Tues. Oct. 29, 2019 – trying again, got stuff to do

High 50s? Damp for certain. [68F at 6am, I didn’t want to believe my weather station.]

Didn’t get as much done yesterday as I should have. Computers, procrastination, and the need to go to the bank for a deposit all messed up my plans.

This time for sure.

On the bright side, I’m not fleeing from the most powerful armed forces on earth…

I’m just fleeing from my own list of ToDo’s…

n

64 thoughts on “Tues. Oct. 29, 2019 – trying again, got stuff to do”

  1. We got power back a bit after noon Monday. So far, it looks like we are not at risk for the shutdown that may happen today or tomorrow.

    >” Chain up your gennie.”
    I roll it into my garage when I shut down for the night, but that is good advice while it is running. I should build a shelter for it that will secure it, protect it from rain, and muffle the noise.

    >”Noise is why I have the stack of solar PV panels”
    We have had a couple of PV salespeople out to bid on solar installation for us. Neither was prepared to offer a grid-tied system that would also provide full power with the grid down. They offer either a grid tied system (with or without a battery dedicated to selling mid-morning power in the evening), or an off-grid system with high capacity batteries. I find that dissatisfying. With a better system design, we should be able to maintain refrigeration indefinitely, even without much battery capacity. We can make ice when the panels have power, and let that carry us through the night. That should keep things cold through a few days of cloudy weather. We might need to make up some milk jugs of slightly saline solution to lower the freezing point down to about zero F to make that system work. I suppose that I would need a few kW of battery storage to even out the effects of passing clouds, and those could also provide enough storage for some lighting and electronics in the evenings.

  2. @jimM, I’d imagine that there are a LOT of people in cali this week wondering what they can do to make power locally….

    Maybe we’ll finally decentralize power generation and return to the way it was.

    n

  3. @nick
    decentralize the power generation
    Growing up in the 1970’s my hometown had independent power. I recall we seemed insulated from power problems in the region. Sometime after I left the region that apparently changed.

    They are suffering power outages along with the rest of California. They used to be practical farmers and ranchers. Now they are vintners and progressives. I rather suspect my hometown inflicted this on themselves. they had independence and for whatever reason eschewed it for PG&E.

    The Kincade Fire may have passed over Healdsburg and Windsor. If the winds shift, if the fire jumps the highway, it’s all over. Used to do control burns every summer throughout that area. No more. Too congested, too fussy, too civilized.

    Too much fuel at any rate.

    Gotta give the fighters on the ground a lot of credit. They are fighting as for their own families.

  4. For 8 years in my house I had not had a power outage of more than 5 or 10 minutes. A couple of years ago a big storm left most of our neighborhood without power for 2 to 3 days as the crews worked all over eastern MA putting the grid back up. But I and my immediate neighbors had power. Why? My house is 50 yards from the police/fire station. When I asked about it I was told our little bit of the grid was a public safety priority zone. Power was fed from more than one line and any damage was fixed first.

    Well, earlier this year the police and fire station moved to a shiny new building about 1/3 of a mile away. I was wondering if I was still in a priority zone, but in the last 2 weeks I have had 2 multi-hour power outages. I’m sure just random chance to have 2 outages so close in time but I am definitely not in a priority zone anymore.

    I have preps for long term outages, of course, but I have never had to use them. I should double check everything this weekend. The Fall is when New England seems to get the worst wind storms and when the occasional hurricane chooses to wander north.

    It was really nice being a priority……

  5. We have had a couple of PV salespeople out to bid on solar installation for us. Neither was prepared to offer a grid-tied system that would also provide full power with the grid down.

    Part of the fraud, why don’t they go grid and sell back to the utility at noontime when only fridge going? More fraud, when did the salesscammers try to sell it to me, I do not own any of the facility that supplies me.


  6. They used to be practical farmers and ranchers. Now they are vintners and progressives.

    Like many here, I’ve tried growing food, with similar results. So now, I stockpile wine. I might starve, but I will die happy. 😉

    OK, my wife and I also stockpile canned goods, dry goods, and lots of other stuff. As Bob and Nick have said, each of us should gradually put aside what we will actually use, and rotate stock. I am tempted to have some whisky on hand because it keeps so well, but seldom drink any. Shoot, I don’t drink much wine or beer either. Must be slipping.

    Reminds me of the comic (Johnny Carson?) who said, “Imagine people who don’t drink. When they get up in the morning, that’s the best they’ll feel all day!”

  7. I’m not up on the technical side of things, but we have the same experience: our solar system will be “grid only”. Dunno why it should be difficult to make one that works both ways, but there it is.
    Anyway, I’m not yet prepared to pay the price of a battery. I expect, eventually, an e-car will fill that role. The latest Nissan Leaf is designed to do exactly that, and I expect other manufacturers to follow suit.

  8. WRT the solar scammers- if it was such a good idea, there’d be consortiums of investors slapping up solar on every empty lot, and putting it on the roof of every rental home Blackrock owns….

    Since they’re not doing that, someone is overselling the benefits…

    n

  9. JimM, you have some good ideas. I have been considering something similar for a few years.

    When I built my garage shop, I oriented and pitched the roof for PV panels, not yet installed. I also set up the 15×60′ south wall as a large unglazed collector for heat. The detached house has solar space heat, but needs more. Our main energy use is in winter. We have no gas or propane. Besides solar, our only energy input is electricity, which costs about $1500 a year, so most PV schemes are economic losers.

    However, our provider is So Cal Edison, and, like PG&E, they are raising rates constantly, so eventually a small PV system could be justified. They also have nuisance outages, and occasional “maintenance” outages of a few hours. My thought is a grid tied/grid independent PV system with enough battery storage to let us run grid independent with limited capability in SHTF scenario. If designed correctly, it could also serve as a whole house UPS.

    Not hurrying, so might take advantage of falling prices for panels and batteries.

  10. Continuing my solar/prep discussion, our biggest challenge would be water. For all practical purposes, there is no ground water (300+ ft down, and saline,) and rainfall is <5"/year. I think I will just build as big a tank as practical, fill it with tap water, and use chlorine and a Lifestraw or similar filters for drinking.

    Water is difficult to move distances. When we had the quakes in July, the water system in Trona was down for a few days. Water was trucked in, but in a broad scale disruption, it would be hard to meet demands. Our community wells are deep, and the energy needed to pump would be a challenge. Some problems might be hard to solve.

  11. Maybe we’ll finally decentralize power generation and return to the way it was.

    Not gonna happen. Every highly populated area in the USA is an emissions non-attainment area. The only power generation equipment that can be installed in these non-attainment areas is solar, wind, and geothermal. And I am not even sure about the geothermal. Nothing can be installed that adds more nitrous oxides, CO, and CO2 to the area. Houston almost got out of being a non-attainment area back in the 1990s but then the EPA ran a few more studies and lowered the smog alerts from the 70s ppb to 60s ppb, guaranteeing that Houston would never pass. This is why we now have electric driven 50,000 hp natural gas pipeline compressors in the Houston area instead of gas turbine drives as God intended them to be.


  12. Maybe we’ll finally decentralize power generation and return to the way it was.

    Can’t happen. Too many points of failure, low efficiency, difficult to control/monitor, hard to get fuel to the point of generation.


  13. Maybe we’ll finally decentralize power generation and return to the way it was.

    Can’t happen. Too many points of failure, low efficiency, difficult to control/monitor, hard to get fuel to the point of generation.

    DadCooks knows about the perfect solution, if only we had the guts to implement it.


  14. DadCooks knows about the perfect solution

    Two solutions: kill 90% of the human population or put “neighborhood nukes” in every neighborhood.

  15. YUUUP, and we used to have 6 – 10 national brands of gasoline here, now about 4.

    Sears, Montgomery Wards and J C Penny?

  16. put “neighborhood nukes” in every neighborhood.

    Yup, and we already have this technology. Not gonna happen though.

  17. “The Democratic plan for a 42% national sales tax”
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-democratic-plan-for-a-42-national-sales-tax-202549219.html

    “If you’re a Democrat who supports “Medicare for All,” pick your poison. You can ruin your political career and immolate your party by imposing a ruinous new sales tax, a gargantuan income tax hike or a surtax on corporate income that would wreck thousands of businesses.”

    Wow. That won’t work to pay for Medicare for All ™.


  18. Yup, the guy is inventing things about Trump to make the phone call to Ukraine sound worse. He needs to be marched out of the White House today. His desk needs to be moved to the northern tip of Alaska.

    This is an Army O-5 (Lieutenant Colonel) who thinks he can decide what is a National Defense policy. Only the President actually sets what’s in the National Defense policy. President tRump is the CINC and should cashier this bozo for opening his pie-hole. Going before Congress with a statement without using the Chain of Command is an Article 15 offense. He should be immediately retired.

  19. Yup, the guy is inventing things about Trump to make the phone call to Ukraine sound worse. He needs to be marched out of the White House today. His desk needs to be moved to the northern tip of Alaska.

    This is an Army O-5 (Lieutenant Colonel) who thinks he can decide what is a National Defense policy. Only the President actually sets what’s in the National Defense policy. President tRump is the CINC and should cashier this bozo for opening his pie-hole. Going before Congress with a statement without using the Chain of Command is an Article 15 offense. He should be immediately retired.

    Do whistle blower laws apply to Army officers ?

    His picture on https://drudgereport.com/ looks like a REMF.

    And
    https://apnews.com/c45cb728edf84d96adf9a88e98979c51

  20. Thanks, @JimB and @SteveF.

    If nuclear power is good enough for the Sun it should be good enough for us. Granted it is fusion, but there is nothing wrong with controlled fission.

  21. “hard to get fuel to the point of generation. ”

    –? everyone with natural gas to their property has an easy way to get fuel to the generator… most backup generators are not built to be prime movers though. And there are fuel cell natural gas generators that were in use as backup power for data centers a few years ago. Surely they worked and would work even better if there was more engineering and demand?

    Before the Rural Electrification board most power in use on farms was generated locally, and alternatives to electricity were in use.

    Rooftop solar is already deployed (although it doesn’t do what most people expect currently) and that is the individual providing local power. Complexity and maintenance can be managed.

    MUDs already provide sewer and water, no reason the model couldn’t provide power as well, except will, regulation, and engineering.

    n

  22. Just spent 2 1/2 hours doing remote support for my mom. Goal was to get skype working again, and a printer set up.

    OMFG

    I should have just paid amazon the $54 to have the printer installed. She got the paper installed wrong, jammed the machine, wasn’t strong enough to clear the jam, can’t move the printer (It’s too heavy), and doesn’t understand or can’t communicate the difference between a power cord wall wart, and a USB cable.

    It doesn’t help that HP no longer provides any instructions past “Go online to this address”. She wasn’t even able to successfully do that, or find one of the many excellent youtube videos about setting up or using the printer.

    Oh, and the pc didn’t work because it wasn’t turned on. The monitor was, and was displaying its “no signal, searching for sources, check cables” message.

    Got the pc turned on. got teamviewer updated and connected to it. FUCK UPDATES. Seriously. NOTHING on the computer worked until it updated. Software should NOT force an update outside of itself.

    The MS update to skype now has a very confusing attempt to force you into creating yet another account, this one a microsoft account, before you can log in or use skype. It’s possible to skip, but only if you know what to look for and read carefully. It tripped up my dad last year, and now tripped up mom. She neither wants, nor needs a unified MS log in account. But now she has one, which was partially set up and partially linked to her NEW skype account, which is named with her cell phone number. FU microsoft, some people have very good reasons to keep their PII and online accounts separate. There is no benefit to her to have the MS account, and a lot of harm as now her old skype names don’t work. Insult to injury, now you have to enter your password every time you start skype, with no apparent way to ‘save my login.’ Since it uses her MS account, it’s potentially a high value log in, instead of a throwaway skype password.

    And finally, windows needs more space to update, so it fails, because it has filled the small flashdrive with UPDATES. No easy way to shut off updates (win10 home) and no way to tell it to save the damn updates to the D drive, which has plenty of space.

    There are days when I hate computers and MS.

    n

  23. –? everyone with natural gas to their property has an easy way to get fuel to the generator… most backup generators are not built to be prime movers though. And there are fuel cell natural gas generators that were in use as backup power for data centers a few years ago. Surely they worked and would work even better if there was more engineering and demand?

    Modern gas turbines require 300 to 400 psig of natural gas pressure. Most natural gas internal combustion generators based on car motors only require 2 to 5 psig of natural gas pressure. My very limited experience with fuel cells says very expensive due to the catalysts. And difficult to size up.

  24. And finally, windows needs more space to update, so it fails, because it has filled the small flashdrive with UPDATES. No easy way to shut off updates (win10 home) and no way to tell it to save the damn updates to the D drive, which has plenty of space.

    After about a month of frustration, I ditched the default Windows 10 install on my new-ish Lenovo laptop, wiped the drive, and installed clean from an ISO downloaded from Microsoft. That bypassed the layers of updates, and the system has run fairly clean since then (knock wood).

    I do *not* use a Microsoft account to login, however, and I do not activate Drive.

    My ongoing experiment with Pop! OS on my former MacBook Pro turned Windows 7 laptop has been pretty successful so far, but Pop! OS is still not ready for civilian use IMHO.

  25. Hmm. All this talk about power helps me realize I and my family may be impacted. We’re in Sonoma County for a funeral over Veterans Day weekend (assuming Kincade Fire is controlled) and staying at a rural AirBNB.
    Probably on well. Probably on septic. Probably going to get hit by PG&E power shut offs.

    Water will be a bigger deal than refrigeration, heat, or light. A generator is not an option (apparently impossible to get / too expensive, and we’re flying in so can’t bring ours). Restaurants close during the blackouts. Gas stations also.

    Bottled water for drinking is easy. A cooler is easy. Flashlights / battery lanterns are easy. A propane stove is easy.

    Water to stay clean is more difficult.

    Things to ponder.

  26. “Water to stay clean is more difficult.”

    –baby wipes. unscented or cool cucumber sensitive.

    –I love baby wipes. I keep a small package in the car and clean my hands after every thrift store.

    n

  27. Supper last night was pretty good. Pork tamales and chili. Both from the freezer.

    The store bought tamales were pork/jalapeno. Not spicy.

    I made the chili. About four cups in a gallon Zip-loc bag, laid flat to freeze and then I sucked out the air. Into the deep freezer. I didn’t date it but the purple ball point pen I labeled the bag with went to the trash a couple of years ago.

    Date code on the tamales said 052504. Vacuumed sealed and the package was like a rock. Fifteen years in the freezer? Well, they tasted fresh.

    No one is sick and I didn’t poison the dogs.

    I did have Plan B. A package of fresh tamales from the store and a can of Wolf Brand chili. The new tamales are in the freezer. I snipped a hole in the package and vacced in a FoodSaver bag. Maybe not for fifteen years, but.


  28. Yup, the guy is inventing things about Trump to make the phone call to Ukraine sound worse. He needs to be marched out of the White House today. His desk needs to be moved to the northern tip of Alaska.

    No, no, too close to Jenny!

  29. @CowboySlim
    About 100 miles north of Utqiagvik would be acceptable.

    ——
    Looks like the AirBNB is septic (lists a cesspit – worked with one back in the 1980’s, easy), fireplace, possibly propane. City water. I think we will manage with some minor planning (baby wipes!). Propane would be good as PG&E has been killing gas supply as well.

    Assuming the fire danger is passed.

  30. FakeBook is pushing me to have my friends donate to a charity of my choice. For my birthday. I’m not a option. So, no. Not doing that. Even if I was an option no one is randomly sending cash my way now.

    You want to give your money away? Fine. Good on ya! But my b’day is the event that causes you to do so? Oh, he11 no.

    Being a butthead, since FB says (somewhere) they don’t take a cut for Merchant Fees, I have to assume they make their money on their taxes as if the charitable contributions were made by FB.

    Well. Tonight’s supper is nachos. I have some leftover taco meat to use. Might have one of the two remaining tamales and some chili on the side.
    Tomorrow is a steak and baked potato. “Where do you want to go for your birthday supper?” was answered with “to the front deck to char a steak”. Heh.

  31. I have to assume they make their money
    Likely enough it’s from kickbacks — er, “collection fees” or “finder’s fees” — paid by the charity, as a fraction of the amount donated.

  32. Paul, you eat well. If I were closer, I would crash your place… politely, of course. 😉

    OTOH, yesterday my wife added a homemade BBQ sauce to some pulled pork she had, and served it with pita from Costco (made in Utah, of all places!) Yum. Nick is right, simple flavorings can really dress up simple food. Winner!

  33. I know a lot of folks that like baby wipes. I don’t. I feel slimy. Yeah, I might smell better but I feel dirtier. It’s like using Caress or Dove soap in the shower.

    I’ll stick with Ivory.

  34. JimB, if you’re in the area come on by.

    Good idea for the pulled pork! I have some of that in the freezer, too. We cook one, eat it for a couple of days and I freeze the rest for later. Sloppy Joes are always a hit here.

  35. @paul, if you have water, and soap, use them of course. If you don’t though, modern baby wipes are ‘teh awesome’.

    The wipes have texture so they scrub better, and are damp more than dripping. The unscented or delicate ones are even better, as they are super gentle.

    In the car I use an HEB brand that is in a plastic sort of bag, with a flip top lid. Those shed a lot of lint.

    The kirkland and huggies are what I buy for my secondary location, and for use at home.

    n

  36. Well, the house is L shaped. With the corner pointed North. The front deck is sheltered.

    This is a bit early for first freeze but….. I remember a few other Winters where I lit the wood stove at this time of year and fed it through March.

    It’s actually not as big of a deal as drama queen Jim Spencer on KXAN is acting.

  37. I’ve mentioned that I get a lot of ‘unusual’ trade magazines. I love them for the window into different worlds and for their esoteric information.

    I’ve started getting militaryaerospace.com magazine for some reason. this month has several good articles, and this one contains a pretty succinct list of frequency usage from HF to UHF.

    https://digital.militaryaerospace.com/militaryaerospace/201910/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=8#pg10

    I’d recommend skimming thru the rest, especially the article about port security with radars, and blended sensors. All of the articles have something interesting in them.

    n


  38. For 8 years in my house I had not had a power outage of more than 5 or 10 minutes.

    Lived in this house 12 years. Our neighborhood has all utilities buried. But at least once a year we have an outage of 4 hrs or more. Twice in the last 5 years we were without power for days. It seems that having buried lines won’t help if the feeder lines are above ground and get hit by falling trees or drunken drivers. This is why I bought a dual fuel 7kw generator a while back. Once we get into the new house I’m going to have an electrician install a connection for it and build a little hut to help with the noise when running. Oklahoma is well known for powerful storms so I will be prepared.

  39. Home. Had donuts for dinner. Big hit with the kids. I’ll be sick tomorrow, but it was delicious tonight.

    n

  40. My current house situation is similar to @Harold’s. Underground utilities in our subdivision, but external power lines surround us. And it does get a bit windy here (WA Olympic Peninsula) several times a year. Outages happen 2-3 times a winter; most are short-lived, because I live in a higher concentration of houses, and those higher concentrations are fixed first.

    But, I have a gas generator (5-6KW). And a bypass switch wired into six circuits of the main panel. Those circuits provide power to the garage (where the chest freezer is), the fridge in the kitchen, the den (where DirecTV and LCD TV are), and the bedroom (where the home oxygen machine for the wife and CPAP for me). LED lights throughout the house. Generator holds about 5 gallons, have 10 gallons extra gas (properly treated).

    Last outage, all of that only used up about 2500 W, so lots of excess capability. Doesn’t power the heat pump, though. And although we have a propane fireplace, it doesn’t put out much heat (and it’s in a room with cathedral ceilings, so wouldn’t really heat the house if we used it. Winter tempts here are rarely below 25F. Newer house with double-pane windows. Propane BBQ out on the back deck for grilling meals if needed.

    Can set up my phone as a wireless hot spot if needed (phone wireless usually survives a power outage), and use it to get updates from the local power company etc.

    And, lots of FLASHLIGHTS – all LEDs, handheld, automatic failover, or LED lantern, of course.


  41. Reminds me of the comic (Johnny Carson?) who said, “Imagine people who don’t drink. When they get up in the morning, that’s the best they’ll feel all day!”

    @JimB – I believe the correct attribution is to Dean Martin, which makes sense given his boozy reputation.

  42. I had the city inspector out this morning to sign off on my natural gas meter install. House came with propane logs, no natural gas available. Last year, it was installed in the neighborhood. I purchased new logs, and had a company install them and connect to the meter. Ready for the occasional power outage in the winter, since the house is on a heat pump.

    I planned ahead and gamed the system a little. When you request a meter, you fill out a form for what you are plan j g to install. I listed the fireplace, along with a backyard grill and fire pit (will likely do it sometime), tankless water heater (not likely), and gas stove top (wife doesn’t want it, so not happening.) The benefit was that I got a bigger 2 psi meter. I won’t have to upsize, and spend more money to do so, in the future.

    I did the same thing with electrical service when we built this house. Builders will do the minimum, and even on a house this size, will only install 200 amp service. I added a 16×25 garage on the side of the house, and I specified a 100 amp sub panel. That got me bumped up to 400 amp service, and only cost $450. Money well spent.


  43. We cook one, eat it for a couple of days and I freeze the rest for later.

    I know all of those words, but that sentence makes no sense. What is this “the rest” you mention?

    I’ll cook, say, a 6- or 8-pound pork shoulder, having cut a quarter or half pound of meat off for my mother-in-law to cook however she wants. After a night in the crock pot, I’ll pull out the bone, leaving 4-6 pounds of meat and fat and a pound or so of water and juices. From that, I’ll pull out a couple pounds of the meat and fat to make pulled pork (with Eastern Carolinas Barbecue Sauce) and throw in a pound of dried beans, a cup of vinegar, a couple cups of water, and some salt, pepper, and brown sugar, stir it up, and cook for another ten hours. My daughter and I will share the pork-n-beans until it’s gone, maybe four days, and I’ll eat all the pulled pork because she doesn’t like the sauce. Leftovers for the freezer? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  44. Got the pc turned on. got teamviewer updated and connected to it. FUCK UPDATES. Seriously. NOTHING on the computer worked until it updated. Software should NOT force an update outside of itself.

    Do you have the connection set up as metered ?(Settings/Network&Internet(ChangeConnectionProperties))? Having that set up and a judicious setting for Active Hours (Settings/Update&Security(ChangeActiveHours)) should give you quite a lot of control for when the downloads and the updates happen. I am assuming the system is Win10 and am not 100% sure about applicability to the Home version.

    The MS update to Skype now has a very confusing attempt to force you into creating yet another account, this one a microsoft account, before you can log in or use skype. …. There is no benefit to her to have the MS account, and a lot of harm as now her old skype names don’t work.Insult to injury, now you have to enter your password every time you start skype, with no apparent way to ‘save my login.’

    Which Skype? Desktop or app? Never mind, I am not a Skype user. Nevertheless, I infer that the computer has a non-MS account user as the primary user. That is the price you pay for not having the MS-Account user as the login user. Everything is geared up to be using an MS-Account that actually provides single sign-on. You start Windows, log-in locally with that account but when you trigger any MS programs or services that need an MS-Account the login User and password are known and used. I have both a local user and an MS-Account user and eventually gave up on the local user. Not loging-in with an MS-Account (using local user login) meant that every time I wanted to use Hotmail and Solitaire I had had to login using the MS-account login to use the services either within that session or on a different session . Under normal circumstances I would recommend having both accounts set-up and loging in with the needed user: MS Account when using Skype. If the use is infrequent it would justify it. Otherwise, just give in. :-). And I do trust MS way more than the others. They have donkeys years of my mail and, at least with them, I do not receive anything unsolicited from them or because of them.

  45. We have underground power in our area. Not necessarily the solution. The area is about fifty years old. Over the years we have had increasing failures, and the time to fix is longer than overhead. I always talk to the workers, who are willing to share a lot. (It’s a bit of an art to know how to approach them without getting the way. Plus, it helps that we are a friendly community.)

    They are now dealing with failing transformers, which are on the surface. This takes two to four hours, and affects several homes, because there are no redundant feeds. A few years ago, it was switchgear, same down time. Once, there was a buried primary line short, which took almost 24 hours to find and fix. To their credit, they isolated the problem, brought in a trailer mounted generator to keep the affected homes powered, and borrowed a HVTDR from 80 miles away. Our power was down only a couple hours at the beginning, and only a few minutes when they finished. But, it was down twice.

    Point is, underground isn’t a magic solution. Matter of fact, I grew up in a neighborhood that had overhead lines, redundant feeds, and all transformers in parallel. During fifteen years, we only had one major outage, about an hour. Remarkable, but good design.

  46. Leftovers for the freezer? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    SteveF, just curious, are you still feeding and caring for that neighbor girl?

  47. That particular girl, no. Her mother got more nuts, won’t let her come over, and freaks out if the girls even talk to each other (if she finds out). However, several other friends, all with at least a Chinese mother and most with a Chinese father, spend time here not because they’re starved or abused at home or anything but because I’m a better cook than their mothers and also can help with their (American school) homework better than their parents can.

  48. Thanks Marcelo, it is win 10 home. I had the metered connection set, and usage hours were essentially 9-5 which is probably the default.

    My mom really doesn’t need a MS account, nor did my dad. They don’t/didn’t use any MS products that needed it. Mom is on AOL for mail, and her apple ipad, dad used yahoo mail and I installed the offline solitaire game after the new to him win10 version drove him mad. Skype used to be independent, and could have remained outside the MS login. The pc is set to just start up and go to the desktop, no log in required.

    Mom only needs the pc to skype with us, and (HA HA HA!) execute the duties of her new position as treasurer of some local community association. It’s a disaster in the making, as she is NOT treasurer material. The current treasurer is a CPA and got everything set up in Quicken. Mom doesn’t want to even INSTALL Quicken, says she’ll do it with paper and generate reports by hand in a word processor. This is a woman who I love with all my heart, but she had to write down how to open the .doc file on a thumbdrive, and how to close it. Step by step. The current treasurer, who has committed to working with mom, is “not a computer person either”.

    I see failure in the future.

    n

  49. Technical support for distant relatives has always been a failure for me. Worse for close in relatives because I could actually touch their keyboard and give their pc the final kiss of death. I try to just say no now.

    With my 81 year old dad, he knows more about computers than I do. Now at failure time, he just runs to the nearest Costco and buys the most expensive pc they have. He loves running his three monitors and that takes a lot of video.

  50. After working for the second largest electric utility in the USA, TXU Electric, for 8 years in the 1980s, I am amazed that anything works for more than a week. Much less for years on end.

    We bought the best equipment we could buy and still had problems we could not control. We had thousands of miles of 345,000 volt high lines. I watched a tornado one night follow one of our 345,000 volt high lines for 30+ miles. We could tell as the substations were tripping offline. Then the lead man and I had to go out in the pouring rain and lightning to open the air breakers with a 100 turn wheel as it pulled an arc of over 9 ft. He was screaming faster, faster as my soaking wet hair under my hard hat was standing on end. Took over a year to get that line back as the tower steel was not readily available.

    I can talk about the power generation equipment for days. We would rip stuff apart and wonder why it was still running. The steam boilers used 3,500 F natural gas or 3,000 F coal. The smallest leak and we would spend two days fanning them down just to get inside. And replace overheated pipe after pipe.

    The steam turbines were awesome right until they threw a blade at you. I saw one burn for six hours when it blew the generator hydrogen cooling seals. We had no problem meeting our $35 million insurance deductible that year.

    So on power generation, transmission, and distribution, been there, done that. It is an incredible amount of work to keep it all going. And a lot of specialized knowledge on how to fix widely varying stuff. Stuff that is always broken or nearly broken.

    If I have heard a vendor engineer say, how did ya’ll do that, Ive heard it a couple of dozen times. We could break stuff in new and unique ways. Oh, expensive too.

  51. You know, the conspiracy theorist in me says that the world series going seven games has been rigged. All that sweet, sweet, sweet ad revenue.


  52. It is an incredible amount of work to keep it all going. And a lot of specialized knowledge on how to fix widely varying stuff. Stuff that is always broken or nearly broken.

    But that 28-year-old guy with the psych degree, who’s lived in NYC his whole life except when he was in college, is better than any of the people who keep the lights on because he’s woke.

  53. Rigged? Sports? Surely you jest.

    Just look at football (as in, soccer) – Fifa is pure as driven snow. Or running athletics competitions in the Middle East, in summer! I mean, why wouldn’t you? Athletes love competing in 50c heat.

  54. I’ve mentioned that I get a lot of ‘unusual’ trade magazines. I love them for the window into different worlds and for their esoteric information.

    Like “Haunted Attraction”?

    I don’t know if they’re still around, but they had some pretty interesting features, including a look inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion with lights on.


  55. I don’t know if they’re still around, but they had some pretty interesting features, including a look inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion with lights on.

    I’m not sure I want to see the Haunted Mansion with the lights on. That is my favorite Disney attraction. Sometimes, I just don’t want to know how the magic works.

    I have been stuck on space mountain. About halfway through the ride, our car jerked to a stop. After a minute or so, they turned the lights on. After another minute or so, a cast member starts getting everyone out of the cars and we have to walk out. As we got out of our car, I glanced behind me and saw the cast member kick the right rear of our car to get the wheels back on the track… Yes, I still go on the ride.


  56. Sometimes, I just don’t want to know how the magic works.

    I cannot comprehend this attitude.
    Not saying your attitude is wrong (I’ll leave that to your wife, heh), just that it’s incomprehensible.

    our car jerked to a stop

    Alternative phrasing: our car stopped with a jerk.

    saw the cast member kick the right rear of our car

    Please, pleeeeease, say it was Daffy Duck losing his temper and kicking the car.


  57. You know, the conspiracy theorist in me says that the world series going seven games has been rigged. All that sweet, sweet, sweet ad revenue.

    Add to that the constant re-tightening of the batting gloves after every swing – that must add another 15 minutes to what is already a much too slow-paced game – certainly enough time to sneak in one more commercial.

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