Saturday, 21 November 2015

By on November 21st, 2015 in news, relocation

08:20 – I read an article in the paper this morning about two robberies of two taxi drivers in two days, at the same address. That got me thinking about all those articles I’ve seen recently about cities and taxi companies trying to ban Uber and Lyft. If Uber and Lyft aren’t banned, they’ll put old-style taxi companies out of business except in areas where Uber/Lyft drivers won’t go to pick up fares. And how will that impact those poor robbers who depend on robbing taxi drivers to make a living? It’s just so unfair.

We close on the new house late Monday afternoon, November 30th, so as of 1 December we’ll be officially in the new house. We’ll have a friend house-sitting in the current house for the time being, starting next Friday and lasting through at least the end of the year and possibly through January, depending on how long it takes the current residents to clear out of the house he just bought. We’ll be making multiple runs up to Sparta the first week of December to transfer most of our stuff other than furniture, which we’ll hire movers to transfer for us. Which means we have less than two weeks to get all this stuff packed up and ready to transfer. We have enough finished-goods inventory of science kits to last us through at least mid-December, so we’ll haul part of them up to Sparta initially to allow us to continue shipping uninterrupted.

With everything that’s going on, posts here are likely to be short and sporadic for the next couple of weeks.

09:22 – Hah. I just found the charger for the FRS/GMRS HT’s and put them on to charge. Actually, the battery pack bundled with them holds a charge very well. I tested them by charging them completely and then letting them sit a couple of months. The charge was still at 90%+. Worst case, they can also use alkalines. I just gave Barbara a 15-second crash course in how to use the HT’s. We’ll use one in each vehicle when we’re taking both up to Sparta on transfer runs.

Frances and Al also kindly offered to help with the move, using Al’s pickup. He can haul 1,600 pounds of bulky items, so even one run up there will help a lot. I’m going to restrict my 22-year-old Trooper to 1,000 pounds per run. I was thinking about getting a trailer hitch installed and renting a trailer, but Barbara’s afraid the old Trooper would drop dead on its way up the mountain.

48 Comments and discussion on "Saturday, 21 November 2015"

  1. Dave says:

    I think if the larger taxi cab companies had half a brain, they would create their own smartphone apps to summon a cab. Why do people do Uber and Lyft? It’s not because they prefer some random guy with a regular drivers license over some random guy with a chauffeurs license. It’s because you push a button in a smart phone app, and then someone shows up. You don’t have to find the phone number for a cab company dispatcher, call the dispatcher and then wait for someone to show up. Try to actually find a cab? The only place I would try to find a cab is at the airport.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    So you’re saying that the old-style cab companies should become just like Uber? That’s not gonna work. They need to kill Uber so that they can maintain their monopoly pricing. A potential fare with a smartphone is always going to find it faster and cheaper to use the Uber app than some old-style cab company’s app, even assuming that they have it. One of Uber’s main advantages, other than price and response time, is that they’re universal.

  3. dkreck says:

    We took Lyft downtown last night. The woman who took us said there are too many drivers now and often the work is lean. The only other interesting trivia is which candy is most popular in her treat basket. (Snickers)

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yep. Uber and Lyft are the epitome of the free market, and let’s face it. Driving people around is not a job that requires any particular effort or skills, so it’s naturally not going to pay much.

  5. brad says:

    Moving is a question of time vs. money. For all the standard stuff – furniture, dishes, clothes, pictures on the walls, contents of most closet – for all that stuff, I think it’s worth hiring a reputable moving company. They will be a lot faster at packing and unpacking, it will all fit in one big truck, and be dealt with in one trip.

    Stuff you feel like you need to sort out, components of your kits, etc. – those I would understand moving yourself. But for the rest, it’s a huge pain that professionals do better. Just my 2 cents worth…

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    As I said, we’ll hire professional movers to transfer the furniture, refrigerator, freezer, etc. The kit stuff and my lab stuff I don’t want them touching, so we’ll do it ourselves. Same thing on our long-term food storage, which we can probably transfer most of with one or two pickup/Trooper loads. (We easily transferred a one person-year supply of the LDS LTS stuff in #10 cans (roughly 250 #10 cans in cases of six totaling something like half a ton) in the Trooper when we bought it. We have as much again volume-wise and considerably more weight-wise in canned goods and other containers from Sam’s Club and Costco. We’ll also haul up a lot of Barbara’s stuff that she doesn’t want to trust the movers to move safely.

    I’ll let the movers move the cases of bottled water. We will haul up bunches of empty 2-liter bottles, which we’ll fill soon after we arrive. The empties are bulky but weigh next to nothing, so we’ll just use them to fill extra space when we’re close to weight capacity on a trip.

    If we have to make a dozen or two trips up, that’s okay. It’s only a 2.5 hour round trip, not counting loading and unloading, and we can just build stacks in the garage to be organized later.

  7. nick says:

    Or get it down to stacks of boxes and naked furniture, then use a mover. Why break your back lifting boxes? They will pile them 4ft high and scoop them up with a hand truck. Furniture will be blanket wrapped, and then moved, and it’s really awkward when wrapped.

    At least you could get labor to load a box truck for you.

    RE taxis, in Houston they have an app. Most of the Yellow cabs (independent drivers anyway) have it. I don’t know what it actually does, probably just automates part of the dispatch.

    It does take some skill, and in places a great deal of knowledge (in fact in London the drivers call it “The Knowledge” and have to learn every little street and alley before getting licensed.) Riding with someone who is a poor driver or distracted, or riding with someone who doesn’t know where they are or where to go is no fun. GPS helps replace some of that but it won’t make a person a better driver. And there are the rapes and assaults to consider….

    I would like to open it to competition, but random drivers? Anyway as more people get into it, the experience is getting downgraded. It started with young, hip, demographic, but that is changing.

    I would like the ability to pick up a load sometimes, esp when driving my pickup to austin or san antonio empty. It would be nice to carry a package or delivery and get some gas money for the deadhead part of the trip, or even both ways if what I’m getting doesn’t fill my truck. Who’s gonna trust me? Who’s gonna vet me? And who has liability when there’s a problem?

    BTW, there is an informal network of guys who move heavy machinery this way. They are aficionados of old woodworking and machine tools, and will help you get a tool from one place to another. Takes time, but is cheaper and safer than a trucking company. They are motivated by a shared love of restoring old machines.

    also, congrats on getting a date. Here’s hoping it goes smoothly.


  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Oh, yeah, the movers will be moving lots of boxes that we’ve packed up ourselves. That’s why I mentioned the other day that we have hundreds of good boxes here, ready to be packed up.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Re: trust

    Uber vets their drivers and excludes criminals. Honestly, I’d rather trust an Uber driver than a traditional cab driver. Back in BBS days, one of the sysops in the local BBS group was the manager of Blue Bird Cabs. I stopped over at his place frequently, and there were a lot of low-lifes employed there.

  10. nick says:

    ” we can just build stacks in the garage to be organized later.”

    Secure the garage first! It’s a favorite trick of thieves to watch a building site or remodel for when a delivery comes. It gets put in the garage ‘for later’. Garages are typically very easy to break in to.

    Disconnect the garage opener, and lock the door shut. If there is no way built in, put a long hasp padlock thru the tracks just above a roller. Remove the rope from the opener disconnect. They can snag it from outside, pull, and then lift the door. With an attached garage, most people leave their interior door to the house unlocked. Bad mistake.

    On the man door, upgrade the door jamb with a security strike and add one of those U shaped metal reinforcements to the door. Add a deadbolt.

    The biggest problem is that neighbors are going to be conditioned to seeing people come and go, work in the garage, and carry boxes around. Won’t take long for thieves to do the same…..


  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yes, we will be very security conscious, although burglary isn’t much of a problem in Sparta. I think there were about two burglaries the last year I saw figures for.

  12. dkreck says:

    Probably better if the vet the customers.

    Uber and Lyft do vet the drivers. Also their insurance and their cars. Cars have to be less than five years I believe. I’ve used it about 6 times and so far each driver has been very good. Last night out driver told us they may set it up to request specific drivers if you want.

  13. Alan says:

    I thought the purpose of Uber (and Lyft and Airbnb, etc.) was to benefit those that started the company(s) and the VC’s that have invested rather than the drivers and the riders.

  14. dkreck says:

    Well you don’t get a successful competitive business if you abuse your employees or customers. (monopolies and cable tv excepted)

  15. nick says:

    well duh….

    That’s business… businesses exist to reward the owners.

    Charities might have other purposes, and businesses can act charitably if they make enough money, but businesses do not ‘work’ for the workers unless they are also owners.

    That’s why they call it ‘work’.


  16. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yep. The purpose of a business is to benefit the owner(s) of the business, period. They take the risk, they should reap all of the profits.

    That’s one of the big problems with large corporations. They’re not functioning to enrich their owners, the stockholders. They’re a means to benefit the managerial class, who are grossly overpaid and grossly overnumerous. I remember one case study we looked at when I was in MBA school. It was a large US corporation that had seven or eight levels of management. A similar Japanese corporation had four levels and was in the process of reducing that to three.

  17. nick says:

    [singing] Just two good ol boys, fightin the system like two modern day robin hoods…

    Right, just some ordinary Syrians, doing every thing possible to avoid getting caught, making the run up thru Mexico.

    Syrians. 5 traveling together. Syrians where “Eighty percent of Syrians do not make more than SYP 30,000 ($286) [per month]”

    Where did they get the MONEY? Last time I looked, plane tickets cost actual money. So did other travel. Food and lodging too.

    Anyone who thinks these guys are anything other than potential terrorists is a deluded fool.


    Oh, and this takes it from theoretical to actual that they are entering down south and coming in thru Mexico.

    added according to ‘sources’ “They each paid $10,000 for their trip. Family and friends had collected the money for them in Syria, officials say.”

    That would be the friends and family in a country where “poverty rates have exceeded all expectations, reaching 80 percent of the population.”

    ADDED And the fact that they “paid $10000” implies they paid it TO someone. Someone set up the whole thing, from the forged docs to the flights and itinerary.

    Not bloody likely.

  18. dkreck says:

    I’m pretty sure there are some people in government who feel businesses exist to pay taxes.

  19. nick says:

    @lynn, if you were serious about the AR10, my buddy has one on consignment in his shop, sig sauer 716 , cash price $1699 out the door. No tax as it’s consignment. Cash only. A quick look on gunbroker says “that’s a good deal!”

    ADD: it’s the patrol model

    @RBT, I can post a link to the shop, if you don’t mind. Or you could forward Lynn my email…


  20. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Go ahead and post it.

  21. nick says:

    Really good folks.


    click on ‘consignment list’ to see what else they have in. No pics but if I stop in this afternoon, I’ll take a look at it. Everything they have is really clean and nice.

  22. OFD says:

    “It was a large US corporation that had seven or eight levels of management.”

    When I worked at GE Healthcare it was about fifteen levels between custodial staff and Immelt, the pro-offshoring CEO. At IBM around seven levels between us and lovely and brilliant Ginny, who also digs offshoring jobs and stiffing Murkan workers. Former engineer, supposedly.

    “Someone set up the whole thing, from the forged docs to the flights and itinerary.”

    Gee, what a cynical bastid!

    I’ve been laying this scenario out online for YEARS and been ignored and blown off. Of COURSE they slip through the joke of a southern border and link up with their fellow scum already here. We’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’ real soon now; somebody or other is prepping to do some major damage to us. Which, of course, will suit the overlords just fine; great excuse to clamp down with martial law and more repressive measures against the rest of us. While still importing countless more “refugees” from what the Crusaders used to call “Outre’mere.” Where evidently, as Mr. nick points out, there is zero problem coming up with the boatloads of cash to get these goblins over here.

  23. MrAtoz says:

    In case you didn’t hear Obuttwad’s response to the Mali massacre, while he spoke in Malaysia “I’ll welcome millions more.” Millions. I guess we’ll be paying for tickets in the near future.

  24. OFD says:

    Up here they had the U.S. flags at half-mast all week for “Je suis Paris” stuff but they’re back to full-staff now despite the massacre in Mali. Makes ya wonder. Where’s the protest and outrage from BLM? Or any of the SJWs? Makes ya wonder if WLM more, after all…

  25. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    No one cares about Mali. Probably 99.9% of Americans have never heard of it, and probably literally 99.999% couldn’t point to it on an unlabeled world map. Paris, on the other hand, almost everyone other than underclass scum has heard of, and probably at least 10% of Americans could point to the continent where it’s located.

  26. MrAtoz says:

    It seems Odooshnoozle dropped US SpecOps in Mali in an instant to help. Couldn’t be bothered for Benghazi. He probably wanted to eliminate our citizens in Benghazi.

  27. OFD says:

    I had geography class in middle skool long ago and collected stamps from all over the world, so anyone can shove an unlabeled world map in front of me and I’ll point at whatever country they want. Also an avid reader of guess what mag all those years, too. Mrs. OFD and Princess could point out the streets of Paris, Rome and Berlin on an unlabeled maps. I could probably do Saigon and Bangkok.

    “…Odooshnoozle dropped US SpecOps in Mali…”

    Interesting. I wonder which group/s and from where. Been busy here and missed a bunch of “nooz.” I wonder also if our flags will go back to half-mast on Monday…

  28. lynn says:

    @lynn, if you were serious about the AR10, my buddy has one on consignment in his shop, sig sauer 716 , cash price $1699 out the door. No tax as it’s consignment. Cash only. A quick look on gunbroker says “that’s a good deal!”

    I’m just know that my son is looking for a specific AR-10 model. He has an FFL so he can get a very good price.

  29. SteveF says:

    I’ll point at whatever country they want

    Challenge accepted! Just remember that a bunch of countries are younger than you are, old man.

    Point to the Kingdom of North Sudan. You can probably make a stab at it just from the name, but you need to be specific with tiny countries. (Here’s something to help with the nation’s history. And that guy curbstomped everyone else in the world for the Father of the Year competition of 2014.)

    Find the the Principality of Sealand. Even if you’ve heard of it and know its general location, you probably can’t point to within ten miles of it. (Ref comment about tiny countries, but moreso.)

    Find the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. You can probably guess its location from the name. Your guess will be wrong.

  30. nick says:

    “Vetting” only works if the person being vetted has previously been caught.


    See also

    “The website alleges that Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft do not use strict enough background checks because the process is completed online and does not include fingerprint-based authentication. “

  31. OFD says:

    @SteveF; c’mon, man; ax me some hahd questions.

    You read my geography resume; I’ve bloody well kept UP with it all these decades, TOO.

    I gloried in tiny countries for my stamp collection; San Marino and Andorra in Europe, and I had stamps from all the different countries which once made up the former Yugoslavia. Quite a few of them had Dolphie’s pic on them with denominations in marks and sometimes a nice little overstamped swastika.

    Another neat thing I found back in my stamp-collecting days; a lot of the Afrikan and Arab countries easily had the most colorful stamps, but the U.S. had, used to have, the best ENGRAVED stamps, until the Glorious Sixties, IIRC, when they went to flat banal commemoratives for nothing much worth commemorating.

    As for the maps, I don’t have any unlabeled ones. And the big one behind me at the desk here is a U.S. Geological Survey one of my AO, in and around Saint Albans, VT.

  32. lynn says:

    @RBT, I can post a link to the shop, if you don’t mind. Or you could forward Lynn my email…

    @nick, you can find me right here, most days:

  33. Miles_Teg says:

    Ugh. Just went to a local Italian restaurant for lunch. Next to us there was a huge table of guys, wimminz and very noisy kids. Then two of the guys started pushing each other, arguing about mooslems, of all things. After a couple of minutes one of the guys walked out, soon followed by his wife, sister and their kids. Then most of the other families left a few minutes later, leaving a considerable amount of food uneaten. Well, at least it was somewhat quieter. (Apart from an unrelated second large table of kids and parents nearby.)

    I’m in the market for some noise cancelling headphones…

  34. Dave says:

    I’m in the market for some noise cancelling headphones…

    Why? You aren’t married and don’t have kids.

  35. Dave says:

    Bob, so you are moving out to the middle of nowhere just because a couple of taxi drivers got robbed five miles from your house?

  36. Robert Bruce Thompson says:


    That has nothing to do with it. Taxi drivers have been getting robbed forever.

    No, we’re moving for a lot of reasons, but mostly because we don’t want to live in an urban area.

  37. Dave says:

    I was joking a bit. You aren’t moving because two taxi drivers got robbed 5 miles from your place. Your moving because you don’t want to be in an urban area where that kind of thing (and worse) is far too common.

    Update: Not only is it far too common, it’s getting worse.

  38. Miles_Teg says:

    “Why? You aren’t married and don’t have kids.”

    Correct, but I get very tired very quickly of wimminz and kids making a racket when I’m out of the house. For some reasons guys don’t feel the need to talk at 150 dB about stuff I’d rather not hear.

  39. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m Asperger-y, which means I often have to consciously parse and analyze statements to know when someone is kidding. I generally take statements at face value.

  40. Dave says:

    I think everyone here probably has some tendency to be Aspergery.

  41. SteveF says:

    Not me. Never did care much for asparagus. Maybe if it was deep fried or covered with chocolate, but I guess that’s not hoity-toit enough because I’ve never seen deep-fried asparagus on the menu.

  42. OFD says:

    “Not me. Never did care much for asparagus.”

    Me, neither; makes yer pee smell, too. Even though we’re all constantly exhorted to eat more veggies; say, ketchup is a vegetable, ain’t it?

    Related uncivil-noise-in-public anecdote: Mrs. OFD was at one of the United Airlines “clubs” between flights recently and a guy was right in back of her braying on his cell at high volume. She kept giving him the stink-eye and then she heard him say “There’s a woman here who evidently thinks I’m talking too loud. I’ll move even though this is NOT a LIBRARY!” So he moved away and kept yelling into his phone anyway so the whole club could enjoy it. No shortage of assholes.

  43. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Most urbanized people are assholes, which is yet another reason I’m looking forward to living in a rural area.

  44. nick says:

    Asparagus is good deep fried. You need the thick sticks though.

    It’s also great wrapped in bacon and grilled. If you don’t have the fat sticks, use 2 or 3 smaller ones.

    MMMMmmmmmmmmm good.


  45. Miles_Teg says:

    “I’m Asperger-y, which means I often have to consciously parse and analyze statements to know when someone is kidding. I generally take statements at face value.”

    It’s not working.

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