Monday, 24 March 2014

12:10 – Science kit sales are extremely slow at the moment, better than last March but not by much, so we’re focusing now on building inventory. Right now, we can build kits a lot faster than we can sell them. Come the summer/autumn months, we’ll be selling them a lot faster than we can build them. So, other than making up and filling chemicals with limited shelf lives, we’re doing all the stuff now that we won’t have time to do later.

Barbara and I have talked about relocating once she’s ready to retire from the law firm and her mom is no longer around. One of my primary candidates, which I think Barbara agrees with, is the mountains up near the North Carolina/Tennessee border. We want a small town, but not too small. We want services like municipal water and sewer, a reasonable local hospital, and so on. Broadband Internet is obviously a requirement, and it’d be nice if there were competing ISPs. Natural gas would be nice, and Barbara insists on garbage pickup, either municipal or private contractor. A Costco within reasonable driving distance would be nice.

The other issues are religiosity and diversity. We were watching an episode of Friday Night Lights the other night. The high school football team traveled to an away game in Kingdom, Texas. As one of the characters commented, “92 churches, no bars”. Although I won’t say I’d prefer the converse, we certainly don’t want to be the only non-churchgoers in whatever community we relocate to. That’s one of the main reasons I was thinking about Boone, which as a university town has a fair degree of diversity and a considerable secular presence.

Barbara has made a couple other suggestions. Sometime this spring or summer, we may do a day trip or weekend trip up to the mountains to look around.


15:34 – As I mentioned, science kit sales have been pretty slow overall. What’s odd is that forensic kits are selling at several times the normal rate. The percentage varies month to month, but ordinarily forensic kits make up 7% to 12% of total orders. So far this month, they’re close to a third. As of this morning we had only three in stock, and that’s now down to two. I need to get more built this week.

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21 Responses to Monday, 24 March 2014

  1. OFD says:

    Sounds like a plan.

    Looks like an interesting little town, though twice the size of “Rail City” up here.

    “In 2012, Boone was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S. by U.S. News.[3]” (from Wikipedia).

    Then there’s this:

    “Compared to the lower elevations of the Carolinas, winters are long and cold, with frequent sleet and snowfall.”

    The article then goes on to compare the climate with coastal southern New England (where OFD was born), though, where winters to us up here are laughable, as our winters are a joke to folks in Alberta and Siberia.

    Between this latest post and the ones about equipping the vehicles, sounds also like someone is concerned with recent/contemporary events and future potential….

  2. Chad says:

    The Census website can be helpful in checking out the demographics of a zip code.
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/37/3707080.html

  3. MrAtoz says:

    Why are we hunting warlords in Africa? It can’t be cheap to deploy Osprey and Special Forces.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/2014/03/23/aa468ca6-b2d0-11e3-8020-b2d790b3c9e1_story.html

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I think all this stuff is just live-fire training. I think the politicians and bureaucrats (civil and military) pretty much ask themselves, “Who can we kill and justify doing it to the US public?” I mean, what other explanation is there for placing US military forces in so many combat situations where we have no conceivable national interest.

    For that matter, why were we ever in the middle east? Yeah, we needed to kill a bunch of islamics, but there were a lot of better ways to do it that were cheaper in both US lives and money. As I said back on about 9/12, “never send a man where you can send a warhead.”

  5. ech says:

    it’d be nice if there were competing ISPs

    As in most of the US, your choices will be likely be the telco with DSL and the local cable company. This appears to be AT&T for phone, Comcast for cable. There is also a fixed wireless provider, but you have to have LOS to their tower. For all the complaints about Comcast, they have really cleaned up their act. I get pretty solid connections, good speed – much better than DSL, low ping times.

  6. Lynn McGuire says:

    I can hardly wait until April when all of these stupid http://www.healthcare.gov commercials will end! I listen to the radio all day as background noise in my office and the amount of tax dollars being wasted is shameful!

  7. OFD says:

    During one of my periods of unemployment, I worked part-time packing and shipping weathervanes in an all-woman shop; the women were all committed lefty types so the radio was on all day, loud as hell, to “Democracy Now” and other PBS claptrap, with that program hosted by Amy Goodman, whose brother lives and works here in Vermont and whose niece was once friends with our daughter. The brother is also married to a state rep here and their house has them Tibetan prayer flags strung out front. You can imagine my joy during this time.

    Zero here tonight on the bay shore. Peeps still out in vehicles and ice-fishing shacks on the lake. They have until the 30th to skeddadle. Every year someone falls through in a vehicle anyway.

    Tomorrow I am attending a Red Hat webinar on user infrastructure and the cloud; I keep taking these things so I can chat ’em up at interviews and make like I’m keeping up with the tech and all that good chit. I love RHEL and Fedora. Hire me.

  8. John says:

    Have you considered the area near Asheville? The towns 20-30 miles north of it might fit the bill.
    While I probably wouldn’t ever consider living in the US (other than Kauai) I always enjoy my visits to Asheville.

  9. Chuck W says:

    Being close to a university that has no ties to any religion, is a pretty safe bet for absence of religious hassles. But it is also likely to be liberal to an extreme. No problem for me, because liberals are easier to ignore than the meddlesome in-your-face conservatives we have here. Just this year, conservatives in Indiana have tried to enact a ‘man-woman only’ marriage law, have publicly condemned being gay from the floor of the state legislature, refused to join Nobamacare sending people near state borders across the state line to live with better healthcare, and have stripped Common Core out of the state educational system with no plans on how to deal with that. Nevermind — we have a balanced budget, so that makes everything else all right.

    Religious or not, only the fundies and Islamics actually attend church, so I do not worry too much about effects of my complete non-participation. There is not a single person on my block that heads out to church on Sunday. I do long for what we had in the former East Germany, where religion had zero influence in life or conversation. It is probably best I was in the north of Germany, too; my grandfather, whose father came from southern Germany, told me that dancing in his father’s religion was verboten, including watching the tribal gatherings and ceremonies at the reservation where his Lakota mother had grown up. It’s over the top that he and his brothers never went to pow-wows because of religious beliefs, even though they lived for many years, right next to the reservation.

  10. Miles_Teg says:

    How come you’re so keen to relocate, if I may ask? I’ve just done it (to be nearer family) and it’s a PITA.

    Boone looks nice, and it has this place that I’ve heard about and would like toi visit if I ever get back to the US for a visit:

    http://www.danlbooneinn.com/

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I dislike living in a city. I’m a small-town boy, even though I’ve lived in cities like Rochester, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and now Winston-Salem for almost 40 years.

  12. Lynn McGuire says:

    Barbara insists on garbage pickup

    Go Barbara! I am there also. Paying $15/month for some dudes to come by the house twice per week and grab the stuff we don’t want anymore is so cool! We even have a recycle can for that $15/month so we can feel good about ourselves.

    At my office complex, I am renting an eight cubic yard dumpster that gets dumped twice per week for the princely sum of $251/month (all the taxes and fees included – scum politicians!). No recycle dumpster as that is another $150/month. One of my tenants (the landscaper) is getting ready to add a second dumpster at his cost of $200/month.

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    When I was growing up, we had an incinerator in the basement. It was much like a cast-iron woodstove. There was a chute with a door right next to it, basically just a vertical run of sheet metal duct that went up to doors on the first and second floors. Food waste and other wet garbage went out for collection, but everything else was incinerated, at least in cold weather. When we burned a load in that incinerator it warmed up the basement noticeably. I think there was even an air intake that allowed it to burn cold outside air instead of warm inside air.

    I don’t care what the EPA says. When we relocate, we’ll have a woodstove that burns cut logs and can also burn most of what we now recycle, which is mostly cardboard and some plastic.

  14. Lynn McGuire says:

    My paternal grandparents had a 55 gallon drum in the pasture next to the house. That was their incinerator for non-food stuffs. Food got thrown into the mulch pile in the garden.

    Plastic usually burns smoky. Don’t know how to defeat that without a blower. That said, we should be burning all non-recycled cardboard, paper and plastic.

  15. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Depends on which plastic you’re burning, how high the combustion temperature is, and other factors. In a hot fire with sufficient oxygen, you get very little other than water vapor and CO2. In inefficient burners or at low temperatures (like typical woodstoves) you get lots of particulates and organics.

  16. OFD says:

    “I don’t care what the EPA says.”

    Noted. And filed.

    That three-ring binder in Mordor is now having its data transferred to a hard drive.

  17. SteveF says:

    Also keep in mind that RBT is approaching geezerly status, and in the long-ago days when he was but a lad, they didn’t have endless mountains of plastic to dispose of.

  18. OFD says:

    I also remember those long-ago days and the soder pop bottles, or “tonics,” as we called them in central MA, were glass. I loved those big coolers full of ice-wottuh in the corner variety stores with the Coke and Fanta and Moxie bottles tucked in there.

  19. bgrigg says:

    Mmmm, Orange Crush in brown glass bottles. Those were my favorite.

  20. Chuck W says:

    We lived a more primitive life in East Berlin, primarily because stepson and his father are into primitive living, having a cabin on some kind of generational land in remote Saskatchewan that neither visits anymore. We had 3 wood stoves in the Strausberg house. Although we had cords and cords of wood delivered, they all had to be split to fit into the wood stoves. That may have been something that would not have bothered me 30 years ago when I was stepson’s age, but that is the kind of chit I definitely do NOT want to do anymore. Living in remote areas requires more of that, rather than less.

    Back when my kids were toddlers, I would go to work, spend 8 to 10 hours there, come home and do projects around the house, wifey would go to her evening job; I would feed the kids, give them a bath and put them to bed; then I would move on to cleaning the kitchen, paying the bills, and would still have energy left over for attempts to make more babies when wifey got home. Those days is GONE! I am lucky to get ONE of those things done these days.

    So I want to live as close as possible to everything I need, which is not in the backwoods, but somewhere in a city. The day WILL come when I cannot drive anymore (it has come to every one of my relatives as they get close to 80) and being miles from grocery, doctors, and other of life’s necessities is not going to cut it then.

    I am a city boy, though, having escaped the now not-so-booming metropolis of Tiny Town to the big city with lights in the cornfields and the big 500 mile race track, thanks to my parents, when I was in middle school. And here I am needing to escape it again. I know where I am going, just have to find the property that is suitable. Locating that is the task for this year.

  21. OFD says:

    “I am lucky to get ONE of those things done these days.”

    I know which one I’d want to still have the energy for; the rest of the stuff can go to hell.

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