Thursday, 10 July 2014

07:55 – UPS showed up yesterday with an order from Costco, a dehumidifier and a case of canned beef. Barbara hadn’t decided what to have for dinner, so I called her and said I’d make dinner from our emergency food stocks. That always makes her nervous–she doesn’t trust my cooking experiments–but she finally agreed. So I just made a simple casserole with some rice, a can of the beef, a can of beef broth, and a can of corn. It turned out well, as Barbara admitted. The next time I’ll use twice as much rice, which’ll make enough for two meals.

At this point, I’m still spending half my time building and shipping science kits, the second half working on the new AP Chemistry and Earth Science kits, and the third half doing everything else that needs to be done.

11:10 – Do Not Call has become a complete joke. For a while it kind of worked. For the first couple or three years after it went into effect, we got noticeably fewer spam phone calls than we’d been getting. But it’s been getting worse gradually, and recently not so gradually. We’re at the point now where we’re getting 20 or 30 spam phone calls a day, many of them from a vacation scammer who uses Orlando, FL as its caller ID. Enough is enough.

As I said to Barbara last night, I gave up reporting such calls to the FTC. It’s a waste of time because they never do a damn thing to resolve complaints. By this time, there should be a lot of phone spammers sitting in federal prisons. What we really need–and I mean this literally–is for some civic-minded hero to hunt these bastards down and kill them. Maybe someone should start a Kickstarter project to get funding for travel, ammunition, and other incidental expenses. I’d happily contribute and I wouldn’t expect any reward other than reading the news stories about a rash of dead phone spammers.

Last night, I took the extreme step of turning off the ringers on all our phones. Phone spammers hang up without leaving a message about 99.9% of the time. Real callers can just leave a message. I’m trying to get our Panasonic cordless phone system set up to silence ringing but let us hear messages being left on the speakers in the base unit and the phones themselves. So far I haven’t been able to do that, but I think it’s doable.

Barbara suggested just dropping our land-line, which I may end up doing. The only reason we had a land-line was that Barbara wanted it to make sure that her parents could get through to us in an emergency. That’s no longer an issue, so we may just go to cell phones only. The only real problem with that is that our house is down in a hole physically, and cell signals are pretty unreliable. That, and the fact the phone spammers are calling cell numbers more and more often nowadays.

Oh, yeah. To add to my aggravation today, I went downstairs after Barbara left this morning to empty the dehumidifier bucket and found that it hadn’t shut off. There were a couple gallons (~ 8 or 10 liters) of water on the basement floor because the auto-shutoff didn’t work. I looked in the bucket and where I’d expect to find a freely-moving float I found nothing but a rigidly attached piece of white plastic labeled “DO NOT REMOVE”. The manual is useless, so I suppose I should call their tech support line and find out what the problem is. Either that, or just run a hose to outside or to our sump pump.