Saturday, 10 May 2014

10:23 – Barbara is out planting potted flowers before the rain arrives. I’m doing laundry, shipping kits, and getting ready to build more.

I also just climbed up on the roof to get rid of the spring accumulation of maple seeds and so on in the troughs. This may be the last year I’ll do that. Having vertigo means I can lose my balance without warning, which isn’t a good thing when I’m standing up on the roof. I don’t want to pull a Max McGee. As Harry Callahan said, a man’s got to know his limitations. Next year, I’ll just do the best I can with a rake while standing at the top of the ladder.

I got email yesterday from Netflix announcing that they’re increasing streaming prices from $8 to $9 per month, but only for new customers or those who change their plans. Others are grandfathered in for two years. I still think that Netflix is being too timid, but I suppose they must know what they’re doing. If it were me, I would have doubled the monthly price and announced that I was doing that so that I could afford to greatly increase the number and quality of streaming titles available. In an era of $150/month cable TV bills, I can’t imagine that many people would drop the service if it increased from $8 to $16/month. More likely, they’d drop some of the cable TV options.

Amazon is now streaming a limited selection of old HBO series. As far as I can see, it’s no big deal. Every HBO series I checked on Amazon is pay-per-view. If you want to watch an HBO series, it’s actually cheaper just to sign up for Netflix DVDs than it is to pay per episode or per season on Amazon.

Speaking of expensive streaming, Barbara and I watched the first five seasons of the Canadian series Murdoch Mysteries on Amazon Prime streaming, all at no additional charge. They also have series six, but the only option is to buy episodes or the entire series. I don’t know who Amazon thinks they’re kidding. They charge $4.99 for each 45-minute episode or $58 for the 13-episode series. Give me a break. For comparison, I recently bought the most recent season of Heartland on DVD from Those five discs and 18 episodes cost about $22, including shipping.

28 thoughts on “Saturday, 10 May 2014”

  1. Several weeks ago we had a flick streamed from Amazon for our daughter, which cost me $4. It was very choppy and stopped frequently; a few days later they emailed me and told me they refunded the four bucks because they’d noticed it was a crappy experience.

    I agree with you that Netflix could easily double their prices (I got that same notice) and it would be swell if accordingly they vastly improved their selections. I haven’t been too impressed with them lately on that score.

  2. Before my wife signed up for Netflix, I’d checked it out. I found that without a membership I couldn’t even see what they had to offer. Was that just because I’m using Firefox on Linux rather than IE? Just because I missed a link somewhere?

    If I were considering signing up, I’d want to see that it was worth my money (and my time, generally more valuable). Yah, yah, free trial membership, but you still have to take the time to sign up and they want all sorts of information, including credit card number. Too much BS for the idly curious.

  3. I agree 100%, although most people remember the trivial “..go ahead, make my day..”. However, it is the limitations that could do the most good for people. For example, if followed, 90% of the drivel that we read in blogs would not be present. OTOH, it does exist and that is because 90% do not understand their limitations.

  4. I don’t have vertigo but the creaky old knees and back are sometimes unpredictable now at inconvenient times and places. I’d get up on the roof here very, very carefully or not at all. Probably not at all. And to think I used to rappel outta choppers and chase miscreants and felons through nighttime urban ‘hoods. Tempus fugit.

    What a drag it is…getting old…

    Hopefully smahter and wiser but everything else goes to hell.

  5. Some point you have to face your age and declining abilities. Hire someone for $50 to do it for you. At this point you’re better spending your time to make money to pay others. Ask around and find some one you can trust, make sure your insurance covers casual workers (most do) and just have it done.

    Now to go clean the pool.

  6. “…you have to face your age and declining abilities.”


    Nothing to do on the roof that I know of yet anyway. Maybe some insulation and flooring in the attic, but I can handle that. Hardest work I have lined up is stacking firewood and building the racks for it. I will take that in bits, nice and easy, now that wommuh weathuh is here.

    81 now and sunny wid blue skies; just took an errand run up to Swanton and back, ten miles each way along the inland sea shore; wottuh is right up to summuh camp and house yahds and spraying the buildings. And right up to road on both sides still, just a couple hundred yards from our back door, marsh on one side, lake on the other. Another big rain storm and that road will be cut off.

    Scantily clad nubile young wimmenz was out and about; not facing up to my old age and limitations just yet….

  7. Scantily clad nubile young wimmenz was out and about; not facing up to my old age and limitations just yet….

    Well that might kill you too but at least you’ll be smiling.

  8. Indeed. I only wish they’d scrap the idea that tatts are wicked cool and hot to look at. Ditto metal hanging off their faces. And if their BMI is way outta whack, not to bother.

  9. Some point you have to face your age and declining abilities.

    Fuck that. I have no intention of dying in bed. If my heart gives out because I’m exercizing too hard, that’s fine. If I end up dying because I’m no longer tough enough to handle a group of muggers fun-loving downtrodden youth, even better.

  10. Fuck that. I have no intention of dying in bed.

    Nor do I, but I sure don’t want it to be a swan dive off the roof.

  11. I doubt it would actually be a swan dive; more likely a Buster Keaton slapstick series of frantically clutching at stuff to slow the fall and banging into chit on the way down and then a pile of twisted and broken limbs on the stop. I’d be SOOL here ’cause Mrs. OFD would be in her studio with her headphones on and the Dremel going full-tilt-boogie with the oldies station on the radio likewise; either that or upstairs somewhere on SpaceCrack or moving furniture for the nth time in whichever room.

    Had a laff earlier seeing the various ‘shopped versions of the Mooch with her little Tweet sign about those kidnapped girls in the cesspool that is Nigeria. Best one was lettered with how her “husband” has by far killed more young girls in the world than Boko Haram ever did. You know, the Hope and Change charlatan, who’s ratcheted up the former Bush regimes’ militarism and domestic surveillance by a geometric order of magnitude yet still has worshipers at his altar anyway???

    It’s gonna be interesting to see how the next election charade plays out; will they dump him for the Mooch or HILLARY!? Or will they claim sumthin about ‘national security’ and insist on him remaining for another term? What’s that you say? “What about the Republicans?” Get the fuck outta here.

  12. Not happy about spending my birthday in hospital. Some time during the evening the guy on my left was moved out or discharged and an old bloke who just broke his hip moved in. He doesn’t know where he is or why, or if he has family. This chap knows his name but not much else. He’s having an operation on his hip today, staying in ’till he heals then going home to an empty house. He was so loud and confused at 2 am they ended up putting him somewhere else. One of the other guys in the room is a world champion producer of gas. I don’t want to seem unsympathetic but I just gotta get out of here!

  13. Miles, I still don’t get the ward type rooms. Say what you want about US healthcare but I haven’t seen any one in more than a two person room in the last 30 years. Recently, including myself on my last and only hospital stay, they’ve all been in private rooms. Of course the roughly 40 hours I was there came to a mere $73K. (final actual pay $11K by the ins and $1800 from me).

  14. I don’t remember calling them anything in particular but we used to peel them partly and stick them on our noses. And some cats go nuts jumping up at them.

  15. RBT is always going on about how smart border collies are. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen border collies climb ladders (though they might have had special wide rungs) so all that’s needed is to train El Hound to scoop leaves out of the gutters with a spatula or something.

    Or — and this may just be crazy talk here — get covers for the gutters so they don’t fill with leaves. I put them on my first house, on account of being tired of going up the 40′ ladder at least twice every fall. (I had lots of large, old trees close to my house. Great for shade in the summer, bad for dealing with leaves, and terrible for trying to grow anything in my back yard.) The screen covers cut cleaning down to “Oh, yah, I guess I should check them” every couple years.

    I’ve seen people try to use the leaf blower lash-up. It works if the leaves are dry, but is totally useless if they’re wet.

  16. I can see I’m gonna have to get up there and take a look at ours; we don’t have trees hanging right over the house but they’re close by, and yeah, they cut off most of the sunlight for growing stuff out back. The covers seem like the way to go, though.

    We also gotta replace a bunch of windows, esp. on the second floor, so that’s another item on the four-to-five-page To-Do List.

    And get an electrician in here ASAP.

  17. Next year, I’ll just do the best I can with a rake while standing at the top of the ladder.

    We had our gutters replaced with larger gutters and downspouts that are more resistant to clogging. While doing that I also had screens places over the gutters to protect against intrusion. The stuff has been on there 5 years and I have not had to clean a gutter during that time. You may want to consider such a procedure. My wife used to get pissed as I had a habit of cleaning the gutters when I noticed the gutters were clogged. Generally during a thunderstorm.

  18. Ha. Mine would just make sure my life insurance was paid up, then hand me a metal-handled rake. First wife, that is, when I owned the first house. Current wife… it would probably depend on just how much life insurance I was carrying.

  19. We’ve had the gutter guards for years, and they work fine. I haven’t had to clean gutters since we had them installed. What I’m talking about is the troughs in the roof itself where the roof of the pediment over our front door joins the main roof. Leaves and maple seeds accumulate in those troughs and will actually germinate and start to grow as seedlings if I don’t clear them out.

  20. Gotcha. In that case, it’s definitely a job for the dog.

    However, assuming you can’t get the dog to do a good job, would a roof rake do the trick, or is the angle wrong for approach and drag? (For those of you south of, say, Pennsylvania, roof rakes are draggy things on the end of very long poles, so you can pull the snow off your roof from the safety of the ground. For those of you south of, say, Pennsylvania, snow is the white stuff that happens if it rains when it’s below freezing outside. For those of you south of, say, Pennsylvania, “below freezing” is like when you open your freezer and put your hand in, except it’s like that outside.)

  21. Yes, Border Collies do commonly teach themselves to climb ordinary ladders, but Colin isn’t a good candidate for that. Until he was six months old or so, he was afraid to go up or down the stairs to the basement. He still trips sometimes coming up the stairs at speed.

  22. Yes, Border Collies do commonly teach themselves to climb ordinary ladders, but Colin isn’t a good candidate for that. Until he was six months old or so, he was afraid to go up or down the stairs to the basement. He still trips sometimes coming up the stairs at speed.

    Our mutt is four, and he’s only been in the basement once since we have had him. He’ll take the carpeted stairs to the second floor, but not the uncarpeted ones to the basement.

  23. Some dogs are funny about slippery floors. Our larger mutt is terrified of anything with a shine. Rather than walk, he will lie down on his belly and “swim” – looks totally absurd and doesn’t really work. In the end, we just avoid floors like that, because otherwise you have to carry him.

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