Sunday, 30 March 2014

By on March 30th, 2014 in personal, science kits

10:17 – I somehow had it in my mind that today was to be a pretty nice day. Not so far. I got back from walking Colin around 09:00. The wind chill was well below freezing, and it was drizzling. I even saw some white stuff floating past, mixed with the cold rain.

Barbara just finished the weekly house cleaning. After her shower, she’ll get started labeling more bottles. I’m still working on the manual for the earth/space science kit. I’m also stubbing out some ideas for an AP Biology/biotechnology kit that I plan to enter in the SPARK Competition late this year, assuming they hold it again for 2015.

24 Comments and discussion on "Sunday, 30 March 2014"

  1. Ray Thompson says:

    Nice day for me. First mowing of the year. Opening the pool on Thursday.

  2. OFD says:


    Here we had some light snow this morning and since then it’s been steady drizzle and sleet and the streams are overflowing their banks; a couple of local ones are now rivers. Pools of standing wottuh in the roads, from the precip and snow melt flowing downhill here. The stream a couple of hundred yahds in front of us, on the other side of the village, is backing up a mile into the cow pastures.

    But we sit high and dry, like the house has been for nearly two centuries.

    Mrs. OFD is now in Richmond, VA for the week. And Daughter should be back in Montreal after a couple of days and a night down here.

    I have successfully got RHEL running on a machine here, complete with net and all the updates, and am now about to install Mint 13 (the LTS version) on a second box. (Anyone else doing this should also dump their MediBuntu repository stuff:

  3. Dave B. says:

    My mother’s memorial service was today. Now I just have to deal with all the fun stuff involved with being the executor of her estate. Like figuring how to apply for an extension for her 2013 Income Taxes. I’m sure my friend the lawyer will know the answer. Actually that’s not true. I’m sure my friend the lawyer’s legal assistant will know. Actually, I shouldn’t complain. As an only child, I’m not just the executor, I’m the sole heir. The inheritance is nothing to sneeze at, but I still have to go to work tomorrow.

  4. OFD says:

    Mint13 would not see the damnable Qualcomm/Atheros ethernet controller, so rather than fuss around with that giant can of worms (for Linux users, and also anyone on any Windows other than 8 and 8.1), I put it back to Fedora 20 and all was good. I’ve about had it with Ubuntu and Canonical anyway, so that did it. Although I may try putting it on yet another spare old laptop here, a Sony Vaio.

    Mrs. OFD is also an only child, and daughter of a widow; I grew up with three brothers and a sister and there would have been at least two more brothers but for my mom’s miscarriages and thus an end to the usual Anglo-Celtic tradition of having as many children as possible.

    Temps here supposed to hit the high fotties and low fifties next couple of days; soon we’ll hear the flood warnings for the area and also across the lake in north-country Vampire State, fah, fah to the noth of SteveF down in the tropical Capital District and the Banana Belt.

  5. Jim B says:

    Getting a filing extension is just a matter of filing a form, but you do have to estimate the taxes and pay any in excess of withholding or previous payments. I suggest consulting a good pro.

  6. Chuck W says:

    Yeah, I second that. I had the lawyer handling the estate do the taxes, because I was not involved in the taxes for my folks at all, prior to their death. My observation has been that the IRS never bothers people who have professionals do their taxes. They are not low-hanging fruit, like those of us who do our own.

    The inheritance is nothing to sneeze at, but I still have to go to work tomorrow.

    My situation exactly. With all said and done, being an orphan, a widower, and the sole surviving heir, has meant keeping me off assistance, but I will be working at something that pays for the foreseeable future. Of my classmates from high school, the only ones retiring completely, are those who inherited a business from their parents and sold it.

    No grass growing here. But we used to travel to St. Louis every year the first weekend of May and they had been mowing grass since April. I never did ours until we got back.

    I should have cut the bushes back today, before the tweeties use it to build nests. They are stupid for building that low, because we have cats in the neighborhood that always upset those nests, so I do not feel bad, but I would be arrested in Berlin for doing that. Not only is it against the law to trim from 1 March on, but there is always a neighbor ready to turn you in.

  7. OFD says:

    “I would be arrested in Berlin for doing that. Not only is it against the law to trim from 28 Feb on, but there is always a neighbor ready to turn you in.”

    Nice. Evidently some Teutonic traditions die hard. Soon we can enjoy more of the same over here. Our very own Stasi.

  8. Chuck W says:

    Finishing up ripping and cataloging the CD of all of Jay Ferguson’s Asylum LP releases from the late ‘70’s. “All Alone in the End Zone” is really a nice work. I am leaving every single track of that in my “Yes” list. Joe Walsh played guitar on that album, which was early in his Eagles’ days, just before “Hotel California”.

    Lotsa work to clean up that CD of 30 tracks. Hardly any track had a clean fadeout, so I had to do it in the WAVE editor. On some, I had to add reverb to the last note, where the ringout was clipped off suddenly. You would think audio techs working as mastering engineers for Rhino would be sharper than me, — but no. Sound quality excellent, but the beginnings and ends were mostly crap. Radio needs super-clean and smooth raw material.

    Ferguson most recently wrote the theme for the TV series “The Office”. When his teen kids (late family man — he is my age) say their dad was the lead singer for Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne, their friends are unimpressed. When they say he also wrote the theme for “The Office”, their friends light up and his kids are modern-day heroes.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    Can we give him an honorary nomination for the Darwin award?

  10. OFD says:

    Yep. Real smooth.

    My favorite Darwin nominees are the two drunk yokels playing catch with a live rattler, and the guy who sat up on a grid tower drinking a sixpack or two of beer and then had to take a whizz, right on the lines.

  11. Lynn McGuire says:

    Rattlesnakes are bad news when pissed off. I used to live in Sweetwater, Texas, home of the spring rattlesnake roundup. People bring in rattlesnakes, around four to six thousand, and pour them into a huge bucket, about ten foot in diameter. Some moron goes wading in the bucket in hip waders and grabs the snakes to milk them and fry them up.

    Anyway, I visited my insurance agent the Monday after the roundup one year. He had a huge bandage on his right hand. He and his buddies went out to their favorite den and caught a few rattlesnakes. They put them in a burlap sack and proceeded to drive home in their single cab pickup. The sack was, yes, in the cab on the floor.

    They were tooling along Interstate 20 at 60 mph and my agent happened to look down and noticed a rattlesnake on his feet. Somebody forgot to tie the burlap sack closed. Yes, my agent was in the middle of the bench seat. His two buddies bailed out their respective doors. He caught a fang on his thumb before he bailed out also. I never did find out what happened to the truck and the snakes (I was coughing trying to keep from laughing).

  12. Lynn McGuire says:

    I would really like to get one of these Intel 240 GB SSD drives for $150 for my home pc:

    I saw the 480 GB SSD drives for $400 temporarily on Friday. Me want for my CRM server!

  13. brad says:

    @DaveB: Good luck and hang in there. I went through this a couple of years ago – Aside from the IRS, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of companies to talk to: credit cards, insurance, utilities, etc.. Most of them helpful, but a few of them seem (GMAC, I’m looking at you) seem to have processes designed to get emotionally distraught heirs to pay money they don’t owe. Make a list, put on your hat of patience, and chug through…

    First mowing here yesterday as well. Unfortunately, it’s also birch blooming season, which I’m allergic to. I’ll enjoy the nice weather more in a couple of weeks…

    Just got a 1TB SSD for my laptop. I use VMs a lot, so I really needed the space. Of course, this meant the usual re-install frenzy, and I’m still finding stuff I forgot.

  14. bgrigg says:

    “Can we give him an honorary nomination for the Darwin award?”

    Um, no we can’t sadly, but it’s just a matter of time for that doofus. In order to qualify for the Darwin award, one must die or be sterilized by their stupidity. He sure came close, though.

  15. Ray Thompson says:

    Aside from the IRS, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of companies to talk to:

    Yep, the idiot companies.

    When my mother died in December of 2013 I flew out when I found out she was in the hospital. She died before I got there.

    Anyway, cleaning out her apartment was a chore. I called the cable company (Charter) and told them to cancel the account and pick up their equipment. Charter said I had to bring the equipment down to their office. I said I did not have time. Charter said that was only way to cancel the account. I said fine, don’t cancel the account as I don’t care. Charter than said if the account was not cancelled and the bill was not paid that Charter would send my mother to collections. I said fine, I don’t care, send her to collections and hung up.

    Almost the same thing with Discover. I called to cancel the account. Could not do that because there was a balance but Discover would deactivate the card. OK, no problem. Then Discover asked who was going to the pay the outstanding balance. I said I don’t know and I don’t care as I guess you will have to write off the balance. Discover then said that they could not do that and unless the account was paid they would send the account to collections and that would ruin my mother’s credit rating. Responding again, fine, send the account to collections as I don’t care.

    While were carrying stuff out of her apartment, which was actually subsidized housing, four black men asked what happened to the nice lady that had the car that was now gone. (We had removed the car immediately to avoid issues). We said she had died and we were cleaning out her apartment. The men asked if they could help and I said sure, a little free labor would be appreciated. Two of them quickly disappeared. The third took a look in the apartment and left. I told the last guy he could have the 32 inch TV (glass tube and heavy). He said great and picked it up. My brother asked if he needed help and he said no and left. My brother then commented he probably knew how to run with the TV.

    We did have one last bill for my aunt. She had dental work done (stupid, but medicaid allowed it) in the amount of about $450.00. She died two weeks later. The dental company never did send a bill. Their practice was 100% involved with treating people in nursing homes, with every treatment being exactly what medicaid allowed with the amount billed exactly to the penny what medicaid allowed. I suspect the dental company knew the chances of getting paid for people that were deceased was almost zero.

    Companies are just annoying when people die. They really don’t understand that the relatives could give a rats ass about the company and the desire of the company. Threatening to ruin the credit of someone who has died or other such behavior is of little value. Those debts are typically unsecured and can only be recovered by going to court to get a judgement against the estate with the cost of getting that judgement costing more than just writing off the debt.

  16. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    My favorite for the Darwin Awards was the guy who was looking for a natural gas leak in a dark basement. He flicked his Bic to light the place up and got more than he bargained for.

  17. Miles_Teg says:

    I tried to get a Darwin Award when I was about 10 or 12. Took the cover off a 240-12 volt train set transformer and started poking around, while it was plugged in and switched on.

    I got a good jolt but wasn’t thrown across the room or otherwise harmed, but it did teach me to be a *little* less stupid.

  18. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I suppose some of the stuff I did as a teenager–synthesizing and detonating reasonably large amounts of nitroglycerin, RDX, PETN, and other high explosives–could qualify me as a Darwin Awards candidate, but I was always extraordinarily careful. I might have been the only 14-year-old on the planet with a serious blast shield in his home lab. Of course, back in 1967 the cops still had a sense of humor about boys playing with explosives.

    As did my parents. I’ll never forget when the American Cyanamid explosives plant blew up when I was 13 or 14. It was several miles from our home, but it was a massive explosion, IIRC something like a thousand tons of high explosive. It rolled a locomotive that had been parked on a siding several hundred meters, end over end. It shook our house and cracked a couple windows. I happened to be working down in my lab. My mother rushed to the top of the basement stairs and shouted down, “Bobby! Stop that!” Heh, heh, heh.

    I loved being blamed for things I hadn’t done, because it made my denials more plausible when I actually had done what I was accused of doing.

  19. OFD says:

    “I loved being blamed for things I hadn’t done, because it made my denials more plausible when I actually had done what I was accused of doing.”

    Ditto. Eventually mine caught on, but it was way too late to do anything about it, much. And then I was sent off to Pharaoh’s armies at seventeen. Harder to get away with stuff there but yes, it can be done.

  20. Mike G. says:


    Seen a lot of WTF with Ethernet drivers in the whitebox/lab VMware world (e.g. Realtek hardware on consumer motherboards). I say, stop messing around and just install an Intel PRO/1000 adapter as they’re nearly always universally supported.


  21. Lynn McGuire says:

    Just got a 1TB SSD for my laptop. I use VMs a lot, so I really needed the space. Of course, this meant the usual re-install frenzy, and I’m still finding stuff I forgot.

    Sweet! What make and model and how much?

  22. SteveF says:

    To win a Darwin Award, the recipient needs to die before reproducing.

    In my twenties I spent the odd evening walking around less reputable sections of large cities, tempting muggers. I’d seen Death Wish and thought, what a great idea! I’d already had a kid, but she’d been killed in a car accident. If I’d been killed hunting muggers, I don’t know if that would have qualified me for a Darwin Award. From almost every perspective it was a stupid hobby. (Except that I really am that good, heh.)

  23. Miles_Teg says:

    “My mother rushed to the top of the basement stairs and shouted down, “Bobby! Stop that!” Heh, heh, heh.”

    Sounds like the time she sprung you and a pal watching pr0n… 🙂

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