Monday, 30 June 2014

09:32 – We visited Sam’s Club yesterday with Frances and Al, who are members of both Costco and Sam’s. On items that both carry, the prices were very similar, a bit higher or lower, but nothing that would make it worth driving across the street. In this case, literally. The two are within about a quarter mile (400 meters) of each other.

From the appearance of the customers and the cars out in the lot, the two obviously have different customer demographics, albeit with a fair amount of overlap. Costco is mostly middle-class to upper-middle-class customers, while Sam’s is mostly middle-class to lower-middle-class. I did notice that Sam’s staff seemed a lot friendlier than typical WalMart staff, although not nearly as friendly as Costco staff.

At any rate, we ended up filling a shopping cart with mostly canned goods–cases of Campbell’s creamy and chunky soups, canned meats and vegetables, Chef Boyardee, and so on. Barbara also picked up some frozen stuff and a couple gallons of orange juice. The total was only $264, so it wasn’t a big run.

If Frances is willing to take us, we may try visiting the other Sam’s Club in town, which is much closer to us. But I think Barbara and I are agreed that we probably won’t bother joining. We get most of what we need at Costco, and Frances said we were welcome to meet them at Sam’s any time we wanted to do a run there.

11:24 – The guy just showed up to replace our garage doors. The existing ones are uninsulated single-layer steel, and have been there since not long after we moved into this house in 1987. The new ones are also steel, but two-layer with a layer of R10 insulation between them.

We got two quotes, the first from Costco and the second from the company that replaced one of the openers a couple years ago. The two quotes were within $50 of each other, straddling $1,700 including tax. The Costco contractor was going to replace the tracks. The second guy said he could replace the tracks if we wanted but the existing ones were perfectly good, and in fact were better than new tracks, which are made of lighter-gauge steel. The second contractor also showed us the difference between the hardware they used and the hardware the Costco contractor would use. The second guy’s hinges and rollers were significantly better, and the opener they planned to install was also heavier duty. So we went with the second contractor for $50 or so more.

Supposedly it’ll take three or four hours for the installation. Colin is outraged at what he hears going on down there, and I suspect I won’t get much done until late this afternoon.

77 thoughts on “Monday, 30 June 2014”

  1. How is it that my Samsung Smartphone battery — just over a year old — is failing, while my iPod battery, which is over 10 years old, shows no signs of any problems at all? I use both of them every day, although granted, the Smartphone is on 24/7, whereas the iPod is on for only an hour or so these days (it was on for over 3 hours a day in Berlin for 5 years and had to be charged every other night).

  2. I had a Samsung phone battery fail in about 6 months. Phone replaced by AT&T with a similar model of Samsung.

    Current Samsung phone, Galaxy SII Skyrocket, Android, model has original battery going after 2 1/2 years.

    My speculative conjecture is that the batteries are subject to random failures as are most products. (Well, except for Yugos.)

  3. But wait, there’s more….. it was circuitry in the phone, not the battery.

    Do not buy new battery. Go back to the phone store.

    Gotta’ go….back later with more history.

  4. Chuck, I found that I had inadvertently enabled Bluetooth on my phone and that drastically shortened the battery life. Now I’m back to just having to charge it overnight.

  5. I found that I had inadvertently enabled Bluetooth on my phone

    I have bluetooth and wireless enabled all the time on my phone. My device will last a couple of days before needing a charge. I don’t talk much, maybe an hour a day. Rest is texting. I play music from my phone to my bluetooth speaker and also use the bluetooth in my vehicle.

  6. Battery life seems to vary wildly, based on phone model, running services, and the mood your local gremlins are in. My original Nexus S used to go about 1-1/2 days on a charge (and I used it a lot). Then, after some minor update, it was down to 1/2 day or less. I thought it was the battery, but a new one didn’t help. A few months later, after a series of updates, it was back up to around a day per charge.

    On my current Nexus 5, I pretty reliably get a day – but wifi and bluetooth definitely reduce that, and location services reduces it a lot. I have the suspicion that, in addition to GPS, it is spending a lot of time looking for local wi-fi networks and pinging cell-phone towers.

    Still, the main power eater is the display. I really wish they had a more fine-grained, easy-to-use brightness control. The Kindle App almost gets it right: Continuous brightness control anytime, using two fingers in parallel – but you still can’t dim it enough to be comfortable in a dark room.

  7. My experience is that push notifications seem to be the biggest battery hog. Apps continually checking in to see if any new information needs to received. Wifi and Bluetooth don’t seem to have nearly as big an effect on my iPhone 5.

    Battery life seems to vary wildly, based on phone model, running services, and the mood your local gremlins are in

    I tend to agree. Not to mention how the device is orientated in your pocket. What works for one person does not work for the next.

  8. Here’s a Detroit woman who can’t pay her water bill. Water’s been off for 6 weeks. Guess she can’t give up her other vices to pay for agua. Her and 1,000s of others answer is “just give us free water because this isn’t Africa.” lol Detroit is dead. Soon nobody will pay local taxes and there will be NO city services. Obummer to the rescue!

    In other water news, Las Vegas may run out of water in the 2030’s. Should I stay, or run for the hills by Mr. OFD. I think I’ll stay and wait for President for Life Obummer to bail Vegas out. Thanks other tax payers.

  9. Chief Supreme Dope Roberts has ruled with Hobby Lobby in the birth control case. Thanks, Roberts, for foisting ObummerCare on us and now ruling against it. Geez! He could have saved us a lot of grief by not saying “it’s a tax, not a penalty” like the libs have said forever.

    Then 5-4 saying you don’t have to pay union dues. Are corrupt unions now dead? I hope so. Must be something in Mordor’s water. The libturd justices voted against all this of course. Justice Dope Ginsburg cackling how the Hobby Lobby ruling is a war on women and will cause more Obummercare cases. Yes, please.

  10. Would it feasible for Frances and Al to add you to their Sam’s account? I don’t know about personal type cards, but for business accounts, an extra $45 will get you a card. I do that with two widows of ex-employees, and used to do so with family members.

  11. Oh, I think it’s only $45 for a basic membership, and Barbara says they periodically have promotions at work that let employees join Sam’s or Costco at a discount or for free. It’s more that I don’t like WalMart/Sam’s business practices and the way they treat their employees.

    Speaking of business practices, I just checked my receipt from yesterday. We bought four ten-packs of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, which the Sam’s website says was supposed to be $8.28 per pack at our local store. That was also the price shown in the store aisle when I picked up the four packs. They charged us $9.48 per pack. I should probably report them, but for $6 it’s just not worth my time.

  12. OK, here is my cellphone saga:
    1. Phone would not hold charge and I suspected battery,
    2. Back to the AT&T store as it was about 6 months on a two year contract (free phone contract),
    3. Store said 2 year service contract Ts and Cs allowed replacement in first 3 months, but after that it was call 800 service for RMA to send back,
    4. Rather than be without phone for a period, I searched for new battery,
    6. Bought the far cheaper generic instead of Samsung branded,
    7. Quickly realized it was not battery but charging circuitry in phone,
    8. Called 800 service and they wanted to send battery as replacement,
    9. Told script reader that I had already done that in order to hurry process along,
    10. Script reader inquired as to battery brand, Samsung or other,
    11. HUGE MISTAKE ….. I did not lie,
    12. Script said I was dead meat as I voided warranty with non-Samsung battery IAW warranty Ts and Cs,
    13. OK, here is what worked and may help you,
    14. Told reader that such was totally, unconditionally and completely unacceptable to me,
    15. The non-OEM battery did NOT destroy my phone as it quit working with the OEM in it,
    15. For the remaining 18 months I was neither paying $40 a month with a non-working phone nor was I buy a $200 phone for the phony list price of $400,
    16. We need to understand that the reader can never, ever vary from the script.
    17. Remember that consumer advocates always suggest going up to the manager,
    18. Also realize that the manager will not reverse himself in response to a perceived threat,
    19. Consequently, I had to reveal my plan to the reader then ask for manager,
    20. I was going back to the store and express my disappointment in their advice that the service dept would help me but didn’t, and I would not be whispering and if I was overheard by other customers, oh well, and I would bring my flashlight branded Everready on the outside with Duracells on the inside and ask “why does this still work?”,
    21. Then I asked for manager and was told he just stepped out for a minute and would be right back and talk to me,
    22. I accepted this as a lie as he was briefing the mgr right there as I hung on,
    23. Mgr got on phone and told me that they would make a ONE time exception and send me a replacement phone immediately
    24. I received a reconditioned, similar level model the following day.

    Who is a self-taught expert in dealing with 800 number script readers.

  13. Well, I actually suspect the battery in this case, as the situation has slowly gotten progressively worse, not quickly so. Up until a few months ago, a charge would last me 3 days with about an hour of talk time every day. It progressively fell to needing charged overnight, and is now lasting only a few hours after being taken off the charger, talk or no. It is a Samsung Galaxy S3. I am happy with that phone. Have seen the S5’s, and they are significantly thicker and heavier than my S3. S3 works well for all my needs, so I sure hope this is just the battery.

    BTW, I bought a Bluetooth phone system for the house just days after getting the S3, so I have wireless phones in 3 rooms that connect via the Bluetooth, but even with that enabled 24/7 and me using Bluetooth in the car, I still got 2 to 3 days from one charge until things began slowly deteriorating a few months ago. I disabled GPS temporarily a week ago, and that made no difference whatever. The company store (Sprint) that I always dealt with, closed suddenly, so I have to locate another one. Dealt once with a franchised store and those people are nuts!

  14. “CowboySlim
    Who is a self-taught expert in dealing with 800 number script readers.”

    There’s no reason for it, it’s just our policy.

  15. “Should I stay, or run for the hills by Mr. OFD.”

    Run for the hills, MrAtoz, run for the hills. Seriously.

  16. So, their long-term solution is to drain 27 billion gallons per year of fossil water from an aquifer that probably took 10,000 years if not 100,000 to fill?

    It seems to me that there’s a free-market solution to this problem. Simply increase the cost of water until the amount being used is sustainable. If that means an average residential water bill is $1,000/month, so be it.

    I agree with Dave. I’d never consider relocating to most growing areas of the West simply because the water is not and never can be sufficient to support the population that’s there already. Barbara and I considered the Montana/Alberta border area, but only because it’s very unlikely to suffer a big population boom. Sure, thousands of people are moving to oil/gas-rich areas, but thousands is not millions.

    One thing I like about where we are is that our water supply will be sufficient for the foreseeable future no matter what. A few years ago, near the end of a years-long severe drought, Winston-Salem had no water supply concerns. We get our water from the Yadkin River, which was at its lowest point in recorded history but still high enough to supply Winston-Salem using only a small fraction of its flow. The situation was very different 30 miles east of us in Greensboro, which depends on reservoirs that had nearly run dry. Winston-Salem ended up selling water to Greensboro through an 8″ or 12″ pipe that they laid down on an emergency basis. But that was processed water rather than raw water from the Yadkin River. I don’t think our city fathers wanted even to hint that Greensboro could get Yadkin River water directly.

  17. The Murkan Southwest is destined by history, demographics and a quisling regime that regards our national sovereignty as null and void, to become Aztlan, the vast desert home of millions of Latino and indigneous peoples. I don’t think any of the big cities out there will last, and frankly, not many municipalities above say 5-10k in the long run. That aquifer is dwindling; it’s above my pay grade to hazard a guess as to when it goes dry or at least to the state that water can’t be reliably taken from it anymore but that day is coming. There may be Yankee bastards in the northern states with long memories who then advise the southwesterners to drink their precious oil. I would not be one of them, however; it’s gonna be a deadly serious business.

    No way in hell would I still be living near Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Denver or Las Vegas, the last of which is most definitively an artificial city on a desert wasteland; it may as well be on Mars. Frankly I worry that we’re still too close to the northern end of the eastern Megalopolis (five hours to Boston, probably seven or eight to NYC and about an hour-and-a-quarter to Montreal, a city of two-million in the metro proper and four-million total in the immediate area. It is not a strategic target, however, and any swarms of refugee zombies heading south toward us must cross a Siberian-type wasteland in the winter and a bunch of rivers and streams anyway.

    Any invading zombies are likely to bypass us here anyway; we have zip as it is. Nothing worth taking, unless they’re starving and they can manage raw corn. Lakeside summuh homes will have long since been looted by local yokels by then, who are my main concern now, let alone when the balloon goes up. My worries will center on the denizens of the subsidized housing near us for starters, and some similar types scattered in certain areas around town. Outside zombies from Megalopolis are more likely gonna be shot to shit long before they get up this far and/or run outta gas or the ability to get any more from non-functioning pumps.

    But the big cities will be death traps.

  18. Chuck,

    Your assessment of battery sounds likely. Mine just wouldn’t boot-up one day. It was more of a sudden death rather than extended run-down.

  19. Doesn’t matter where you are, the zombies or the nationwide blackout will affect you:

    The question is, are you prepared for “the event”? I would say that the minimum duration of the event could easily be a month. I doubt that it will last a year without being permanent. Things you need:
    1. a month of food for all people and pets in house
    2. a month of water ” ” ”
    3. a month of food for your neighbors, your fellow blackouters and potential apocalypse survivors
    4. a month of water ” ” ”
    5. two guns per person in the house with a minimum of five guns
    6. 10,000 rounds of ammo for the aforementioned guns
    7. a bug out plan if things get really, really, really bad
    8. transportation for a month with zero public transportation

    I can go on forever on this subject after reading

  20. Agreed to all above but make it three months, or for us up here, six; i.e., a long, cold, bitter winter with heavy snow, ice storms, and zero juice. That is what we’re working toward. Things will have to get wicked bad for us to leave here and if so, we’d head for the distant north Maritimes. More likely we’d die in a hail of bullets, artillery fire and bombs. Also, it’s a long-ass drive up there, about twelve hours; and a journey on foot would probably be too much for us now at our age, esp. in winter. We’re good so fah on 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8.

    OFD having flashbacks just now; WSJ nooz update on my iPhone tells me that CINC Barry Soetero is sending 200 more troops to the Baghdad airport and embassy; yours truly did this rodeo before in Pnomh Penh in early ’75. There were corpses all over the landscape, in some places stacked to over my head. Place had stunk before and now it was beyond belief. Khmer Rouge had the countryside and surrounded the city and were moving on the airport, embassies and Presidential Palace; U.S. civvies and Cambodian officials were bailing fast. Me and the boyz went in with Marines and FACs to do ground support for airlifts. Coupla months later a Marine pal of me and my next-younger brother was doing that same caper off the Saigon embassy roof.

  21. We probably have at least 12 person-months of food at this point, along with a few hundred liters of bottled water. Unfortunately, I lost all of our guns in the river. As far as ammunition, I have only 5 or 10 rounds per gun-that-I-used-to-have, other than 5.56, 7.62×51, .22 LR, .357, .44, .45, and 12 gauge, which I have a bit more of.

    On #5 and #6, are you counting .22 LR?

  22. On #5 and #6, are you counting .22 LR?

    You better believe it. You will bleed out quickly with a dozen .22 LR distributed around the body. Of course, the .22 LR in the temple is very deadly as many people going for a ride in the country with the local mafia guys have found out.

    Except for these subsonic .22 LR cartridges that I have been seeing lately with just a primer and no powder in the case. I am not sure that those are lethal.

  23. I live over the Ogallala Aquifer and next to the Missouri River and Platte River. So, I don’t sweat water supply too much here in Nebraska. When we have water restrictions in hot dry years it’s usually a result of insufficient pumping capacity more so than insufficient water reserves.

    I suppose the biggest threat we have are stubborn farmers that would rather drain everything dry than admit their land is too arid to farm economically. The region may be in some cyclical-500 year drought, but dammit, their grandfather successfully farmed that land so they will too!

  24. RE: .22

    Every time someone starts ranting about how “you can stop shit with a .22” and how you might as well be using a pellet gun. I just respond with something smartass like “Go stand over there and let me shoot you with a .22. No? Then shut the fuck up.” 🙂 It’s not my preferred caliber, but I wouldn’t consider it non-lethal.

  25. Run for the hills, MrAtoz, run for the hills. Seriously.

    My own plan is to wait for the “Mr. Fusion” home reactors GE is coming out with in a couple of years. Then the BLM can stop the turbines at the dam and let it fill up over the years.

    Seriously, when I met my wife at Fort Leavenworth (no we weren’t in the hoosegow) she got a house in the divorce in Leavenworth. Dipship ex didn’t think it was worth it. We’ve kept it rented for almost 20 years. A retired E-8 has a property management company that has taken good care of it and rented it above the mortgage. Two stories with a completely finished basement with living room, bedroom, bath, office. Plenty of water from the misery river, ponds, streams, farm land, seasons, game. We would probably move there if the shit hits the fan in Vegas. Cold and snowy in the Winter. I’m a warm weather bird now, even being raised in Rhinelander, WI.

  26. Actually, the .22 LR is a pretty lethal round. No stopping power to speak of other than psychological, but it’s a killer. Just ask an ER doc if he’d rather be gut-shot with, say, a .45 ACP or a .22 LR. Most of them would pick the .45. A .22 penetrates and then bounces around, chewing up the guts instead of just punching a hole.

    For a lot of people, cost is an issue, both of the gun and the ammunition. For $225 or so one can buy a Marlin Model 60 .22 autoloader and a thousand rounds. A few bucks more spent on tubing and plugs lets you build speed loaders that’ll let you reload the Model 60 about as fast as changing magazines. If I had $2,500 to spend on equipping a small group, I’d much rather have 10 of those Model 60’s and 15,000 rounds than three or four Mini-14’s or whatever. For people who already have serious fighting rifles and shotguns, it makes sense to pick up a few (or a bunch of) Model 60’s and a couple or three bricks for each, if only to pass out to unarmed friends.

  27. Well, our Lord and Savior, Obummer, has announced he will take unilateral action this Summer to *fix* the immigration system. Laws be damned. Will Congress have the balls to do anything. Yawn. I hear his latest plan is to send all *immigrants* to the Northern Vermont area. Plenty of space for them. And water.

  28. They won’t last long up here; once Ol’ Man Wintuh kicks in good and hard. And the wottuh will be frozen.

  29. Lots of bad news today. The kidnapped Israeli teens were found murdered. Somebody is going to pay. Obummer will probably send Lurch to give a speech. Israel should just blow a gasket and get it over with in the Middle East. While Lurch is there, no great loss.

  30. For $225 or so one can buy a Marlin Model 60 .22 autoloader and a thousand rounds

    I vastly prefer the Ruger 10-22 rifle for its 10 to 50 cartridge magazine. To me, the magazine is just awesome and well worth the small additional cost over the Marlin.

    Good luck on those .22 LR cartridges. None around here for sale that I know of.

  31. In addition to being vastly superior to harsh words, the .22 round is fairly effective as bringing down rodents, birds, etc. If push comes to shove, a ‘protein’ rifle and or shotgun in 410 and cache of ammo could be worth its weight in gold. For that matter, some basic fishing equipment could help quite a bit. Given the very large body of water less than two kilometers from me, that’s always a consideration.

  32. Guess she can’t give up her other vices to pay for agua.

    She could cut back on the groceries and have a lot of money left to pay for water.

  33. The butterball in Detroit might cut back on payments to her manicurist (or whoever it is that puts fake nails on you). And to her tattoo artist. Might cut back on the grocery bill while she’s at it.

    I was to guess, though, I’d guess that the LAT article is not slanted toward personal responsibility in household finances. No, I’m sure that water is a human right, and if that means that someone else has to pay for it, that’s fine. If you have money and can pay, it’s your duty, so that those in need have their needs met.

  34. “The kidnapped Israeli teens were found murdered.”

    By whom would be the operative question; has anyone taken “credit” yet? Otherwise I do not for a nanosecond put it past the Israeli bastards (and I also say the Arabs and “Palestinians” are bastards, too) to murder them and blame it on the latter. A pox on them all over there; why we care a whit about any of it is beyond me, well, not really; I know why; the tiny percentage of the population here that is of the same religions and the fundie Prod maniacs who can’t wait for the Rapture and Armageddon. We need to get out of there completely yesterday.

    The tub of lard in Detroit, a failed “state” if ever there was one, is only the tip of the lard iceberg there; apparently the indigneous (indignant?) population feels they have no need to pay for any services and should get them free of charge, and furthermore they’re pissed that they have to live in squalor and should also have nice houses and cars.

    SteveF just confided to me in an email that he’s prepared to “tithe” an amount each week to the beleaguered citizens of that fair city so that they may enjoy the same luxurious standard of living that he and I possess, starting with paying the current wottuh bill of Thumposaurus there before she has a stroke bitching about it.

  35. so that those in need have their needs met.

    so that those that want have their demands met.

    Fixed it for you.

  36. An evil twin…a doppelganger, as the Germans have called it. I am myself the doppleganger of another guy who lives and works up here (seriously) with the same name (no, not OFD, the other one) and who is about the same height and build with the same hair color, glasses and facial hair. He’s a field director or sumthin with the Green Mountain Club and has been doing that line of work at least as long as we’ve lived here; used to get wrong numbers from folks looking for him and I assume he got them, too. Never met him, though. Someday, ’cause Mrs. OFD and I used to hike around more and we will be getting back into that and membership in the club.

    “so that those in need have their needs met.”

    “…so that those that want have their demands met.”

    So that half the country pays for the upkeep and life of Reilly for the other half while the One Percent yuk it up and squeeze us for even more. It’s pretty much the same division here between those who are outraged over what has happened to the country and those who are outraged at our outrage.

    This is potentially a recipe down the road for another civil war, of course.

  37. When they finish that giant “straw” under Lake Mead, I wonder how long before the dam turbines cavtitate. We’ll have water but no power. lol gummit planners can’t think past five years or so.

    Leavenworth here I come. Maybe I’ll get a HAM license and call you up Mr. OFD. Of course if the water and power hold for 20 years I probably won’t give a shit at 79. Or I’ll be living on Mars or something.

  38. I just pulled a dead rat out from under the fridge. I think that he was dead for about a week or so. The smell is unbelievable. This makes number three.

  39. Did you notice that the woman in Detroit is “studying homeland security at a local college”. I am not sure what I find most frightening about that:

    – That it is possible to study “homeland security”

    – That colleges now offer programs to teach you how to work for DHS/TSA

    – That this woman might be put into a position of responsibility in “homeland security”

  40. Did you notice that the woman in Detroit is “studying homeland security at a local college”.

    That is just another program to get them free money from the feds. The feds pay for their tuition, books and a living allowance. There is absolutely no chance the student will actually work for the feds. The school gets money they would not have gotten, the student gets money they would not have gotten.

    Wonderful system. All under the umbrella of trying to help people move up to a better life. Problem is the students do not want to move up in life. They want the government to keep handing them money, food and a place to live with all utilities paid. Their only contribution to society is …………., well, nothing.

  41. “I just pulled a dead rat out from under the fridge.”

    That is not good. In your climate the cadavers go bad real fast, number one, and number two, they’ll attract snakes. Get a good mouser cat or two, problem solved. Or a dog from the terrier family. Ditto.

    “That this woman might be put into a position of responsibility in “homeland security””

    Like she’d be any worse than the “professionals” who are in there now? Or the known hadji radicals that work in critical positions? Thanks, Barry!

    If and when everything blows up, her and her ilk won’t last long; but of course neither will the tens of millions of high skool and college grads living in the large standard metropolitan statistical areas, i.e., Megalopolis, whether on the east coast, west coast, TX, or Midwest. I’d expect most of the semi-tropical southern states along the Gulf, plus Kalifornia, to revert to Third World cesspools in record time.

    80s, very humid, and lots of skeeters here. Another 20 degrees plus the July 4th firecrackers and we’ll be back to Flashback City again!

  42. I may end up stuck in the Winston-Salem area, at least for a while. At first, Barbara seemed enthusiastic about moving up to the Montana/Alberta border area. Then she decided that was too far, and we talked about relocating up to the Boone area in the NC mountains. Now she’s decided that’s too far from her sister and friends, so we’re talking about relocating up towards the Pilot Mountain area, which is only a 30-minute drive from our house, give or take. I want a small- to medium-size town like Boone because I want things like fast broadband, municipal water and sewer, and so on. I don’t mind Costco being a one-hour drive each way. So I don’t know what we’ll do. Right now, I’m kind of favoring the idea of keeping our main residence where we are and buying a weekend/vacation place up toward Boone, with the idea of eventually moving up there full time. I’ll see what Barbara thinks of that.

  43. “lots of skeeters here”

    So, do you (or someone you know…) know how to synthesize DEET?

  44. Good idea on keeping the main residence and “trying out” a potential retreat area, while keeping in mind that time may be of the essence. Also, it is a challenge dealing with the distances from family members and friends, and usually on the part of the females in the families; this is why my siblings down in MA are probably stuck there; their wives will simply not countenance any distant moves away from aging parents and their own siblings, period. Also the distance from stores and shopping and entertainment venues, which they just evidently cannot give up, ever. I hope they do not end up regretting their “decision” to stay down there. Not even a decision, just the easiest thing to do and they do not have the ability to face unpleasant facts, as Orwell described it.

    “So, do you (or someone you know…) know how to synthesize DEET?”

    I think I remember seeing something on here about that a while ago but of course have forgotten it; I don’t like putting goop on myself but last night we were semi-desperate; so we used those “OFF!” wipes, which aren’t too bad for smell and stickiness and that did the trick. I went out after dark to take something off the grill and it’s under the back door light and I got attacked viciously and relentlessly; flashbacks! And they got in the house, too; we have a really waterlogged landscape here, with lots of standing water around and I have seen zero evidence of any gummint-type trucks going around spraying yet.

  45. Hmmm. Sounds like you need some DDT, too. Oh, wait. The government won’t let you have that.

    Sometimes I wish I believed in Hell, so that I could hope Rachel Carson was rotting in it. She was responsible for killing a lot more people than Hitler and Stalin did, combined.

  46. Is DEET banned too?

    A genetics lecturer at uni said losing DDT wasn’t that bad as the bugs were developing a major degree of resistance to it.

    OFD, aren’t there some special bulbs that repel bugs?

  47. Those bulbs just do not attract them, they do not actually repel them.

    Now that you mention it, I have seen very few of those little vampires this year. Cannot recall getting a single bite, and I often sit on the porch as it approaches dark. Also, I usually put in a day of work, then mow the grass after the sun has vanished from the yard. No bites from that, either.

    The main reason I have Tiny House to deal with, is that my parents decided — after full retirement — to return to their birthplace, where my mom’s sister still lived. My dad’s siblings were long gone, but he wanted my mom to be close to her sister for their remaining years. As a result, I am back in Tiny Town about which my memories are dim, because we moved to Indy after primary school, and I really consider that to be my hometown where I was reared.

    Also, I am quite clear that my physical abilities are not what they once were, just 10 years ago. I am not going to move anywhere even slightly remote from shopping and health services — if they are within walking distance, so much the better. Plus, while most of you still have a live-in partner to look after you when ill, I no longer do. Consider what it would be like to live in Montana by one’s self, if the spouse died. Sharing the work makes for an easier life, but doing it all by one’s self ain’t no picnic, I can attest. Especially when the docs prescribe some procedure like the cardioversion they did to me, where they want someone to watch you for 48 hours afterwards. My aunt and uncle were up to that when it happened, but since then, aunt passed last summer, and uncle is now in assisted living and can no longer drive to pick me up at the hospital, like he did back then.

    One place I have looked is a neighborhood in my alma mater’s town of 85,000, which is 4 blocks from groceries (more than one) and 6 blocks from the city’s hospital. The neighborhood was once on the edge of town and farming with many big old houses, turned into slums as the city grew, but is now part of the yuppification of near-downtown but still has not fully recovered from slum property values. That looks like my most attractive alternative at the moment. Neighborhood is quite safe these days, even though it was once on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’. Those tracks do not even exist anymore.

  48. “I just pulled a dead rat out from under the fridge.”

    That is not good. In your climate the cadavers go bad real fast, number one, and number two, they’ll attract snakes. Get a good mouser cat or two, problem solved. Or a dog from the terrier family. Ditto.

    We had a good mouser but she passed away two years ago at the age of 17 years. She used to catch them outside and bring them inside to our bathroom for execution. Her executions would have made the British happy as they were long and very bloody.

    Our 15 lb white Siamese male does not have a clue about how to catch rats. I was trying to get a rat out from under the fridge a couple of years ago and all of a sudden he ran from under the fridge to the washing machine. The cat and I just stood there watching this rat run away at about 50 mph. I would have sworn the cat said, “whoa dude, did you see that?” instead of chasing it.

    No, my preferred means of dealing with a rat is a glue trap (only works once and then the others learn) and bait traps:

    They do not learn about the bait traps like they do about the glue traps. And the box is about 8 inches by 5 inches so a dog or cat cannot get in there and eat the warfarin.

  49. Which reminds me that I have a metal cage-like trap in the stuff we left here at my folks’ house when moving to Berlin. Worked very well for one of our basement apartments in Boston, but apparently they are hard to come by these days. Took the captured mice down the north Boston Fellsway a few miles and let it go in the deep part of the woods. Oddly, most of them did not want to leave the cage when opened. Guess they understood they were on the dole in the house, but on their own in the woods. Our cats were only mildly interested in the vermin but just plain refused to catch them indoors.

  50. They do not learn about the bait traps like they do about the glue traps.

    Problem with bait traps is that the creatures crawl off somewhere and die. Usually in a location that is not easily accessible but is still good enough to fill the human living spaces with a foul odor.

    Our cats were only mildly interested in the vermin but just plain refused to catch them indoors.

    We had many cats on the farm that were strictly for pest control. We fed them, but not much. That kept their interest up in catching their own food. When we would reach the bottom of a stack of oat hay it was quite funny to watch the cats gather and pounce on anything that moved when a bale of oat hay was moved. Sometimes many mice would scurry away, few made it very far.

    One of my jobs that I hated was to climb into the high rafters of the barn and attack pigeon nests. It was in the summer when it was hot, little hay in the barn and thus a significant fall opportunity. I would find nests with pigeon chicks, little to no feathers on them, and toss the chicks to the waiting cats. The cats loved them. Pigeon mcNuggets with no feathers to spit out. I would then destroy the nest.

    Good mouser cats are quite good at their job and will easily teach their offspring.

    About every couple of years we would have to thin the cat herd. They were wild cats and could not be caught. So I would get my trusty .22 and get to work picking off cats. We kept about 10 cats and would thin the herd when the number got to 25. I would take the dead cats, dump them in the front end loader, and haul them off to a remote part of the property to bury.

  51. That was a very special and poignant childhood on the farm for you back then, wasn’t it….jeezum.

    One of our cats, the young male, has disappeared. I took a couple of walk-abouts round the ‘hood here but zero sign of him, no cadaver on the roads, nothing. Possible he roamed out of range, I guess, or that he got hit and bounced way off into the bushes somewhere, or a raptor got him. Or a fisher, for that matter. Leaving us with the big male and the older female, who are smart enough to stay on the immediate premises, house, yard and perimeter and who do not venture out onto the streets. And the young female who is as dumb as bag of rocks, so I dunno how long she’ll last. The two adults are regular and proficient rodent- and bird-killers, though. Also amphibians. If it ain’t another cat, wait, scratch that, no other cats allowed; if it ain’t a dog or human, it is not allowed to live on the property as far as they’re concerned.

    I was telling wife about the relatively new breed of Savannah cats; they run about 20-30 pounds, sometimes 40, and look like young leopards. A cross between a Siamese and a serval, they can jump eight feet straight up in the air, and open cabinets, doors and drawers, and be trained to operate on a leash and to dog-like commands. But very affectionate and happy little guys. One of these would be able to take on the larger mammals that infest our ‘hood; the neighbors’ yappy mutts; the old fart that walks his high-strung nut-ball English Springer Spaniel or whatever it is up and down the street and lets it crap and pee on our lawns but complains about our dogs to the town animal control officer and waves his stick at them and swears; and the screeching small children over in the park. Maybe we could train it to take out the goddamned motorhead cycle riders who love to wind out around the curve here and rev their engines throughout.

    Chuck has a good point about trying to function alone as we age in a location; it’s been done, but it is not easy; he knows more about it than me but I’ve had a taste of it for the last five years as Mrs. OFD has been gone a week or two or three every month and even when I was working a pile of stuff still had to get done at home. If one is sick or injured, it is all that much the harder, esp. if isolated out there somewhere.

    Probably better to be hooked up well in a local ‘hood or community where people keep an eye out for each other and it’s a quick jaunt via foot or public trans to needed businesses and services. And those of us who are still more or less fit and functional are gonna have to take on the responsibility of keeping an eye out for our neighbors who are vulnerable in this way. We know who they are around us here and have been doing so during winter storms and suchlike and we’ll be trying to get better at that and stay in better touch accordingly.

  52. They were wild cats and could not be caught. So I would get my trusty .22 and get to work picking off cats.

    Mr. Ray. Pioneer Man!!!

  53. Air attacks by Israel, but UN more concerned about welfare queens in Detroit having to pay their water bill. Obummer should send Lurch to Detroit in a “blue helmet” to give a speech. Or at least have Heinz Ketchup/Catsup pay the bill. Maybe sail his yacht there.

  54. Lurch, a.k.a. “Liveshot,” a.k.a. “The Ketchup Heir,” a.k.a. “Vinegar John,” owns at least one whole island and other property in the Elizabeth Islands, as he is part of the Forbes family, i.e. “John Forbes Kerry.” Here is some fun history:

    I think this stuff is way more interesting than his bullshit excellent adventures with the brown-water Navy back in ‘Nam.

    Israel probably got those kids killed and is now launching attacks all over the area, which they had intended to do anyway. They suck. A pox on them and the Palestinians, Arabs and all the hadji bastards. They thoroughly deserve each other.

  55. Mr. Ray. Pioneer Man!!!

    I got to be a pretty good shot with rifle. I could hit a cat reliably at 50 yards and put them down with a single shot. A few times the first shot did not quite work and I would have to chase them down and finish them off with a close range shot to the head. A couple of times they managed to get under the barn where they would bleed out as it took time to crawl under the wood floor and get to them.

    That was a very special and poignant childhood on the farm for you back then, wasn’t it….jeezum.

    Relative to the rest of my childhood those would be counted as the good times. Living with a physically, emotionally and sexually abusive aunt and uncle was not pleasant. Spent many a night hiding in the barn to avoid going into the house until after everyone was asleep. Dinner had usually been missed so I scrounged the icebox for leftovers. Or I would hide at the neighbors and let them feed me.

    This was the ’60s and no one would believe a young whipper snapper over the word of an adult. So I just endured. I suspect the neighbors knew something was wrong but did not know what to do.

    I do know that when I went back to visit the area and spent time with the neighbors I told them what had been going on. They said had they fully known they would have let me live with them. But that would have been a real Hatfields and McCoys type of situation.

    I survived. Took me many dozens of years before I could talk about all the issues. But I am now OK with talking about it. I have zero sympathy for those that blame their current life problems on a bad childhood. That is a copout for just being an idiot.

  56. Jeezum Crow; I lived the life of Reilly; got smacked around a few times at home and skool but BFD, probably not enough.

    In recent discussions at the VA with various entities, however, it is worth considering as one hits one’s sixties and reflects back on family life and childhood that one was raised by a PTSD-affected combat vet dad and two grandfathers, ditto. Where displaying emotions is a bad thing and violence is often a good way to fix stuff, also a trait of our wonderful Anglo-Celtic-Norse DNA and heritage. And one is also raised and instructed from high school on in a vastly male-oriented culture, from the sports teams through the military and the cop jobs and then on into IT. The few times I spent mostly in women-oriented settings, like grad school and teaching, I was very uncomfortable and felt like I was walking on eggshells all the time.

    Well, whatever, a lotta funny chit happens in life and we, most of us, try to make the best of it. I also survived, the childhood taken wholesale from northwestern European seafaring tribal stuff, apparently, but modified for 1950s-1960s Murkan Northeast ‘burbs; the excellent adventures with Uncle; the street cop capers; and now two marriages. We must be here for something really special, eh?

  57. Chuck W, I looked high and low for your post about Mint KDE Samba networking, but didn’t find it. Could you have posted it somewhere else?

    I also looked in general, but all I found were statements of problems similar to mine, with no workable solutions.

    I actually have the most trouble logging between Linux boxes, not Linux-Windows or Windows-Windows. It’s NOT a permissions thing: I just can’t see the share. Interestingly, my Android phone can see everything using the ES file manager. I used to think I understood networking, but obviously not any more.

  58. Cats and mice. Our older cat came from a farm, where her mother was a professional mouser. Now she’s pretty much decided to retire, but for many years she reliably caught and ate one mouse per day. We knew this, because she always ate the mouse on the doormat, and left the stomach.

    Our newest cat is from a pure housecat family. When we allowed her out here, it wasn’t more than a couple of days before she caught her first mouse. Great toys! They squeek and move themselves! Of course, poor quality, they break after only a little playing, so you’d have to go catch another. It’s hard to say how many she catches, but probably 3-4 per day – no parental instruction required.

    I eventually decided to show her that dead toys are edible, by smearing some liverwurst on one. Since then, she also eats them. But only the field mice – the others apparently don’t taste good.

  59. Thanks OFD and Chuck W. I just didn’t look back far enough.

    I was out of town all day, and it is late, but I will look into this tomorrow.

    Just glanced at your links. Looks like the problems described are between Windows and Linux. My problem started when I put the new Mint 17 installation on the network. I couldn’t browse between Mint 17 and Mint 14, both KDE. At first, I still could browse and log Windows shares from Mint 14, but not Mint 17, which seemed to point to Mint 17’s configuration. Also, my Android phone could log and copy files to and from Windows and Mint 14, but couldn’t see Mint 17 at all. Then, I lost the ability to go between Mint 14 and Windows, at which point I had to move on and get some other things done.

    Something clearly changed, and it might not be related to any of the computers. I will have to check my network equipment.

    As I said before, I once thought I understood networking basics. Now, I am not sure of anything. It would seem the only change I made was adding the Mint 17 box, but maybe that was a coincidence. I remember Jerry Pournelle writing about his complex setup, and how one day everything stopped working. He said it took him some hours and lots of power cycling, but finally everything sorted out and stayed good. Patience!

  60. brad, cats are funny about hunting and eating. Our present cat started life feral, but tamed quickly, and has been a great companion for almost twelve years. He hunts and catches, but mostly in the spring time. He always eats his prey, except for the stomach. Although he could catch larger jackrabbits, he seems to only catch something of a size he can eat without leaving any leftovers.

    We had a previous cat who adopted us. He caught and ate at least one rodent (mouse, rat, bunny, or ground squirrel) almost every day. He also caught and left us a trophy almost every day. It was dead, but looked as if a taxidermist had preserved it. I used to inspect the trophies, but never found any sign of how he did it. I needed some forensic pathologist skills! All I can figure is that he used a neck bite, but there was no blood.

    Many years ago, we had two collie mix dogs. Not sure which one, but I would occasionally find a mouse in their yard. It looked as if it had been licked to death. Again, with no signs of blood or other injury.

    All I know is that I wouldn’t want to live as a mouse in this world!!

  61. I am just double-checking, and I think that network fix came before I upgraded from Mint 15 to 17, because the software manager says I do not presently have winbind installed.

    My problem was exclusively communicating with Windows. No problem in Mint 17, as I can see Linux, Mac’s, and Windows on all the networks I need to access (which — if it makes any difference — are all accessed via wireless, not Ethernet plugs). When I was having my problems, one guy in a help forum, kept repeating that if you have problems with Windows, it is 99% likely the problem lies with the Windows computer, because Linux implements networking properly, whereas Windows uses kludges, and then he quoted a couple (which I do not remember).

    Also, this workgroup concept that Windows uses should not make a difference to browsing in either Linux or Windows — but people everywhere say it does in Windows: all Windows computers need to be in the same workgroup to insure browsability.

    I have no idea why things work with the XP computer right now because I made many changes all at once and who knows if or which fixed it, but because XP support is gone, I turned off the M$ virus protection (which is also no longer updated) and the associated firewall.

    That computer will soon be completely decommissioned. In spite of my early complaints about Mint 17, I like it as an upgrade out of XP. My early problems had to be because — as Brad pointed out — it was only a release candidate when I installed it. The twice or three times daily updates have solved a lot of problems and are down to one every other day now. I see the Mint website no longer refers to 17 as a “candidate”. My only complaints at present are that dialogs still do not show which is the default choice that will be activated if I press ‘enter’, the software manager no longer has the nifty progress bar for each item’s download when you activate ‘details’, and file manager nemo often appears locked up when I do things across the network, but gives me no indication whatever that anything is actually going on. Network access is not great in nemo, but no other file manager I have tried will automatically mount network locations I am trying to access.

  62. Thanks, Chuck.

    I just did some reconfiguring, and now things are different. No point in going into details; I will just have to sort it out, and will try some of your link’s suggestions. FWIW, I fixed Mint 14 KDE a long time ago, and worked well; but it seems to have changed when I added the Mint 17 KDE computer: it can see the Mint 17 computer and itself, but no longer can see the Windows computers. The Mint 17 KDE computer with an up to date clean install can’t even see itself. That should be a starting point. I also installed Mint 16 Cinnamon a few weeks ago (gone now – didn’t like Cinnamon,) and it worked OK. Its file manager seemed better at file sharing than the Dolphin file manager that comes with the KDE distros. Maybe I’ll try it, but I want to make only one change at a time.

    BTW, the only Wi-Fi here is for the Android phones, and it works OK. All desktop and notebook computers have Gigabit Ethernet. That has been anvil-reliable. Can’t say as much for Wi-Fi on the one Linux notebook computer, although Ethernet works fine on it with no changes.

    Meanwhile, the Windows computers can see and work with each other, and both of the Mint computers, but have permission problems with them. When I said I thought I understood networking, that applied to Windows computers. When I had Windows exclusively, all computers always worked with each other, except one time when I had a hardware failure. Any time I made a change, I just gave Windows a minute or two, and all of them talked to each other quickly and reliably.

    I really want to make Linux work, and have been generally impressed with the OS. I decided a while ago to try to use it exclusively. That hasn’t been going so well, mostly because of the apps. Now my (patient) wife has announced she wants a Windows notebook to work with her new Swiss sewing machine. Gah! You should see the proprietary nature of that. Of course, this will derail my plan to eliminate Windows. Like Bob, some things just require Windows, and not running in a VM. I think this sweing machine software still requires an old fashioned USB hardware dongle with Windows 7 (not yet 8.) I thought we were making progress. Sometimes I want to be a Luddite.

  63. Same here. And same rock/anvil reliability with hardwired machines in the house. Wireless hasn’t been too great here, partly because of the location.

    We are for the moment condemned to having at least one Windows box in the building.

    Also finally got word, after my prodding for the past six weeks, that the jobs previously posted back at Big Blue are no longer open. So that’s kaput. Didn’t say why so I replied with the question as to whether they had been filled or because the place is being shut down and sold off. Probably to GlobalFoundries, which is owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhubai. We’re looking at possibly another 4,000 people outta work shortly in this area and at least two towns are likely to become ghost towns, like the ones out in the Midwest. This is gonna be an interesting next few years.

  64. Sorry to hear that. My past contact with IBM’ers is that the company has always been anxious to hire back former employees if they were not fired for cause. But things must really be desperate there, now.

    Of course, when the proverbial excrement meets the rotating pitched blades, you may still get a call. Equipment does not fix itself, nor does software install itself.

  65. What’s funny, Chuck, is that in the over a year since I’ve been gone, along with the other three members of our RHEL cluster data center team for all of VT and NY, I have puzzled greatly over just who was taking care of several hundred racked RHEL servers and the network that runs between them. Sure, a bunch of it can be done remotely, but our gig was 80% hardware-related and hands-on inside those data centers.

    Here’s some bile-inducing stuff: They got rid of me first, what the hell, only two years there as contractor scum. Then the very next day they dumped another guy who’d worked for IBM for thirty years before but was now contract scum, too. A month or two later they dumped the team lead, who’d been at Big Blue for eighteen years and knew those clusters from scratch. When he left they gave his responsibilities to the newest contract scum hire, who had ZERO experience with RHEL clusters and was a bit flaky to boot. I heard from him recently; he immediately landed another gig locally with a better title, and told me that when they dumped the team lead’s stuff on him “…it was insane, to say the least.” So he’s got another nice IT job; the other guy had to move down to NY to get another job for the same contract outfit with IBM sites way down there, and the team lead is now “reading law” which you can do in this state and will probably take the bar exam in another year or two.

    Meanwhile I’m halfway to a RHEL cert, have a home lab set up for it, and my thumb up my ass.

    But you’re right; I also registered myself on the corporate site (owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhubai) with my creds, ’cause so far as I know, all that equipment is still sitting there; maybe they got security patches and upgrades done remotely but buttons still have to be pushed and servers still need to go in and out of racks and be replaced or have power supplies swapped or motherboards or RAM or whatever, plus all the internal network stuff we did ourselves.

    My big plan is to work something or other in IT that will help pay the bills here for the next couple of years as I transition into something else, but shit, I may have to just transition and forget IT at this point, or very soon.

  66. Well, they cannot be relying on that cluster to be active, if they have not got people there on location to service it. Like you say, there is only so much one can do remotely.

    Plenty of IT work out here, but it ain’t beloved New England in any way, shape, or form. The people who work at the law firms really love it, because it’s 9 to 5, no weekends or holidays, and seldom emergencies. One thing that has changed over the years, is that with building security what it is these days, all the law firms close up and the lawyers leave by 18:00. Back when I was much younger and my dad was a lawyer, that was not the case; people burned the midnight oil at the firms. No more. Apparently, you no longer have to.

    You might want to check that out. Would involve supporting VPN’s and Smartphones. I do not know anybody who has left a law firm IT job in the 5 years I have been back here. I deal with the same guys (and gals) today, that I did when I first started doing the video work for lawyers.

    University IT has big needs, too, and plenty of benefits.

  67. I worked IT for a medium-sized law firm part-time during grad skool in 1990 and it was DEC microVAXen, too, but it was run by a matriarchy and sucked.

    I see IT jobs at colleges and universities up here but again it’s matriarchies running things without knowing squat about IT and the frosting on the cake is the super-PC atmosphere penetrating every single activity there and the delirious worship of Diversity, etc., etc. They take one look at me walking in and guaranteed there will be no job offer. They want girly-men and metrosexuals they can boss around and humiliate.

    I have no idea what is being done with several dozen large RHEL clusters now or in the past fourteen months; if no one has been in there doing hw stuff, there must be hundreds of servers needing attention by now. Are the new owners gonna pull them out and move them to somewhere else in the world? Surplus and scrap ’em? Each server was a couple of grand, at least, as sold by IBM, plus all the peripheral stuff and networking hw and sw and licenses. They even dumped the crew that was surplusing legacy machines not long after they got rid of me. Four large data centers filled with dozens of racks, each filled with an average of a hundred servers.

  68. Hmm. I could use a rack full of servers. And I figure that unmaintained hardware is the same thing as abandoned hardware, which is as good as saying they don’t want it anymore.

    girly-men and metrosexuals

    Some category overlap may be observed.

  69. Law firms are not matriarchs around here. Wimmens is secretaries or paralegals — a very few are lawyers, and those that are do not have their names over the entrance. All office managers of the big firms I know are male — usually one of the partners.

    Same at my alma mater in IT, although the university space manager is a wumman, giving us fits over the campus radio station which we alumni still oversee and protect. A federally licensed radio station has rules to abide by, and is not made up of just chairs, tables, and chalkboards like classrooms and offices. We is learning her as we move to a new location.

  70. If I only cared about finding an IT job in a law firm or college, I guess I’d have to move to the Tiny Town area. But it’s too flat, hot, and the only smaht person there is Chuck, so far as I know and he’s gone all the time. ‘Cause here in northern New England, PC has taken over and there is more than a little touch of deja vu about it for those of us who know the region’s cultural history and who have Puritan ancestors.

    I’ll see, MrSteveF, if Big Blue or whomever, dumps those server racks out in the parking lots or sumthin and be sure to grab some of them for ya. DEC did that back in the day, believe it or not, machines that still ran perfectly. Left them out in a big field in the weather and they were there for years. Hobbyists would scrounge for parts; I knew one of my former crew had a yard full of that stuff.

  71. OFD wrote:

    “But you’re right; I also registered myself on the corporate site (owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhubai) with my creds, ’cause so far as I know, all that equipment is still sitting there; maybe they got security patches and upgrades done remotely…”

    Back in the early Eighties the department I was in leased time on another organisation’s Cyber mainframe (we had Cybers too, but needed more capacity.) This other organisation wasn’t very up-to-date with it’s security patches, and our lead NOS/BE system programmer tried to warn them. They repeatedly ignored him so he ran a user level job on their system that changed the System Label to “There’s a hole in your system”. Every job log had this on it, and they quickly applied the required update to prevent a recurrence. But the boss was persona non gratia from then on.

    The moral of this story is that maybe you can expose the outfit who fired you to some ridicule…

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