Wednesday, 10 June 2015

07:33 – If you don’t already have them, you can freely download Matt Bracken’s Enemies Trilogy for Kindle today through Friday. Or you can do as I prefer to do. Download the first one as a free sample. If you like it, wait until the free offer expires and pay for the others. (H/T to OFD)

The latest in the Greek farce is that Greece and the Troika may come to an agreement that allows Greece to pretend a bit longer not to be bankrupt and in default. This agreement, if it comes to pass, won’t help Greece a bit, but of course that’s not the intention. By lending Greece enough to make payments on its existing debts for a while longer, the “institutions” can continue to carry that debt on their balance sheets as good debt rather than writing it off. That provides a political fig leaf to allow Merkel and the rest to pretend to their voters that all is well. All is anything but well.

More work on science kit stuff today.

11:03 – I’ve been doing purchase orders this morning for the stuff we’re running short of, especially stuff that is often backordered. Things like slide sets, thick cavity slides, and so on. I’m trying to keep parts inventory down as much as possible to minimize the amount of stuff we’ll need to move to West Jefferson. The only item I ordered multiple cases of was splash goggles. I ordered three cases of those because they only come 100 to a case. With what we already have on hand, 300 more should be enough to get us through the autumn rush.

Goggles are another of the items that do double duty as prepping items. I’m always surprised by how few preppers keep goggles on hand for everyone. Their use for shooting is obvious. Anyone who’s done a lot of shooting with autoloaders (let alone automatic weapons) has probably been hit in the face by an ejected case at least once. Guns that eject upwards are notorious for this, but even those that eject to the side occasionally throw an empty in your face. I even talked to a guy once who’d taken one in the face from a bottom-ejector. Then there’s always the possibility of a blown primer or split case blowing hot gas and particulates in your face. That’s why I always wear goggles rather than just shooting glasses. Goggles are also essential if it’s very cold outside or if you’re dealing with smoke and particulates from a fire or other event.

21 thoughts on “Wednesday, 10 June 2015”

  1. Greece is home to some of the richest and most powerful people on the planet. Looks as if they are quietly exercising that power.

  2. So the can has been kicked down the European road once again. I wonder how long they can keep doing this, and how long we can. Years, I guess. That gives us time to do stuff, assuming nothing else major blows up or falls apart in the meantime.

    We got the wettest spring on record here in Vermont, they say; it finally stopped raining last night and it’s beeyooteeful today. Wife off on horse patrol stuff; I’m home fiddling around with various things and gotta mow the lawn again. We’ve planted several varieties of pumpkin and squash.

    Off to Maffachufetts on Friday to pick up a car from our son for Princess before son and DIL and grandkids move out to the SF Bay area. Last time we were down there was Xmas; it’s a five-hour drive each way.

  3. I pretty much gave up on learning to code at any appreciable length or depth; it ain’t me, babe; it ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe…

    I’ll know enough to recognize some issues with web site stuff but I’m not gonna bother going much further than that. Too time-consuming, tedious and in the end, like the comic linked to above sez, you still have crap to fix forever. And screw doing it forty-plus hours a week for the usual sorts of ass-hats and PHB manglers.

    And now back to yard work…

  4. I really enjoy programming. The problem is: it’s too expensive. If you can’t make do with something more or less standard, getting something made to order costs a fortune. So, even though it’s the small, agile companies that could really use custom software, it’s only the big, slow companies that can afford it.

    Of course, there’s plenty of work to be done, maintaining existing systems. Someone has to program SAP, update MS Word, etc.. Maintaining existing systems is necessary, but not always enjoyable, as I expect Lynn will confirm.

    Dunno about Chuck and Slim. No news in this case is definitely not good news 🙁

  5. I have been wondering about Chuck since I was in TinyTown a couple of weeks ago.

  6. Well, I seem to be down to a couple gallons of water in the emergency supplies. My wife said the hundred gallons or so that I’d managed to put in the garage* was useless and just cluttering up the place. So it’s gone now.

    I told her that, after I’ve rebuilt some supplies, they’ll be for me and my daughter. She and her mother can do without. She doesn’t care. There never has been an extended power outage and the natural gas and water have never gone out of service, therefore they never will.

    Really, how is prepping — preparing for any kind of problem — to be done in the face of active sabotage? Not only the water, but dipping into the food and medical supplies and toilet paper whenever convenient. And running up debt on a joint home equity account**, which will have to be paid somehow, but she doesn’t have the extra money to pay it off.

    The only thing I can think of is leaving. (Or the more whimsical getting her arrested and deported.) I’ve been resisting that. Suggestions welcome.

    * It’s very difficult to save 2-liter plastic bottles when your wife and mother-in-law throw them away after you’ve rinsed them. We drink a gallon or two of juice per week and I always clean and save the bottles, but have been doing well to retain one bottle per week.

    ** $1250 nicked today, for “extras” for a vacation for everyone in the family except me. Her very well off brother paid for a week’s cruise for them, but there’ll be other expenses which “someone” needs to cover.

  7. @SteveF

    It is a common topic of discussion in the comments at

    Usually it has the genders reversed from your situation.

    In a few cases the non-compliant spouse sees the light when a minor emergency is quickly dealt with out of preps. In at least one case, some alternative media coverage finally got thru to the spouse who begins to see some value in prepping.

    Some are prepping in secret.

    Robbing your preps is a risk for the prepper as well as the non-prepping spouse. I can only suggest thinking of it as rotating supplies.

    The sabotage, well that and the money stuff is pure attention seeking and spitefulness. It won’t be the only area where lack of respect for you finds expression. That is a bad thing.

    I’ve only been married 10 years, but I’ll share what works for us WRT money. It sounds radical, but is very logical. We were both adults, working, with existing households when we married and joined forces. We both have “our” own bank accounts. Our paychecks are deposited into “our” accounts.* We have a 3rd account for joint or household expenses. We each would contribute a set amount to the joint account every month for those joint expenses. She pays for her personal stuff, I pay for mine, each out of “our” account. We use quicken to keep the books, and our spending isn’t secret per se, but I don’t stick my nose in her accounts, and she stays out of mine. It helps that we are both on the same page with credit. We use cards but pay them in full every month. NO consumer credit (financing plans.) We think of our household as a business that we both pay into to fund ongoing operations.

    It works for us.

    *scare quotes on “our” because legally it’s a community property state, so they are all really jointly held.

    [now that I don’t have steady income, my income pays the expenses of my business, but I often don’t make my contribution to the joint account. Being the stay at home dad has some weird moments.]

    I sincerely wish you luck dealing with it. A divided house is a misery.

  8. I hear all that and have experienced similar, as have my two married brothers; honest and open communication has to work, because if it doesn’t, then other options may have to come into play. Our situation got back on track to a large extent due to several bad scares and issues with the IRS, state and banks.

    Not recommending this, per se, but maybe a ‘black flag’ operation of some sort to bring home the concept that this Murkan homeland here ain’t necessarily a giant and endless PX cornucopia that never runs out of anything. Make something run out that causes pain and fear.

  9. @SteveF, sorry to hear that. I take it that she went out to the garage and threw away or destroyed your bottled water. First, that was disrespectful to you. Second, wow, she expended energy to make you unhappy. Not good!

    Are you married to this woman? If so, her being deported is slim and none, especially since you have been married long enough to have a child. If not, then I would not do anything vindictive like reporting her because you may lose your daughter. She can run back to her home country and take your daughter and your chance of seeing her again is not good.

    And running up debt on a joint home equity account**, which will have to be paid somehow, but she doesn’t have the extra money to pay it off.

    I would not have this account anymore. But, my wife is very careful about spending money to the point of punishing herself. And we make enough that we pay off all our cards and bills each month to the point. I am the spender (and the investor) in our family. My wife is so financially constrained that she cannot even stand to pay the bills.

    BTW, we are constantly pulling from the prepping supplies. I stock what we use, toilet paper, water, canned goods, paper towels, toothpaste, etc. Can you get her to help you inventory the supplies? If not, you will need to inventory them your self. This is why I bought two large sets of shelves last week and organized the garage supplies. Now I can easily see our inventory of these items. The only supplies that we do not pull from are the Auguson Farms dehydrated foods and MREs in my side of the closet.

    My wife has ridiculed me several times about prepping. I have told her that is disrespectful to me. We have been through several hurricanes here (me more so) and we both know the effects of these. I have her grudging permission to stock one month of supplies for the entire family (including our son) but I am increasing that amount in secret over time.

    She is still of the opinion that if things get really bad that we can just leave and go to Dallas or Port Lavaca. I have not been able to convince her that if things are really bad then that will be the time that we cannot leave. I bought a cheap potty chair last week and she said that she will leave town first before using it. I am totally amazed that she thinks that she will be able to drive down the road if things get really bad. In fact, she has ridiculed me for running to the gas station before each major storm and filling up all of our vehicles.

  10. Not recommending this, per se, but maybe a ‘black flag’ operation of some sort to bring home the concept that this Murkan homeland here ain’t necessarily a giant and endless PX cornucopia that never runs out of anything. Make something run out that causes pain and fear.

    Very tempting but she will just run to a store and charge it. It is still extremely easy to open credit accounts. And keep them secret.

  11. I’m kinda liking that “it’s disrespectful of me” concept, Mr. Lynn. i.e., to willfully sabotage and negate the measures taken by the ‘man of the house’ (or whichever spouse) to protect and defend the family and property, held in common. Within reason, of course. But youse guys seem to be operating entirely within reason, considering the bad chit that can hit you.

    Financial matters are a real bear, of course; hard to straighten them out if one or the other or both parties are running up accounts in secret.

  12. I’ve always kept a few supplies aside for an earthquake kit. A month or two ago I decided to swap out the food and batteries since it’d been about five years.

    Much to my surprise, when I opened the 55gal container, all the food was GONE. Not so much as a can of beans left! I suspect someone I had watching the house while I was out of the area for work a couple of years back. Oddly the batteries & easily pawnable other stuff (lanterns, stoves, blankets, backpack, etc) were still there. The guy wasn’t really a thief, just really hungry and further down on his luck than I realized I guess.

    So, I’m awaiting RBT’s book, to see what to stash besides beans, soup, and beef-a-toni. I keep another box full of about 40 2L bottles of water.

    Off topic: How to stretch a ‘rubber’ belt? Hoover’s replacements for my fully functional vacuum are slightly small, enough that it breaks in a matter of two or three uses, and undoubtedly will wreck the motor bearings (see the Amazon reviews for the 49258ag). I need maybe 1/8″-1/4″ stretch to make it fit correctly. Boil it, dip it in some kind of acid, microwave it to break some bonds, stretch over a mandrel?

  13. Thanks for the thoughts. Our finances are mostly separate, but there’s a joint home equity line of credit that “can’t” be cancelled unless it’s paid off, and I don’t have the money to pay it off. (We’d gotten it for paying the “family contribution” for Son#1’s college tuition. The interest was much cheaper than the “convenience fee” of paying by installment to the college, and the loan was always paid back well before the next semester.)

    My wife’s not bad about blowing money on shoes or whatever, but things “for the family” just bypass any ability to weigh pros and cons that she normally has. Basement remodeling which no one but she wanted? For the family. $30k gone like that, and the contract was signed without me having anything to do with it. Ditto for, for instance, next week’s vacation. It’s “only a thousand dollars” (rounded down to one significant figure, as always) and it’s “for the family” so why am I even questioning it? -sigh-

    Good suggestion about the obvious disrespect of me and anything I care about. I’ll try throwing that in her face next time something comes up. It’s a better idea than my dad’s suggestion of destroying something of hers every time one of my tools is “misplaced” or damaged. Thanks.

  14. Ed, re stretching belts, non-reinforced belts (ie, plain ol’ synthetic rubber) can be stretched by heating slowly with a hair dryer, installing, and then letting them cool in place. I’ve done it successfully with vacuum cleaner beater drive belts and such. I’m not sure why it works better than just fitting them in place and letting them warm up in the course of flexing. Maybe because they’re being heated evenly, or because they weren’t stretched cold.

    If the belt is fiber reinforced, like a car accessory belt or the drive belt for a cheap snow blower thrower, I think you’re out of luck.

    However, for a vacuum, I’m guessing it’s just plain synthetic rubber and heating should may possibly work.

  15. SteveF wrote:

    “The only thing I can think of is leaving. (Or the more whimsical getting her arrested and deported.) I’ve been resisting that. Suggestions welcome.”

    Steve, if you’re so smart how did you get into the mess in the first place?

    My first suggestion would be to arrange an unfortunate accident for MrsSteveF. Or get someone you know in the Mafia to take care of her.

    Easiest suggestion: just leave, adopt a new identity and stop messing with women. They’re not worth the hassle.

  16. Programming was wonderful, and I loved every minute of it. Especially in Pascal, PL/1, Fortran and assembler. Trouble was by 1999 I wasn’t doing much of it, and got tied down with administrative crap.

  17. “….stop messing with women. They’re not worth the hassle.”

    Thanks for providing the major laugh of the night here; yikes. Living alone for years ain’t that great, either. And shortens yer lifespan, so they say.

    It’s too late, baby, it’s too late…though we really did…try to make it…

  18. “….stop messing with women. They’re not worth the hassle.”

    I wonder what Jenner would say about that.

  19. Thanks SteveF, I’ll try the pre- heating. The broken belt, repurposed as a cat toy, shows no reinforcing fibers.

Comments are closed.