Friday, 14 June 2013

19:59 – Our power failed at about 3:48 p.m. yesterday when a strong windstorm popped up. It lasted all of ten minutes, but by the time it had blown through power was down all across the northwestern part of the county and some other areas as well. Our power just came back on about 7:00 this evening.

This morning, Barbara and I hauled out the generator. For some reason, the last time we used it (some years ago) I hadn’t run it dry, so there was gunky fuel in it. We siphoned out the bad gas and put in fresh gas and then tried using ether-based starting fluid to get it running. No deal. Fortunately, our neighbor Steve, who’s a master mechanic, was available. He ended up having to tear down the carburetor and clean it out, but he did get the generator running around noon. We connected just our upstairs refrigerator and the big freezer downstairs, both of which ran for several hours. I just went down and shut off the fuel to let the generator die. Tomorrow, I’ll siphon out what’s left in the tank and let it dry out completely.


27 thoughts on “Friday, 14 June 2013”

  1. Good to hear it was something curable. I’d figured that Dutch had died and things were in chaos.

    It’s not surprising that the hero of the day was named Steve. We’re awesome like that.

    Though I personally am not awesome with small engines. The last time I had to deal with a gunked-up engine (my wife, girlfriend at the time, had mixed 10w30 with gasoline for a 2-stroke snowblower. Um, oops.) I monkeyed with it for a while before giving up and bringing it up to my dad, who’s worked on small engines since before I was born. He didn’t even have the courtesy to act like it was a tricky problem. I boosted the thing onto the workbench in his shop and by the time I got the overhead door closed he had the carb apart and was cleaning it. Hmmph.

  2. “He didn’t even have the courtesy to act like it was a tricky problem.”

    Doncha hate that? Happens to me all the time in IT; struggle like a mofo with some issue and then some dickhead comes along, takes a look, hits a coupla keys or mouse clicks or plugs a cable into the right damn port and Presto! So I’m an imbecile. Or it’s a really complex problem, would knock Einstein on his ass, and another dickhead comes along and figures it out toot-sweet and treats it as though tres-trivial. Yes, in fact, I AM an imbecile.

    I also had figured that Bob & Co. were straight out for something unpleasant but didn’t realize the storm was that bad. Interesting; when those storms hit densely populated eastern and central MA they also knock the power out for 24 hours and up, sometimes many days, but up here in Retroville they typically get it back up within a coupla hours; maybe once or twice it’s been an overnight thing. Yep, those are our big threats here; blizzards, ice storms, floods in the river valley towns, and maybe some crystal meth lab down the block exploding, because the kids running it had that as a choice of job or the Army or selling lottery tickets at the truck stop.

  3. On the subject of know-it-alls, and wannabes, I used to work for an arsehole called Greg. There was a system problem on our MVS system, I made some cutting remark about the other Greg, and he said “at least I know how to fix it, Greg”. Turns out, he didn’t. He played around for quite a while, the problem wouldn’t go away, so he had to ask the section genius, a third Greg, who fixed the problem quickly and efficiently. The second Greg, my boss, was the biggest arsehole I’ve ever met and the only person I’m determined never to speak to again.

  4. You English and English colonials don’t really spell that like that, do ya? “arsehole”? Seriously?

  5. Well, I don’t understand you Yankees’ obsession with “ass”. What’s so alluring about a donkey?

  6. A(r)s(e)hole bosses, yep, had one of them. Fortunately only ever one. He was my first-ever boss when I joined the USAF, a civilian. I didn’t know enough about office politics to see that he was totally isolated. I was the only person who would give him the time of day, and I had no choice about it.

    He’d call me into his office and start telling stories. For hours at a time. If I dared show any signs of boredom, or go forbid a yawn, I caught hell. I kept myself awake by counting how many tangents deep he was: story 1, half-finished, reminded him of story 2, half-finished, reminded him of… The amazing thing was: he actually always completely unwound and finished story 1. Sometimes this would start when I got into the office, and he would unwind just in time for lunch.

    I should have complained to the Colonel, but instead I tried to be practical. I just avoided him as much as possible; when I needed something, I went to someone – anyone – else. I thought things were going rather well until it came time for the end-of-assignment review. He didn’t have the guts to present me with his review (as he was supposed to); he just quietly tried to flush me down the toilet. We wound up hashing it all out in front of the Colonel after all, with witnesses.

    It was a near thing, but I wound up with a good review, and he was forbidden from ever supervising anyone again. I’m sure he’s dead by now, and I’m not normally one to carry a grudge, but I’d piss on his grave if I knew where it was.

    Hadn’t thought about him for years. Other than that one misadventure, I have to say I’ve always had good bosses.

  7. Doncha hate that? Happens to me all the time in IT; struggle like a mofo with some issue and then some dickhead comes along, takes a look, hits a coupla keys or mouse clicks or plugs a cable into the right damn port and Presto!

    I think IT is full of such situations. Many times I was called in on a problem when someone had been spinning their wheels for hours, or days, or even a couple of weeks. Often enough I was able to work through it with them in relatively little time, and I got a lot of strange or dirty looks (as well as thanks) when it was solved. Does wonders for ones reputation! Of course I had my own seemingly insoluble problems, and a few friends I would call on to help me sort them out – often the same people I helped. There’s nothing like fresh eyes and an open mind.

  8. I think IT is full of such situations

    Having been slinging code most of my life such situations are quite common, at least for me. I think it has to do with getting a different look at the issue.

    Many times, more than I like to admit, I would be stumped on some piece of code that was absolutely failing to cooperate. I ask someone else to look at the code with me. I go through the code explaining what each piece does and why. Suddenly the face will become red and I tell the other person I don’t need them anymore. I found the problem. It just comes down to missing the trees because the forest got in the way.

    However, what I have never figured out is when others have problems and I do the exact same thing they did and it works for me. I am almost convinced that computers consider me a threat and cooperate as the computer does not want me messing with it. The other explanation is that the people really did not do what they said and are afraid to admit it.

  9. I ask someone else to look at the code with me. I go through the code explaining what each piece does and why. Suddenly the face will become red and I tell the other person I don’t need them anymore.

    We used to teach that approach. We would tell new programmers to grab someone and explain the problem to them, even if that person had no hope of understanding what you were saying. The process of explaining what was going on would often reveal the problem without any actual input from anyone else.

    The other explanation is that the people really did not do what they said and are afraid to admit it.

    More likely are missing the nuances of the process.

  10. We would tell new programmers to grab someone and explain the problem to them, even if that person had no hope of understanding what you were saying.

    Just so. It’s obvious where the real benefit comes from when you can get the same result after explaining the problem to a baby or a dog.

  11. Isn’t electric power neat? When we (the human race) became masters over cheap, easily available electrical power, our fortunes zoomed. We build incredible buildings and cities, totally dependent on electrical power. Cheap electrical power.

    I pay 9 cents/kwh at my office building. I pay 10 cents/kwh at my house. Both here in the Land of Sugar. Europeans typically pay 30 cents/kwh with 70% of that for taxes. Mr. Obama, the utopian, wants USA citizens to pay European rates for electricity, gasoline and diesel.

    I went to an engineering conference last March where we were briefed by a lawyer who said get ready, the new carbon tax is coming. Mr. Obama envisions a half trillion dollar tax the first year and a trillion dollar tax the second year. This is his plan to balance the budget by doubling the cost of energy in the USA.

    Mr. Obama, the utopian, does not think that he can get it through Congress so he will be enacting the new tax as a penalty using the Clean Air Act. They have never passed a general penalty using the Clean Air Act so this will be a first.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/305551-report-obama-readies-july-climate-plan-rollout-

  12. Suddenly the face will become red and I tell the other person I don’t need them anymore. I found the problem. It just comes down to missing the trees because the forest got in the way.

    This is my life. I’ll drag one of my other programmers into my office and make them review the algorithm with me. Often I see the problem fairly quickly and they leave shaking their head. However, they grab me all the time too.

  13. The State’s answer to everything; impose more taxes, more costs, make life harder all the time for ordinary people and then stomp on them when they complain. Same old story from the last 3,000 years. Just finished reading a book on the Hellenistic Age, transition period between Philip II of Macedon and Octavian, about 300 years. Horror show of this sort of thing, repeatedly, and the soap opera carnage of the ruling families throughout.

    And make no mistake; the current regime is a gang of cutthroat criminal scum who will stop at nothing to maintain their grip on power and wealth.

    Yes, electricity is a wonderful thing; watch the world come to a crashing halt if it ever goes out on a more or less permanent basis. I know, I know; it can never happen here. We’re all set. But if it does, somehow, we are back to circa 1900.

  14. I just looked at my latest electricity bill: 17.9 cents/kWh. Plus there’s a 60 cents/day supply charge just for being connected to the network, totals $60 per quarter. Used to be $2 per quarter in the Eighties. Yes, I know that’s a long time ago, but that’s around 3000% in thirty years.

  15. Watch it go another 3,000% in the next five or ten. And here we’ll also be watching our medical insurance premiums triple and quadruple in the same time frame, to the point that our mortgages and rentals are small change. While the cost of food goes up, too. We’re being ground fine between two stones like the old John Barleycorn song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU_YQNLfDt4

  16. I think we pay around $0.20 here, maybe a bit more, on average. Electricity is cheaper at night, and more expensive in the day and evening, so some things (like our electric boiler) are programmed to run at night.

    No idea how much of that is taxes. I am currently sitting back with popcorn and watching the show: After Fukushima, the left, the environmentalists and the clueless (but I repeat myself) convinced the Swiss government to get out of nuclear energy. But Switzerland want to remain energy independent, and of course has to be green about it, so the obvious solutions are solar, wind and water.

    So now the power companies are putting in lot of bids for streams that they want to dam, alpine valleys that they want to flood, mountains they want to cover with wind parks, and so forth. It’s fun watching the environmentalists’ heads explode. Apparently they thought they could turn off the nuclear power plants, and electricity would continue to magically come out of the plug.

    The reality is almost certainly that all but the oldest of the nuclear power plants will remain, simply because there is nothing to replace them. Twenty years will go by, the current crop of politicians will retire, and the decision to abandon nuclear energy can be quietly rethought.

  17. I sure hope so. It’s been a disaster here trying to talk anyone into, say, building even one new plant in the country, let alone the thirty a year for thirty years we’ll actually need. That just isn’t gonna happen until, as brad says, the current crop of loser imbecile political hacks are retired or dead.

  18. So now the power companies are putting in lot of bids for streams that they want to dam, alpine valleys that they want to flood, mountains they want to cover with wind parks, and so forth. It’s fun watching the environmentalists’ heads explode. Apparently they thought they could turn off the nuclear power plants, and electricity would continue to magically come out of the plug.

    They are amazingly clueless, aren’t they? Limbaugh calls them “low information voters” and he has them pegged. But they can tell you which one of their hollyweird heroes has got a new tattoo. And in excruciating detail.

    There are three new nuclear power plants being built in the USA at the moment. One at TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station. The others are in South Carolina and Georgia. South Korea is building ten new nuclear power plants. China is building 50.
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/USA–Nuclear-Power/#.UbzAIpzdf0B

  19. So the new nuke plants are all being built in southern states; figures. Never happen up here in oh-so-enlightened New England and the Northeast. Or the Left Coast. Which, of course, is where most of the country’s population is concentrated. Imbeciles.

    South Korea and Red Chiner will eat our lunch.

  20. So the new nuke plants are all being built in southern states; figures. Never happen up here in oh-so-enlightened New England and the Northeast.

    Yes, they shutdown and dismantled Maine Yankee early and then were all surprised when the electric rates doubled. Now they are shutting down the San Onofre nuclear power plant which could be fixed (but not cheaply with all the $400k/year salaried regulators involved):
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57588196/calif-utility-to-retire-troubled-san-onofre-nuclear-power-plant/

    ” The California Public Utilities Commission said it will work with governments to ensure Southern California has enough electricity, which will require increased energy efficiency and conservation during peak usage, as well as upgrades to transmission and generation resources.”

    Yeah, right. Sounds like rolling blackouts and more imported electricity from Arizona to me.

  21. There are periodic attempts to shut down Vermont Yankee and neither side has covered itself in glory; and gee whiz, we can get all our energy now from Hydro-Quebec! Yeah, it will cost more. And they’re not shy about sending out the bills and threatening shutoff if you’re an hour late paying. Like our previous city of residence with the annual tax bills; if you were late, they’d tell the bank to seize your house.

  22. re California and rolling blackouts: I was consulting with an electric power consulting company (Power Technologies, Inc, in Schenectady) at the time. A 300kV line was supposed to have been built years before but the NIMBYs and watermelons killed it. So all that lovely power up north couldn’t get to southern Cali, where it was needed. Nice job, retards.

    Also: a bit before then I’d been reading the sob stories in the newspapers about the poor, beleaguered Cali customers, being raped by Enron and forced to pay 40% higher rates in just a couple years. I, black-hearted though I am, felt sympathy for the innocent victims… until I saw the rates. The new, higher rate was 7.9 cents/kWH. At the time I, in upstate New York, was paying 10.8 IIRC and it was slated to go to 12.something next month. Once again the unsympathetic, black heart is demonstrated to be the correct response to a story in the newspaper.

  23. So the new nuke plants are all being built in southern states; figures. Never happen up here in oh-so-enlightened New England and the Northeast.

    Nope. The north will just steal what they think is their right from the south like they did a hundred and fifty years ago.

    There is a new battle waging between Georgia and Tennessee. GA wants to move their state line north a few hundred yards so that the TN river will now flow within their boundary. Then GA will take what they want from the river to sustain Atlanta and the ever increasing demand for water in the area. TN wants no part of the relocation, nor do the residents of the contested strip of land. This will be an interesting case that will ultimately wind up in the supreme court.

    Of course during this process all manner of lower courts will have decisions reversed with the losing side escalating with an appeal. Makes you wonder what good are courts if a lower court can have a decision overturned by a higher court. Does that mean the lower courts are incompetent?

    GA’s claim is that the boundary was incorrectly established many years past. Of course GA never complained when GA would have had to pay for services, roads, utilities and other manner of infrastructure. Now that those services are installed GA wants to take the land.

  24. if you were late, they’d tell the bank to seize your house.

    It gets even better. When I refinanced many years ago the title company failed to pay $25.00 for the county property taxes. Found out when I refinanced again, 10 years after the original change. Of course the title company says they paid, the county says they did not. To get the records from the title company because the records were more than 7 years old would require my paying $50.00. That was more than the tax owed. Even I proved the title company was wrong the search fee was not refundable. If the county was wrong, which I suspect, I was still out the money as the county would not reimburse the expense to prove they were wrong.

    I asked the county why I was not told there was $25.00 due with a little notification on my tax bill. The county said it was my responsibility to know when my taxes were due and to pay the taxes. They were under no obligation to inform me of such and were merely doing me a favor by sending a bill. I asked why they could not put past due taxes on the bill and they said tax bills only reflect current taxes, not past taxes.

    I also found out that the county had put my house and property up for and upcoming sale at a tax sale and never informed me. Someone could have purchased my house for $50.00. I did find I had a year to make good on the taxes at which point the sale was voided and if anyone had paid $50.00 for the sale, they lost the money as all sales were final. I would have been served with papers after the sale. Of course by then the tax bill, with penalties would have ballooned to more than $500.00. Of course the county wanted to sell the property and not inform me. Free money to the county.

  25. I’ve heard of that trick with houses before, Ray; amazing they can get away with this shit, but hey, if it’s not happening to me, what do I care? I got mine. That’s the attitude now in this country; let the other sink or swim or rot; I got mine. And why not? They see the State acting that way and the corporations likewise, why not them? Obey laws? What the fuck for? No one else does, including the people who write them and allegedly enforce them.

    “The north will just steal what they think is their right from the south like they did a hundred and fifty years ago.”

    I just wonder if the North is as competent and efficient now as it was back then. I doubt it. But yeah, that would be the plan. We’ll just write something somewhere that says we can do that and Presto! And if it means fucking over the local yokel population, why, even better! Like northern companies have done with mining down there and the dams. They did it up here to their own, too; the stories are legion in New England of the messes left by all those old defunct mills and factories, leaching into the groundwater and watersheds, etc., etc.

    75 here today on the Bay, with stepped-up boating activity, people in the streets, and I saw the local county sheriff’s department HQ up the road was having some kind of big shindig with the flags at half-mast again for some reason. Good day to rob someplace. And don’t think I didn’t ponder that for a second.

  26. It was 95 F here in the Land of Sugar on Saturday and the concrete pond was up to 94 F. Briefly, very briefly. The pool was 90 F when I jumped in at 6 pm for a couple of hours (to my surprise). That pool temperature can change quickly with the air temperature, I am blaming the waterfall between the hot tub and pool.

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