets of 3 inch tablets, about $80, one bucket lasting all season.

    I have a 1 HP (240 V) pump that I run about 15 hours a day. I figure that costs me about a dollar a day. I vacuum about once a week which takes about an hour.

    There are other sanitizing options such as Bacecil (sp) that in my opinion sucked. Chlorine works and is easy to use.

  36. A pool will not be among our projected expenses in Retroville. For one thing it would pretty much totally replace the back yard. For another we have an inland sea a hundred feet away.

    And in discussions with Mrs. OFD recently and tips found here and elsewhere, we’re closing in on what our solutions will be for off-Grid water and heating needs. I’m not sure how we’ll replace electricity itself but we don’t want to run generators and store fuel on-site. And the solar looks like a no-go. So if things go off-Grid for a while we may just do without, like our grandparents and great-grandparents did.

    “I used to play center in high school football because the quarterback could hide behind me.”

    I was a tall (6’3″) skinny bugger and played “end” in high school football, and also third-string QB which I only got to actually play in three games, total, for a grand total of about an hour or so. I ran indoor track in the wintuh and spring track, for middle distance events and the high jump, the latter using the old-school method right about the time Dick Fosbury initiated the Fosbury Flop. My physique from back then would make me a wide receiver in today’s NFL, most likely; while my additional hundred pounds now would put me in the tight end category. The high jump is now beyond my capabilities, of course; Fosbury blew away the existing records back then but I never got onto the Flop. Also I would guess the middle distance events are beyond me; I can still make it up and down the stairs, though, and climb in and outta the truck.

  37. I was a tall (6’3″) skinny bugger and played “end” in high school football, and also third-string QB which I only got to actually play in three games, total, for a grand total of about an hour or so.

    At 6’4″ and 185 pounds, I was too small (!) to make my high school football team. Of course, the fact that I’m slow and hate organized team sports meant I didn’t even bother to try out.

    I did kind of try out for my college tennis team. I beat the prior year’s #2 player 6-0, 6-0, and it wasn’t anywhere near as close as the score indicated. The prior #1, who’d watched me destroy the #2 guy, refused to play me. So the coach, who was actually a football coach who’d been drafted in as an emergency replacement for the real tennis coach, decided to let me on the team. I showed up at the first practice, where the coach had us doing distance running and calisthenics (!). I told him that I obviously knew more about playing tennis than he did, and said I’d agree to be on the team if he’d agree to my conditions. First, I wouldn’t ever show up for practices or pay attention to anything he suggested. I’d practice on my own with my choice of partner and do things the way I wanted to do them. Second, if he wanted me to play doubles, I got to choose my partner. In return, I’d show up for matches and beat anyone he put me up against. I think he knew I could really do that, but he said he didn’t want me on his team because I lacked “team spirit”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to be.

  38. “…but he said he didn’t want me on his team because I lacked “team spirit”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to be.”

    Prowess at tennis and being a freedom-loving individual is a great thing, but there is also such a thing as being an arrogant dick. Why even show up for that first practice? Go be an individual star on whatever circuit but why crap all over the other kids and an “emergency replacement” coach? What was the point?

    I was about 50-50 on the team thing; thus the split between football and the individual efforts of track events, although technically in the latter one is on, of course, the track and field team. I was no great shakes as an athlete and certainly didn’t get more ass than a toilet seat like some of the pretty-boy types did, and I got badly creamed a few times by massive tacklers, in one case finding myself waking up on my hands and knees and staring into the Abyss. And back then, the high jump meant charging at a metal bar that invariably I smashed right into or went over but had it quiver a few seconds and then land on top of me. I was black and blue from that bad boy.

    And my last effort at athleticism and team sports was as a softball pitcher for my USAF squadron in Maine, where I nearly clipped the squadron commander a few times and they moved me to the outfield and catching.

  39. I was willing and able to win matches for my college tennis team. I wasn’t willing to waste my time showing up for practices and having to run distances, do calisthenics, and be ordered around by a football coach who knew nothing about tennis.

    I showed up for the try-outs and the first practice because I figured they might want a player who’d win matches for them.

  40. So if things go off-Grid for a while we may just do without, like our grandparents and great-grandparents did.

    I’m thinking about a DC inverter to provide power for short duration if we need it. As someone on the Internet pointed out, having power for an hour or two every day can make a longer power outage more palatable. It could keep the contents of your refrigerator and freezer from going bad.

    The biggest drawback I can see to something like this, is you have to make sure the gas tank is full and your car is home if you have a power failure.

  41. “I figured they might want a player who’d win matches for them.”

    I hear all that and get it. But I also kinda get the coach’s response. Another coach mighta handled it differently.

    “…drawback is you have to make sure the gas tank is full and your car is home if you have a power failure.”

    Still, seems like a nifty idea. We have the two vehicles, as is evident from Lynn’s spy drone circling above, so one is usually at home. Remembering to keep the tanks full would be our biggest hassle. And now that I think of it, I believe we have one of these kicking around somewhere in the house; plus several cigarette-lighter multi-port USB sticks.

  42. “I figured they might want a player who’d win matches for them.”

    I hear all that and get it. But I also kinda get the coach’s response. Another coach mighta handled it differently.

    First, tennis is *not* a team sport. Tennis “teams” are merely collections of individual players. The only exception is doubles teams, which generally self-select for complementing talents.

    Imagine how a skilled golfer would have reacted if he’d shown up for try-outs and the first practice and found a football coach ordering him to run two miles and do calisthenics before starting to hit golf balls.

    In fact, if our emergency tennis coach *had* been a golf coach everything would probably have worked out fine.

  43. Agreed, mostly, on all points, but you made it sound like you showed up simply to read that poor temp coach the riot act on how *you* were gonna be participating, if at all. In the same coach position, faced with someone like you, I also might have balked, thinking mainly of the other kids on my little collection of individual talents. IIRC, there is a similar situation that made the nooz recently about a high-school girl swimmer of Olympics level, who, when she competes on her high school team, pretty much single-handedly beats any other teams who show up. To me this does not seem right.

    It would be sort of like having Tom Brady or Peyton Manning showing up to play for my high school team and then we go about creaming the hell out of all the other Bay State League teams. Or better; having Dick Fosbury come to do the high jump for us and have similar results; my best jump was 6’2″ at the time, and he was already doing that as a kid and after developing the Flop went on to record heights over seven feet.

  44. No, I showed up because I was willing and able to win matches, and figured they might want me to play for them. The first session was the try-out. I had no idea going in whether there were any decent players on the team. I figured they were probably all club to club+ level, but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t. At that point, I was playing about even with guys who today would be playing on the satellite tour, and I could take games and an occasional set from guys who were touring-pro quality.

    All I wanted to do was play with other good players. It wasn’t until the second session, the first practice, that it became obvious that the coach was clueless. That’s when I told him the conditions under which I’d be willing to play on the team. I spoke privately to him. I didn’t announce it to the whole team. I just didn’t have the time or the inclination to show up for useless running and calisthenics. And from the stuff that the coach was telling the other players to do, it was very clear that he’d probably spent the previous evening reading a basic tennis book to bone up.

    And what’s wrong with the girl beating other teams single-handedly? What’s she supposed to do, slow down and fake it?

  45. Okey-dokey, with that additional info I can better see your point. Initially I had the distinct impression you’d gone in cold to browbeat the guy with your superiority and demands.

    The Olympic-level girl swimmer is so far in ability beyond all the other girls as to be mind-boggling; she shows up and no one else may as well bother. Again, like Roger Federer showing up for practice on the team at Podunk High in East Undershirt, or Tom Brady for their football team. Maybe she should stick to the Olympics and practices with girls (and boys) of similar ability?

  46. Lynn, I was mainly thinking of the need to condition power out of the generator, not the mains. I have some UPSes too, one small one for the cable modem in another room, and a couple of 1000 and 1500 VA APC SmartUPS models for the major computers.

    That a monster UPS / inverter system with a ton of batteries. Or, the way that we used to do it in the old world (power plant) was a motor-generator system with a ton of batteries. The problem with the inverter is low efficiency and lots of high dollar parts. The problem with the motor generator is that the motor and generator both need complete rebuilds (brushes, clean bird crap out, etc) every year. Both require lots of batteries. We used to run 100 hp three phase motors off those motor-generator-battery systems for a week. Lots of batteries. Lots and lots of batteries.

    Myself, along with my team, conceived the idea of storing dates as an integer that represented the number of days past 01/01/1900. Date math became nothing more than simple addition and subtraction. Sorting of dates was a simple value sort. Wonderful solution. All we had to do was write a routine to convert between the integer format and a displayable format. Problem solved. Y2K was no longer an issue and storage was really improved.

    That is how we store dates in our software also. But we use a different base date.

  47. That is how we store dates in our software also. But we use a different base date.

    Then you will also be getting a letter from my law team of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe. Look for the registered letter by the end of the week. 🙂

    If only I would have had the sense to patent that idea. But who knew in the 70’s that you could patent software ideas.

    I also developed a communication system that would allow deferred communication between users (Email?) at sites all over the world, about 5,000 users if I remember correctly. Instant messaging was part of that system where users could send short messages through the system to other users (Text Messaging?). I also had broadcast capability (Tweet?) built into the system for selected users. All developed in 1973-74.

  48. “All developed in 1973-74.”

    Shit, I was in SEA on second tour by then; that woulda been cool to have. Exchange electronic threats with Khmer Rouge, Pathet Lao and Thai Cong…and smiley emoticons.

  49. Then you will also be getting a letter from my law team of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe. Look for the registered letter by the end of the week. 🙂

    If only I would have had the sense to patent that idea. But who knew in the 70′s that you could patent software ideas.

    You may want to go talk to this Julian guy about pre-existing work:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_day

    BTW, some people may come looking for you in 2038 with the forthcoming UNIX time problem:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

    BTW, I am favor of dropping the entire current patent system in the USA. It seems to have gotten corrupted in the not so recent past. When they starting patenting business methods, also currently known as software patents, that crossed the line.

    I am still in favor of the Copyright (I have sued people over copyright violations here in the USA and won!) and Trademark systems (and I currently own a trademark, WINSIM).

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