Wednesday, 16 September 2015

08:56 – This is the time of year when I’m interrupt-driven. Someone orders a full forensic science kit, FK01A+B+C, and I’m down to just one of the FK01C kits in stock. Better build more. I could go a week or a month before I get another FK01C order, but someone could order ten of them tomorrow. My inventory records show I have enough of the components in stock to build 18 more, so I head downstairs to build those 18. It turns out I have 18 of everything I need except Modified Griess Reagent Part A, of which I actually have only 4. No idea where the other 14 went. So I make up a liter of Modified Griess Reagent Part A, which is enough to fill 33 bottles. Fill those, print out 33 labels, and label the bottles. Back to the assembly table, where I make up and bag the 18 FK01C kits. And now I’m down to zero stock on everything I need to build more FK01C kits than the 18 I now have on hand. On to the next thing we’re short on.

Until a week or so ago, I thought we were in decent shape on the CK01B chemistry kits. Those normally sell in pretty small numbers. The larger and more expensive CK01A chemistry kits usually outsell the CK01B kits by about 10 to 1. But we’ve had a flood of orders for CK01B kits, including three this morning. So I guess I’d better put together another dozen or two CK01B chemical bags. Oh, wait. I just found a bin full of those downstairs. Turns out I built those bags Monday and had completely forgotten doing so. It’s no wonder that my inventory gets completely screwed up this time of year. When I’m building batches of 30 of one type, it’s easy to keep the inventory updated. When I’m interrupt-driven, stuff falls through the cracks and comes back to bite me later.


10:53 – Sometimes, for whatever reason, one leaves oneself unprepared for something that’s important, in which case one just does the best one can and hopes for the best.

By this time, we’d hoped to be at least preparing to move up to the mountains, but it hasn’t worked out that way. With colder weather on the horizon, I’m concerned about heat. If we have a power failure, we can heat the house with our natural gas logs and our natural gas water heater will continue to work. Natural gas is the least likely utility to fail, so I’m not overly concerned, but it’s still at the back of my mind.

If the natural gas did fail for some reason, we could use the wood-burning fireplace downstairs. The problem with that is we have very little firewood. If we were up in the mountains, I’d have ordered a couple or three cords delivered, but for obvious reasons I don’t want to do that while we’re still in Winston-Salem.

Our next fallback is the catalytic propane heater, which is safe to run indoors and will suffice to keep one room at a livable temperature. Counting the 20-pound propane cannisters, we have enough propane to keep that heater running for a couple weeks. Barbara is taking a vacation day tomorrow to run errands, and one of her stops is to fill a new 20-pound propane cannister we bought at Costco. If we did suffer a natural gas outage, the first thing we’d do once it became obvious that the problem was severe is drive over to the Walgreen’s a mile or so from here and load up on Blue Rhino propane cannisters while there were still some to be had.

49 thoughts on “Wednesday, 16 September 2015”

  1. Only weeks after leaving office on January 20, 2017, former President Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Troy the Plumber to come out and fix it.

    Troy drives to President Obama’s new house, which is located in a very exclusive, gated community near Chicago, where all the residents have a net income of way more than $250,000 per year.

    Troy arrives and takes his tools into the house. He is led to the guest bathroom that contains the leaky pipe under the sink. Troy assesses the problem and tells Obama that it’s an easy repair, that will take less than 10 minutes. Obama asks Troy how much it will cost. Troy checks his rate chart and says, “$9,500.”

    “What?! $9,500?!” Obama asks, stunned, “But you said it’s an easy repair. Michelle will whip me if I pay a plumber that much!”

    Troy says, “Yes, but what I do is charge those who make more than $250,000 per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for free. This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all plumbers must do business this way. It’s known as the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014’. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it.”

    In spite of that, Obama tells Troy there’s no way he’s paying that much for a small plumbing repair, so Troy leaves. Obama spends the next hour flipping through the phone book calling for another plumber, but he finds that all other plumbing businesses in the area have gone out of business. Not wanting to pay Troy’s price, Obama does nothing and the leak goes un-repaired for several more days. A week later the leak is so bad President Obama has had to put a bucket under the sink.

    Michelle is not happy as she has Oprah and guests arriving the next morning. The bucket fills up quickly and has to be emptied every hour, and there’s a risk the room will flood, so Obama calls Troy and pleads with him to return. Troy goes back to Obama’s house, looks at the leaky pipe, checks his new rate chart and says, “Let’s see, this will now cost you $21,000.”

    Obama quickly fires back, “What? A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!”

    Troy explains, “Well, because of the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ a lot of wealthier people are learning how to maintain and take care of their own plumbing, so there are fewer payers in the plumbing exchanges. As a result, the price I have to charge wealthy people like you keeps rising. Not only that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work by those who get it for free has skyrocketed! There’s a long waiting list of those who need repairs, but the amount we get doesn’t cover our costs, especially paperwork and record-keeping. This unfortunately has put a lot of my fellow plumbers out of business, they’re not being replaced, and nobody is going into the plumbing business because they know they can’t make any money at it. I’m hurting too, all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won’t pay their ‘fair share’. On the other hand, why didn’t you buy plumbing insurance last December? If you had bought plumbing insurance available under the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ all this would have been covered by your policy.”

    “You mean I wouldn’t have to pay anything to have you fix my plumbing problem?” asks Obama.

    “Well, not exactly,” replies Troy. “You would have had to buy the insurance before the deadline, which has passed now. And, because you’re rich, you would have had to pay $34,000 in premiums, which would have given you a ‘silver’ plan, and then, since this would have been your first repair, you would have to pay up to the $21,000 deductible, and anything over that would have a $7,500 co-pay, and then there’s the mandatory maintenance program, which is covered up to 17.5%, so there are some costs involved. Nothing is for free.”

    “WHAT?!” exclaims Obama. “Why so much for a puny sink leak?!”

    With a bland look, Troy replies, “Well, paperwork, mostly, like I said. And the internal cost of the program itself. You don’t think a program of this complexity and scope can run itself, do you? Besides, there are millions of folks with lower incomes than you, even many in the ‘middle class’, who qualify for subsidies that people like you must support. That’s why they call it the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’! Only people who don’t make much money can afford it. If you want affordable plumbing, you’ll have to give away most of what you have accumulated and cut your and Michelle’s income by about 90%. Then you can qualify to GET your ‘Fair Share’ instead of GIVING it.”

    “But who would pass a crazy act like the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’?!” exclaims the exasperated Obama.

    After a sigh, Troy replies, “Congress … because they didn’t read it.”

    This will help you understand Obamacare …. And here you have it, the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014’. What a marvelous explanation this is, although somebody spent an awful lot of time thinking this one up!!! …………..

  2. A cute story but I think it’s a bit more venal and evil than that; it can’t simply be ascribed to gummint incompetence, inefficiency and stupidity. The whole enchilada was in prototype form during the reign of Cankles’s husband, Larry Klinton, back in the day, and the latest incarnation has been assembled in ramshackle fashion with malice aforethought. As RBT has said several times, and I agree, they plan to smoosh all the funds, retirements, Medicare, Medicaid, SS, private pension plans, IRA’s, etc., into one big superfund, out of which they’ll allegedly take from the rich and give to the poor a la Robin Hood in Days of Yore. I go a step further and predict they’ll simply loot it mercilessly until it’s all gone.

    We’re well on the way, as a corporate fascist oligarchy, to becoming a Turd World “banana republic.” We’ll eventually BEG on our knees for law and order and handouts. Just the way they want us.

  3. I paid our first $1,200 Obamacare monthly premium a few minutes ago. Isn’t that special?

    I’m thinking I should just give up, go on welfare and have the government give me everything. Either that, or kill a bunch of progs.

  4. We’ll eventually BEG on our knees for law and order and handouts. Just the way they want us.

    Maybe so, but they won’t be the ones in control by then. I wonder if anyone is keeping a detailed list of the names and addresses of federal politicians and bureaucrats. That might come in handy.

  5. Think about the fact that Presidents can pardon ANYONE and get scared. I read a book about 10 years ago where a new President got elected on the platform of a blanket pardon for anyone killing a prog politician. The author had open season on SCOTUS, the Senate, the House, and thousands of local progs for 12 months.

  6. “I wonder if anyone is keeping a detailed list of the names and addresses of federal politicians and bureaucrats.

    Yes. And individual states, counties, cities and towns. Easy enough to compile via the wonders of the innernet these days. And maybe a bit of shoe leather.

    “The author had open season on SCOTUS, the Senate, the House, and thousands of local progs for 12 months.”

    O Happy Day!

  7. RBT: Just for comparison’s sake, how much did the insurance for you and the Mrs. cost when she was getting it via her job? And I’m interested in the total premiums paid, by both employer & employee. (I’m presuming that she did so. If not, in whatever way your health insurance was provided.)

  8. I wanna just pause for a brief little minute and recall how it was when a lot of us had regular jobs with various organizations, including the corporate world, and our medical and dental insurance was covered and we also had life insurance and retirement plans. I even got regular bonus checks when I was still at EDS as of 1998.

    Those halcyon days of yesteryear.

    A lost world.

    THOSE were the good ol’ days; it’s been downhill since then.

    Although some might argue, including me, that it’s been downhill since the Glorious Sixties, or the 1947 national security state putsch, or the War of Northern Aggression, the Mexican War, or the secret proceedings at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

    Maybe since the Protestant Reformation!

  9. Maybe so, but they won’t be the ones in control by then. I wonder if anyone is keeping a detailed list of the names and addresses of federal politicians and bureaucrats. That might come in handy.

    Get to your knitting Madame DeFarge

  10. “Natural gas is the least likely utility to fail”

    Yes, but FEMA might have plans to shut off gas in emergencies. While this might make sense in an earthquake, it makes little sense in areas where earthquakes are not likely. However, FEMA is national in scope, and tends to apply one rule everywhere. Although I couldn’t find any reference to this plan, it probably exists.

    Another concern about nat gas is that once, long ago, it didn’t require electric power to stay in service. Wanna bet that now that computers control almost everything, the gas might go off if power is off?

    Your plans about propane are very wise. A neighbor has a 1000 gallon propane tank he has never used for his house. He keeps it full just in case.

  11. “The author had open season on SCOTUS, the Senate, the House, and thousands of local progs for 12 months.”

    Twelve MONTHS?! I’d think it’d take a few days to get all but the most elusive. They might last a couple of weeks.

  12. “THOSE were the good ol’ days; it’s been downhill since then.”

    I have a friend who was fond of saying, “Remember, THESE are the good old days.” That was forty years ago. He doesn’t say that much any more. When I asked him why, he just rolled his eyes.

  13. @pcb_duffer

    I don’t remember, but the firm was paying most of it. They are overhauling their health insurance for 2016 and onward, going to what amounts to Obamacare with an HSA, so this would’ve been the last year for a decent plan anyway.

  14. One of the homes we looked at up in the mountains had oil-fired hot water heat as primary, with propane as secondary and a woodstove capable of heating the entire house as tertiary. That’s the kind of redundancy I want.

  15. I’d like that redundancy, too, only in reverse. We have the woodstove and our secondary is regular ol’ oil heat. Now to build a propane capability, and even Mrs. OFD is interested in wind and solar, but I told her that neither seemed likely to help us much in this location and would cost too much in outlays. I figure the wood, oil and propane will do us.

    “I’d think it’d take a few days to get all but the most elusive. They might last a couple of weeks.”

    With the lists in hand, it might only take a few days. The really elusive will have long since left the country anyway, but like the saying goes, they can run but they can’t hide.

  16. I see the UN has condemned Hungary in the “strongest possible terms”. What they hell does the UN expect them to do? I think they’re showing great restraint. I’d have machine gun emplacements every few hundred meters with orders to fire without warning on anyone attempting to breach the fence. A few thousand dead invaders might discourage the rest. If not, Hungary can afford the ammo. Doesn’t the Hungarian AF have any cluster bombs?

    Too bad the Camp of the Saints scenario didn’t play out. If it had, Europe would have been full of hardworking, smart Indian hindus, who are not known for liking muslims.

  17. “Camp of the Saints,” writ large and still coming.

    “…the vast majority of those arriving in Croatia are unlikely to stay, preferring instead to travel on to neighbouring Slovenia and Austria, with a view to eventually reaching Germany or Scandinavia.”

    Sure, rich liberal welfare states. Like France. And the U.K. And what has been the result when those countries took in these swarms over the past decades??

    Gotta say, the Daily Mail, Russia Today and Al-Jazeera have the best pics and vids. Our media suck.

  18. “Natural gas is the least likely utility to fail”

    Yes, but FEMA might have plans to shut off gas in emergencies. While this might make sense in an earthquake, it makes little sense in areas where earthquakes are not likely. However, FEMA is national in scope, and tends to apply one rule everywhere. Although I couldn’t find any reference to this plan, it probably exists.

    Another concern about nat gas is that once, long ago, it didn’t require electric power to stay in service. Wanna bet that now that computers control almost everything, the gas might go off if power is off?

    Oh, it is much worse than that. The EPA has not licensed a natural gas fired gas turbine compressor drive in 30 years in metropolitan areas. So, all compressors, large and small, in metropolitan areas use electric motor drives. Guess what happens during blackouts? We experienced that in the Houston metropolitan area during the rotating blackouts in Texas. The natural gas pressure sagged and they almost had to shutdown several power plants that are natural gas fired only.

  19. If we did suffer a natural gas outage, the first thing we’d do once it became obvious that the problem was severe is drive over to the Walgreen’s a mile or so from here and load up on Blue Rhino propane cannisters while there were still some to be had.

    Most Sam’s Clubs have a propane dispensing machine at the entrance where they are selling refilled 20 lb canisters to anyone for $46. The swap amount is $18 if I remember right. It is a machine that takes your credit card, no Sam’s card required.

  20. “I paid our first $1,200 Obamacare monthly premium a few minutes ago. Isn’t that special?

    I’m thinking I should just give up, go on welfare and have the government give me everything. Either that, or kill a bunch of progs.”

    You could migrate to Australia.

    I’m about to pay my AU$2200 *yearly* private health insurance premium…

  21. And more fun economic nooz:

    “The debt contraction, heralded by the carnage in commodities, will be much more sever than a 10 percent correction. Debt is interlinked—one entity’s debt is another’s asset—and once it begins to unravel significantly, (housing and mortgage finance in 2008, commodities and emerging markets laden with almost $10 trillion in dollar-denominated debt in 2015) it creates a chain reaction of further unraveling. In 2008 it was stopped only by huge infusions of government and central bank debt and transferring private debt to public balance sheets. The 2008 measures forestalled, but will not prevent, an ultimate reckoning. Total world debt has grown, central banks’ balance sheets are engorged, interest rates are about as low as they can go, and governments are running into financing and political constraints on deficit financing. Against his backdrop, whether or not one central bank raises one interest rate all of 25 basis points will be treated—after whatever market spasms the decision elicits—as the irrelevancy that it is.”

    http://straightlinelogic.com/2015/09/16/who-cares-by-robert-gore/

  22. So I am curious. How do you guys keep organized? I have work stuff, the usual honey do list, prepping stuff and others. If I kept a paper to do list for each thing, I would spent my day thumbing through to do lists. I hate Outlook. Any one willing to suggest a good way to keep track of my list of to do lists?

  23. “Is there a good way to keep track of my lists of to do lists?”

    I have Evernote on the PC and the iPhone. Know what I use? Lots of little folded papers, often folded in quarters and eighths, in various pockets, usually. Written out with a ballpoint pen, sometimes I highlight stuff. It’s laughable in that I seem to barely make a dent in the ambitious and optimistic lists I make for myself. Wife has a much more hectic life than me and does it all out of her head.

  24. All they have to do is make it to Mexico on south. Then on to “the good life” in Amerika. Land of Milk and Honey, Obolacare, free chit galore, new house, car, spending money, Obolaphone, etc. We can count on Kankles to tax us to death for their votes and citizenship.

  25. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet, in regard to taxes and liberties taken from us. Not to mention any supposed or alleged retirement funds.

    I think what it’s coming down to is a race against the clock: can we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters) hang on long enough until the regime finally implodes and collapses?

  26. I’ll sleep well tonight knowing Dr. Bob funded a couple of crimmigrant’s healthcare today. 🙁

  27. I’ll sleep well tonight knowing Dr. Bob funded a couple of crimmigrant’s healthcare today. 🙁

    You forgot their food stamps and AFDC for all of their illegitimate kids.

  28. More taxes or more debt. Same thing. Federal government debt fuels the hidden tax of inflation. Something has to break eventually. It’s why Trump can say things that get him support from the middle class. “They took our jobs!” Pure populist BS. I’m lookin’ fer that chicken in my pot, and to be great again.
    It wasn’t that many years ago a democratic governor of California was recalled, mostly for raising vehicle registration fees beyond reason. California, home of the unbreakable Prop. 13 (property tax reform). Every attempt to bypass it fails no matter how hard democrats and the labor unions try.

    for wonks from elsewhere east of the land of fruits and nuts that might be interested
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/dan-walters/article35133240.html

  29. @dave, that presupposes that we ARE organized 🙂

    “Pile it high” is my battle cry 😉

    In seriousness, on a jobsite I sometimes use a sheet of paper folded in quarters. That gives me 8 areas to use. Punchlist by room, to do list, shopping list, issues for weekly meeting, etc. When working I almost always keep a small flat quarter size notebook in my back pocket. That gets more general notes, or more specific if I’m not using the folded paper. (Like a Moleskine but cheap.)

    At my desk I sometimes use a sheet of paper folded once lengthwise. This is especially good for ToDo lists, with jobs on one side, and required stuff in the other column.

    I tried using Basecamp.com for smaller projects, but eventually stopped.

    And at heart, I use a black flair pen on a yellow legal pad for notes. I’ve done that for years, scanning them when done. Only one day per page, but can have multiple pages per day. I usually keep my daily work log on that with a page further in as a ToDo or punchlist as a project nears completion.

    I don’t use anything to manage inventory (problem for me, need to work on it, but the overhead is too high.) I know the benefits, but keeping it up to date becomes one more hassle in a hassle filled day. They are inevitably out of date, and can’t be trusted anyway.

    Actually, I do use a system. All my intermediate food (shelf stable prepared meal type stuff) is boxed by persons/ day. Most of the boxes are 6 persons/ 1 days. Only because I found that to be convenient when adding meals to prepacked Mountain House.

    I’ve decided to organize my cans by putting them in the cardboard flats from costco. I hope that 30 will fit nicely. Then I can simply stack the flats and know that each flat is x amount of food. 12 flats of 30 would be a year’s worth of side dish, for example. I’m gonna give that a try anyway. I’ll put the flats stacked 2 or 3 high per shelf, so they act as ersatz drawers. They conveniently fit on my shelves, 2 wide.

    I already have some stuff in my “storage” area stocked this way.

    (I’ve got food divided into ‘pantry’ in the kitchen, ‘store’ just outside the kitchen on shelves in the garage-this is where to ‘buy’ replacements for the pantry, then the ‘storage’ area where all the stuff we have for longer term use lives, and finally bulk which is mostly offsite.) When I shop, I restock the storage area, use the storage to restock the store, and use the store to restock the pantry. In theory, stuff flows in one end and out the other. In practice, for some items there isn’t room in the ‘store’ so when they run out I pull directly from storage (mostly cleaning stuff.)

    So there’s a little paper and physical organization. The rest is in piles and stacks, much to my wife’s dismay.

    nick

  30. I’d have machine gun emplacements every few hundred meters with orders to fire without warning on anyone attempting to breach the fence.

    You’re too nice. I’d have the troops fire single shots to cripple but not (immediately) kill, then collect the fence-jumper and toss him naked into a pen of pigs. Male pigs who’d been given viagra.

    I thought we were already being taxed to death.

    Almost exactly half of my gross pay goes to taxes and government-mandated fees or other expenses.

  31. California, home of the unbreakable Prop. 13 (property tax reform). Every attempt to bypass it fails no matter how hard democrats and the labor unions try.

    I wish we could get a Prop 13 here in Texas. My property taxes on my home are almost 2.8%. My property taxes on my commercial property are 1.9%.

  32. “You’re too nice.”

    Isn’t he, though? And wasteful of ammunition, too.

    “Almost exactly half of my gross pay goes to taxes and government-mandated fees or other expenses.”

    That sounds suspiciously like some kind of complaint. You probably aren’t paying enough if you have half of your income left over.

    “I wish we could get a Prop 13 here in Texas.”

    I see that there’s some extreme right-wing group of raycists, nativists, and xenophobes down there putting together a binding proposition on the coming Repub ballot to secede from the Glorious Union. And the Repub nabobs and potentates don’t like that at ALL and are trying to shut it down.

  33. We were lucky to have Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. We still have The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Org. that thank TFSM still gets heard at times. If only they had been heard about the high speed rail.

  34. Mrs. OFD just called from Millidgeville, GA, and was all excited about how literary folks is down there; I’ve told her before that Southern Lit either gets a bad rap or is totally ignored in Northern colleges and universities, more’s the pity. Home of the late Flannery O’Connor there. She was similarly impressed during her gig a while back in Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner country. People down there READ. Any of the Southern writers or historical heavyweights like Calhoun and Randolph are more fun to read than bozos like Emerson and Thoreau.

    She also managed to get through part of the Repub “debate” on tee-vee before giving up and puking. Says Rand Paul seemed the most intelligent and Carly was OK but the rest sucked. I told her I’d happily stand them all against a wall and pull the trigger. For the Dems I’d use dum-dums.

  35. lol! The Mighty Trump ™ delivers again calling everybody, losers, liars, fools and poor!

    Trump 2016 “I’m rich, you’re not”

  36. Hey, MrAtoz, don’t fergit us when you get Chief of Staff down at the WH. I wanna be the High Executioner.

  37. Since the Air Force wants to scrap the Wart Hog, I’ll mount the 30mm on turrets for your use, Mr. OFD. Fire When Ready!!!

  38. Craigslist should have a number of people willing to sell a third-to-half cord or so for $50 delivered. For another $20 or $40 they’ll stack it rather than just dump it in your driveway – money well spent if you’ve a trick back like mine. Unless it’s a blizzard it should heat a room or two for week. And it’s not an unsightly large pile.

    Do it tonight, by Saturday you’re set.

    You can still plan on racing the hordes to Sams Club for fuel canisters, but that assumes you’re healthy, and that your wife is healthy enough to come along or be left alone and that martial law hasn’t closed the roads.

  39. Good advice, Mr. Ed.

    We gon need three or four cords here, probably around $600-800, and we stack it ourselves, mostly, but this year I may pay a hard-working neighbor kid to hep us out a bit wid dat. Once the rest of the windows are done this fall, that should be our expense for heat for the year, while keeping the oil tank topped off (just one fill-up is that same $600-800, or was…) and if that was all we had, we’d be filling it three or four times, easy.

    I’m attempting to figure what I should look to for quantity if and when I get some propane tanks here, the ones the size we use for grills, that is. And making sure they can be hooked up to a two-burner propane Coleman or whatever. Meanwhile we have two woodstoves, a charcoal grill, and a big kettle-type cowboy grill.

  40. If I remember right, and a cord is 4’x4’x8′, then we go through about 2 cords in the winter. Just as supplemental, luxury heating: Having breakfast and dinner next to the masonry stove is really pleasant.

    Once, when we ran out of oil at a stupid point (over the Christmas holidays), we did rely on the stove for heat, but those were cold days. It was bitterly cold outside, and the stove couldn’t keep the room temperature over 14C (that’s 57F) and it was dropping slowly. Disadvantage of an old house: we have hugely thick, solid brick walls, but absolutely no insulation in them. It would be a bit better now, since we’ve replaced the windows, but not much. Having the water and heating pipes freeze in the rest of the house would also be quite the disaster.

    Interestingly, wood costs here are about the same as there: About $100/m3, which comes to around $350 for a cord. That’s for beech, in meter lengths, split.

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