Sat. Feb. 9, 2019 – cold, I’m pretty sure

Currently, some sort of weather.

I’ve got my non-prepping hobby meeting today, so I’ve got to post this early, or get up earlier…and that probably won’t happen.

Followed by the last basketball game of the season, and then WORK. More work. and work.

So talk amongst yourselves….


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26 Responses to Sat. Feb. 9, 2019 – cold, I’m pretty sure

  1. Nick Flandrey says:

    yup, weather station says 38F and 68%RH.


  2. Ray Thompson says:

    Taxes filed this morning. Got my last tax document using the online system. Seems that a stock trade earlier in the year put me over some limit. A gain of $1700.00 cost me $500.00 in taxes as it triggered something in the tax return. I really hate this tax system where a matter of a single dollar can cost hundreds. I have to get at 300% of poverty level because of this obuttwadcare stuff. Even with an IRA contribution I cannot make the limit on income. Even though the stock earnings never passed through my wallet it cost me $500.00.

    Anyway, I expect to get my whopping return by the end of next week if history holds true. The IRS accepted the return within 5 minutes of sending. I will get enough back for a steak dinner at Texas Roadhouse, if I skip the desert and only order water to drink.

    28 degrees outside, high of 48. Big drop from the high on Thursday of 74. TN tends to get the most snow during March and April. Still have cold fronts moving south and colliding with the moisture moving up from the gulf. I have seen it snow as late as the first week in April.

    The daffodils are already starting to poke through the ground. That is fairly early for the year as most start the end of February.

  3. ITGuy1998 says:

    I’ve done a preliminary input into TurboTax and I’ll be getting a refund this year for federal. I usually owe a couple hundred, which is what I prefer. I don’t think I’ll make any changes to withholdings though. With the increasing desperation for money, I’d rather not be on the owing end to the IRS.

    I can’t do my final return…still waiting on one tax document. I opened a Robinhood brokerage account this year. I funded it with 2k and use it as a play account. It’s around $3700 today, so not doing too bad. I have no illusions about any sort of skill, though. My retirement remains safely in vanguard age funds and not touched.

    Robinhood is great – no fee trades. The downside to this is they are taking their time with tax forms. Supposedly they will be available Feb 12. I hope so, want to get taxes done and out of the way soonest.

  4. Ray Thompson says:

    The downside to this is they are taking their time with tax forms

    Almost all investment firms take their. I generally don’t count on getting all my documents until about the 20th of February. I can go online and get them sooner than in the mail but the documents are still not ready until middle/late February. So Robinhood is no different than the rest.

    I have to wait until I prepare my return to figure out how much I have to contribute to an IRA to minimize my tax consequences. This year is less than last and should be the last year I have do an IRA. The problem is with the obuttwadcare and having to calculate my share of the premiums (coverage is for my wife). Using their site at the beginning of the coverage period only provides a guess. So I have to play games with my income to avoid paying.

    Next year wife goes on Medicare/Supplemental in February. Since her coverage will start on February 1, 2019 do I even get coverage for one month? Would the premiums be $1400.00 because of income for the year? In other words, I am required to pay about $5K for a year now based on the entire year. Do I have to pay the full amount for one month because that would be less than my amount for the entire year? Or should I just chance it and not get any coverage for the month of January? Paying out of pocket may be cheaper than getting coverage.

  5. JimL says:

    16º and cloudy. Just enough snow at the Lodge for rock skis. Those are skis you don’t care if you bash them into rocks. Not me. I’ll wait until there’s enough snow to cover the ground & get out there.

    Youngest has the sniffles & coughs. So do I. It will get better.

    Doing some 2nd-job work today. Configuring bridge devices to put timing boxes on the (wifi) network. I need to be able to access these just about anywhere. This way I can. If it’s close enough to run on the same connection as my laptop, I don’t even need internet access, which is good for those places where internet is not available.

    Haven’t started taxes yet. I’ll do better this year than last, just because I don’t have enough deductions to make a difference. SALT? Makes me happy. Tears of folks that think the fed should support local taxes make me smile. Every entity should have its own taxes, and nobody should have to support them. I shouldn’t HAVE to support folks in CA with higher taxes. Makes me evil, I guess.

  6. brad says:

    Taxes, always a joy. Our kids get to do both Swiss and US, which makes no sense since they are far under the limit where they would have to pay in the US. Given how insanely complex international returns are, they get to pay around $400 for the privilege.

    Sooner or later, I figure they’ll cancel their passports, but that costs well over $2000. That’s massively more than any other country; Canada, for example, charges $75. The price increase was presumably necessary, because the lines to renounce citizenship were getting embarrassingly long.

  7. Rick H says:

    Olympic Peninsula Snow Storm update:

    Woke up this morning to a power outage at 6:00 am; there were a couple of blips overnight. (My wife’s oxygen concentrator beeps with a power outage, so that’s my alert.) The automatic power outage LED lights (similar to these: ) kicked on. Grabbed the portable oxygen thing for her. Plus the LED lantern (similar to this: ).

    Looked outside. About 12 inches since 3pm yesterday. Still snowing with large flakes. Expect another 2-3 inches until it stops this afternoon. A lot of snow for this area; unusual occurrence, as we usually get 2-3 inches total all winter.

    Local law enforcement says stay home unless you must be out. I’m staying home.

    Power back on at 9am, so didn’t have to fire up the generator. Used my LED lantern plus other FLASHLIGHTS.

    Temp inside the house got down to 62F. Will take about an hour to get up to 72. I have a newer house (15 yrs) with double-pane windows,but there is a large bank of windows in the living room, plus a vaulted ceiling to the 2nd story, so some heat loss happens.

    Outside temps are about 28F. Slight wind 5-10mph blowing the snow around. Good day to stay inside.

  8. DadCooks says:

    Snowmageddon in WA State. The goobernor has declared a “State of Emergency” on the West Side (Seattle is locked in). Here in the Southeast corner of the State, we got 6-inches last night, but the road crews have not been out (WA DOT has cameras on all major roads that monitor constantly in real time).

    Yesterday (11:35 a.m., snowing lightly, road snow covered), as we were coming home from a Costco run we saw an SUV with CA plates rear end a police SUV at a stop sign. The lady(?) driver (phone still in hand) leaned out the driver-side window and yelled at the cop that she was sorry. She had made no attempt to stop. We stayed to give the Police Office our “witness statement.”

    We are to expect another 6 to 12-inches today and tomorrow. Currently winds are increasing, we are told to expect gusts to 35 m.p.h.

  9. Greg Norton says:

    Yesterday (11:35 a.m., snowing lightly, road snow covered), as we were coming home from a Costco run we saw an SUV with CA plates rear end a police SUV at a stop sign. The lady(?) driver (phone still in hand) leaned out the driver-side window and yelled at the cop that she was sorry. She had made no attempt to stop.

    I nearly get killed once a week in Austin by a driver on their phone. And the city was among the first to implement a $500 ticket just for *touching* a handheld electronic device while driving.

    APD need to get the Waze traps set up again on I-35.

    We don’t lack for CA plates either. Beyond the CA tag renewal costs, I think a lot of them view Texas as temporary.

  10. Nick Flandrey says:

    I kept my Cali residency for 2 years. Maintained an address, received bills there, phone, etc. Paid the taxes, reg, plates…. I had a rifle that (at the time) I couldn’t bring back into Cali if it ever left, and I didn’t know if my move/engagement/etc would work out.

    Fortunately it did, and I finally moved my residency to TX, one of the last mostly free states.


  11. Jenny says:

    Filed my taxes earlier this week. Standard deductions for first time in 15 years. A modest refund which means my back of the envelope calculations in June were about right.

    I’ve got “real life” friends with horror stories about errors made in innocence and the violent response of the IRS. Lives ruined over pennies seems to give the IRS special pleasure. I have no wish, energy, or resources to be on the wrong side so I’m damn careful to overpay. It irks my libertarian heart.

    Friends in Washington state have been posting delightful videos of their Cardigan Welsh Corgis frolicking in the snow. Great fun. I lived in Seattlefor about 18 months during the dot com era. Snow once. It was a cluster you know what. I’d been driving a Geo Metro (premium LSI model with the rear wiper AND air conditioner- woot!) in Anchorage and didn’t understand the fuss. My silly little coupe and I did fine. Other drivers not so much.

    Taking online classes one at a time with University of the People to (eventually) be able to tick the box “have a BS degree” on job applications. I enjoy my current work and have been in IT since 1993, I am under no illusions that I won’t find myself job hunting again in the next 10 years. More and more places are using a degree as a filter. While I don’t intend to go into programming I don’t want to be locked out of the application process because I can’t tick a box. UoP was the least expensive most convenient accredited option. $4,000 total. Not a diploma mill. Nationally instead of regionally accredited (that locks me out of State of Alaska DBA jobs but I wouldn’t work for the State again).

    Current class is the second half of their Java Programming component. I am not a programmer. I was excellent at the abstract stuff pre-car crash but have a more difficult time with that now. Making the class a challenge. I should be re-reading the section about recursion and link listing. I am procrastinating here belly aching and drinking coffee instead. The carrot I am using this week is complete the assignments then use what I learn about recursion to play with a pedigree database I have using recursion to build pedigrees in Java.

    I consider the classes as much a prep as a full pantry and full gas tank.

    On the fun side of things I’ve been doing trick training with our 13 year old Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Old boy has still got it. His sense of smell is as lousy as a human, his eyes are dim, but he perks up and wants to work as much as ever when I pullout the clicker and treats. I figure we have another year if we are lucky so cherishing time with him in his end game.

    Also on the dog front, the National Breed club I belong to, Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America, is joining efforts with a scientist and his research team. He thinks he found a genetic marker that predicts the formation of cystine stones in dogs. A number of Cardigans in specific lines experience this issue. It’s difficult to manage as a condition and painful. At our national (gathering of hundreds of Cardigans from across the country and a few from outside US) there is going to be a sample drive and fund raiser to pay for the research. I’m going to coordinate sending samples from members in the line mine belong to here in Alaska. We know that one from this line participated in the study 5 years ago and was confirmed to have the marker. Getting samples from all the immediate relatives will help identify the source and give existing owners a heads up to save for a potential problem with Cystine stones. Sample is a DNA cheek swab and urine (frozen and shipped).

    There’s a lot of harping by rescue groups on the evils of purebred dogs. Predictable genetics is a good thing. Responsible breeders study pedigrees and health of individuals going back 20 or 30 generations (the oldsters do – I can only manage 3 generations). The depth and breadth of knowledge they bring to the breeding table and high quality dogs (stable temperament, strong bodies, healthy trouble free lives) they produce are commendable.

    And I’ve successfully procrastinated away another ten minutes. Shutting off the internet and getting to work…

  12. brad says:

    @Jenny: What you say about responsible breeders is true, at least, for some breeds. My objections come with breeds that have been bred to be sickly.

    German shepherds with the lowered back legs – hip and back problems. St. Bernard’s, which now live only half as long as they used to. Rhodesian Ridgebacks, where that backwards fur goes along with spinal lesions. And so on. The obsession with appearance in many breeds comes at a price.

  13. paul says:

    RE the IRS and Lives ruined over pennies seems to give the IRS special pleasure. , I will agree.

    In the early ’80s I had a friend that worked for the IRS. He did my taxes. Heck, he did almost everyone’s taxes. I copied his scribbled up with notes form to a clean form. I transposed a couple of numbers. 69¢ instead of 96¢. For the terrible crime of underpaying my taxes by 27¢ they charged interest and a fine for underpayment plus a penalty for the late payment of 27¢ totaling almost $100.

    Yeah. I mis-copied. But really?

  14. Nick Flandrey says:

    Our little guy is a mutt, pure and simple. Vet has him listed as “terrier mix” which I guess is fine for a little guy who looks like a chihuahua/dachshund mix. Mom was at least mostly chihuahua, dad was ?? but not dachshund.

    Every once in a while he’ll “point” just like a bird dog. He’s got an underbite that you don’t really notice, and his long snout is soft for the last inch (which is more than I expect.) Still, he gets compliments on his looks when we take him out, and people want to know what he is. He loves eviscerating his stuffed toys, and will shake the rodent sized ones by the neck until dead… or he loses his bite and they fly up onto the bookshelf. Oh, he tore ligaments in each rear knee, requiring some repairs (expensive repairs.) I clocked him at 12 mph on a run when we were both younger. He loves to run, which is hi-larious in a dog that looks half dachshund…

    At 10 years he’s getting stiff, but still wants to run, and gets the ‘zoomies’ at least a couple of times a month. He’s calm and mostly content to look out the window, just like us. He does hate squirrels! and cats! You can’t say either word without him running to the door and scratching to go out and defend the yard.

    It’s a great partnership, dogs and mankind.


  15. Jenny says:

    Recursion is reread. Break then reread link listing.

    German Shepherd’s – depends on the breeder. Unfortunately what’s winning in the show ring is the cocked up mess. The National Breed club and judges education may never be able to fix it. Suzanne Clothier and a number of others have years long waiting lists because they are producing GSDs with rock solid temperaments and good structure without that crazy sloping thing.

    Popularity is very bad for the overall good of a breed. People start breeding for the wrong reasons, lose their perspective and discipline, let themselves get trapped by popular side syndrome.

    Cardigans are relatively obscure and we like it that way. 90% of what’s produced is by someone who is in it for love and admiration, not prestige or money. Most of what is produced is pretty good. Unfortunately the Corgi part of the breeds name gets us mixed up with Pembroke Welsh Corgis. A growing number of unscrupulous in it for money breeders are mixing the two, to get unusual colors, then slapping cutesy names and doubling the price. Health problems galore because they fail to neuter or cull unhealthy or temperamentally unsound animals. They are getting their Cardigan breeding stock from Russia, or doing straw man purchases in the US. Some long time quality Cardigan breeders are starting to do OSS spay / neuterlong before pups leave the breeder to ensure their pet quality animals don’t wind up as breeding stock. Others will only sell their pups to people known by them personally. We’ve seen what has happened to other breeds and are scared to death it’ll happen to ours.

    There is a growing movement in Cardigans to remove Wesh Corgi from the breed name in an attempt to get future generations out of this cock up.

    Heinz 57’s can be awesome. Mutts imported from other countries or villages and adopted to unsuspecting families can be a horrific burden with terrible temperaments or expensive serious health issues. Really depends on the adoption organization. There is money in Rescue these days, for the unscrupulous few.

    Precisely. You don’t want the eye of Mordor focused on you. They inflict suffering for the sick joy of it. And even if you somehow win, you lose.

    We had mixed breeds growing up with the exception of a purebred Golden Retriever from a backyard breeder. No health testing of the parents. No return guarantees or life time support. He was sweet but stupid and we spent three times on his health issues than any other dog. Bad breeding.

    Also @Nick
    In your copious spare time, an activity your older kids might enjoy with your terrier mix is Barn Hunt. From what you described I think you could probably enter cold after reading the rules a couple times, and come out with a few ribbons and cool certificate for kiddo to hang on the wall. $$$ involved – register dog with BarnHunt ($30?) enter a few trials at Instinct and Novice level (in my area $5-$10 per ‘run’, Texas looks like $20 per run – building rent is probably the difference), go spend a weekend hunting rats. McKinney, Katy, and San Marcos all have upcoming events. The rats are in tubes and don’t suffer any damage and aren’t even visible unless you get back to the wrangling area.

    If you go for it, when you enter the ring but before you turn him loose whisper “Squirrel?” in his ear few times. He’ll take care of the rest. And age isn’t much of a factor. My old fart started at age 11 and was in the ribbons every trial until he lost his sense of smell about a year later.

    Anyway, it’s really fun and most dogs and kids do very well.

    Back at it.

  16. paul says:

    I finally know when the wISP folks are coming to visit. It’s only taken three weeks or so of calling to complain…. I’ve lost track actually, and running their tests with the radio connected directly to a PC. Twice. Two different computers. I get it, to rule out that I’m not a virus infected fool and that my LAN is not the problem. But someone did something and decided the radio is failing.

    They said they would send a router. Not because my router is bad but it’s included with my plan. They did. It’s still in the box because in the meanwhile, I replaced my old router on the off chance that /all/ the lights blinking on and off like a disco dance floor means it has a problem. That helped. I have a new router in service and a new spare router.

    All of that stuff is in the EDC aka Incubator Building aka U-Tote-M. I don’t spend a lot of time out there.

    My connection is not totally dead for a few minutes at a time while the old router reboots, it still varies from (rarely) the plan speed of 5MB down to 100Kb. It’s generally about 2MB dropping to 100Kb. I think it’s the radio. I’m no kind of electronic expert beyond recognizing the various parts in an old radio. It acts like a bad capacitor. The speed test starts with showing 2 or 3Mb and it just slides down.

    Might be the power supply but I don’t have a spare Ubiquiti power brick.

    So. Monday afternoon. Yesterday the weather forecast said 40% chance of rain. Now it says the high will be 67F and 5% chance of rain. We will see.

    The radio is on a 40 foot or so push up mast. Guy wires and all. The last time the radio failed one of the guys remarked that we wouldn’t be messing with a mast if you lived in town. Yes, you are right… if I lived in town I’d have 100MB Internet speed from the cable company instead of 5MB. 🙂

    Anyway. I’m making Turkey Noodle Soup for supper. I have a 4 cup Ziploc container of turkey stock from Thanksgiving heating in the pot with two containers of water. When that gets to a simmer, I’ll add a 28oz can of Keystone turkey and some bow-tie pasta.
    Eat what you stock, right? I happen to like canned turkey better than canned chicken. Canned chicken is a bit too flaky.

  17. Nick Flandrey says:

    @jenny, thanks for the Barn Hunt info. That looks really cool. It seems to be just getting going around here, the Katy guys’ website has a lot of “coming soon” on it. I love the idea of hunting rats, even if they don’t end up with snapped necks.

    Since he’s not a real dachshund, he can’t participate, but the Semi-annual weiner dog races are a hoot to watch. That’s about as close as we’ve gotten to any ‘dog’ activities. Katy is pretty close, San Marcos is a couple hours, and McKinney is a day each way…. We go to Katy to watch July 4th fireworks without thinking about it, I go to San Marcos to do auction pickups. It looks like the McKinney area is the most developed so far though. I’ll definitely check it out and suggest it to the wife and kids.

    Just got back from our Block Party. Organized and held a couple of streets over, got to eat meat and greet a bunch of neighbors from surrounding streets that I haven’t really met before. Good time, but super chilly. Current temp is 44F with wind gusts, and 72%RH. I got some chemical hand warmers and actually used them on child one. Heavy jackets, gloves, and hats were called for. Daughter two was running around in her basketball jersey and bare arms. Nuts. Even the dog had a coat on.

    My new IR illuminator ROCKS*. It’s like having a spot light focused on the front yard at night. Combined with the new 8mpx camera, I’ve got almost daylight views of the front yard. Which I’m increasingly using to see what the new renters across the street are up to. Tonight it was loud banging and moving cases from the truck to the SUV in the driveway. They have a lot more activity over there than I am used to. I’m monitoring the situation.


    *it’s an AXIS illuminator I got new in box off ebay. There really is a difference between a $500-700 product from a major surveillance equipment manufacturer, and some $35 no name plastic chinese shite. Who knew?

  18. hcombs says:

    The one downside of the retirement home I am buying is that the tiny Town of wewoka ok has crap internet. The cable firm charges $80/ mo for 5MB and ATT DSL is $70 for a “maximum” 12 MB but my experience with DSL tells me this was measured at the CO and your experience will be much less. I know microwave service is available in some areas because I saw a house with a tower but I don’t know anything about it.

  19. mediumwave says:

    @Nick: “I’ve got my non-prepping hobby meeting today, …”

    An ARRL meeting? What’s the age distribution at one one of those? What do you guys talk about?

  20. Nick Flandrey says:

    @mediumwave, not ARRL… I haven’t been able to find a ham group. There is one that I met one of the guys- it’s not too far, but the meetings are at a bad time.

    Judging by the age distro at the local Rosenburg Hamfest, I’d say about half over 60, fat (or even older that had lost the fat), greybeards (literally), looking a lot like video engineers… a sizeable group of bearded 40-50’s, a couple with young daughters in tow (none last year with young sons), and fewer younger than 40, many looking like hipsters (and more beards). There was a group of college kids that kept coming by my booth and talking me out of gear. They were buying CBs to fix (and resell?) and seemed like a club from Tx A&M. Overwhelmingly white, some hispanic, and maybe 2-5% black (high for ham, low by census data). Few women, mostly wives with callsigns, the occasional singleton.

    So a broad spectrum of ages, tending male, and older, mostly white, various levels of fitness.

    It’s funny though, that I did meet a fellow ham at the meeting today. He’s also a new 3d printer owner and brought some sample prints. I’d met him previously but didn’t know he was a ham until today.


  21. mediumwave says:

    @Nick: Thanks for the info.

    I’d considered getting my Tech license and joining the local ARRL club mainly for an excuse to get out of the house more. Looking at the membership photos on the club’s web site leads me to believe that most of the guys–and it is mostly guys–have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel (which is a pretty accurate description of yours truly, BTW. 🙂 ) I’d prefer an organization that’s a little more active and likely to remain so.

  22. Nick Flandrey says:

    @mediumwave, it’ll never get younger unless younger people join….

    Get the license… and get on the air! Get the General too, so you’re ready with the license when you find the radio.


  23. Nick Flandrey says:

    Here’s a build video I stumbled across, a ridiculously detailed “scratch built” model of a vintage Dodge pickup. Crazy good work.


  24. mediumwave says:

    Get the license… and get on the air! Get the General too, so you’re ready with the license when you find the radio.

    The main attraction in ham radio for me is how the equipment works rather than using it; I’m more of a theory guy than a practical guy. I know there’s still a segment of hamdom that addresses the theoretical aspect, but actually constructing a radio you designed yourself seems pretty much a thing of the past. Besides, the eyesight is too dim and the hands too shaky to do much soldering these days. 🙁

  25. SteveF says:

    RickH, my daughter finished Light Blink. Liked it. I’ll get her to write a review for Amazon when time permits.

    I started it, but after a week am only 6% in. I may have mentioned constraints on my free time. Just in what I’ve read so far I have comments from a semi-pro editor perspective. Drop me an email if you wish.

  26. Nick Flandrey says:

    ” but actually constructing a radio you designed yourself ”

    there is still a small contingent that does this.

    However, the KIT business is strong. That is a good way to get your feet wet too, because you can be sure that if you build it correctly, it will receive signals- not a given with homebrew!

    There is a lot of activity in the poor signal digital modes. Truly astounding work pulling signals from below the noise floor, and getting information out of them.

    Repairing and restoring old sets might be a good exercise in theory of operation, and soldering skills.

    There are a lot of different aspects, and the internet makes it possible to find like minded folks.


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