Tues. May 19, 2020 – just hot

Hot today.

Hot yesterday. REAL hot in the later half of the day. 106F in my driveway in the sun. I was pretty sweaty in the garage.

I’m making slow progress on a couple of areas in the garage. Too hot to work in the driveway yesterday.

Kids are interested in some mods to their play structure. They’re both getting older and I took down the spiral slide last year. Never replaced the slide. I am thinking about a climbing wall, maybe a crack machine. I picked up a bucket of climbing holds at some point, so I just need to figure out structure and how to make it work with what’s already there. Wife is talking about setting up my apocalypse water collector (ie. kiddie pool) and taking down the play structure completely. I think it’s a bit too early to do that. The pool, on the other hand, might need to kill some grass in the shade of the tree. Grass looks so nice I hesitate… we did get word from our swim team and Rec association pool. No swim meets this year, some training for team, while maintaining distancing. Not sure how that’ll work. Pool will open next week with cleaning and distancing rules in place. Sounds sketchy to me. So a wading pool might be necessary, or just wanted. As an aside, the mom’s club FB pages are full of people trying to get an above ground, or fiberglas in ground pool put in pronto. They aren’t gonna be swapping spit at the local rec association pool…

So that’s a long term effect. It might kill some neighborhood pools that were struggling with membership issues or damage from Harvey.

I really don’t see what the endgame and way out of this is, unless it dies out naturally, there is immunity and a reliable test, or a vaccine.

And Hey! Hurricane season is coming! I really need to find my motivation and get busy. I’ve got lots to do still.

And I bet you can think of some stuff to do too.

So get busy, learning, stacking, sorting, and figuring out how to get ahead in this new world.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

92 thoughts on “Tues. May 19, 2020 – just hot”

  1. Another home intruder killed. Not appearing in the linked article but mentioned in at least three others, the guy was naked as he stood in the kid’s room. Guess what was not mentioned in any of the half dozen articles I checked.

    Anyway, good job, homeowner. Feral scumbag population has been reduced.

  2. huh, I have been trying to get the Gravitar thing set up so I can pick my avatar picture, and something in the template stuck the Bio blurb after the post. I still haven’t quite figured out the relationship between wordpress, gravitar, various log ins, this site (wordpress but not a ‘wordpress’ login site) etc.

    It was just something that caught my fancy late at night, and not something I’m interested in spending a lot of time on.

    If I decide to go insane, I’ll spend time trying to remove the parental controls from our Xbox account. THAT is a maddening process of linked sites and log ons with similar but inconsistent language. And BTW Microsoft, I DON”T want a single log on everywhere.

    n

  3. Re. losing health insurance
    It is worse than you may think. In many cases, the employees are losing their jobs because their employer is going out of business. That means that they can’t take COBRA and pay for their insurance themself because there is no continuing plan. Our government builds half-baked systems.


  4. It is worse than you may think. In many cases, the employees are losing their jobs because their employer is going out of business. That means that they can’t take COBRA and pay for their insurance themself because there is no continuing plan. Our government builds half-baked systems.

    Huh, I had no idea about this. Knock on wood, I’ve never had to deal with this. Only 20 more years to worry about it…

  5. Peir 1 is done.

    They’ve been done for a decade, maybe more. The same merchandise is readily available elsewhere for a lot less money, and the generations who shopped at that place when it was hip are retiring and downsizing.

    Retail Archeology on YouTube has a pretty good track record of predicting retail bankruptcies. This was posted in October of last year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12QyhpRY2eI

  6. @SteveF
    And a GoFundMe for the intruder funeral.
    “ very bright and well-mannered young man. He was constantly helping others in his quiet way.”
    “Unexpected tragedy”
    Umm, play stupid games, win leaden prizes.

    This article mentions breed of dog and homeowners occupation and gender of child.
    https://defensemaven.io/bluelivesmatter/news/father-fatally-shoots-man-wearing-nothing-but-mask-in-daughter-s-bedroom-qO9g3zm5sUy-MEu539Qo1Q/2020-05-18T16:28:27.4691850Z/WpTZjuXHd0C-OUEAnRJLoQ/MwvroAOMrE2J-RegQfx5Aw

  7. Always helping others to reach Buddhist enlightenment by relieving them of the burden of too many material possessions.
    Always helping others by supplying items they couldn’t purchase through the racist “white market”.
    Always helping the girls around him to qualify for more welfare by having more kids.

    Any bets on whether any of these is on target?


  8. Umm, play stupid games, win leaden prizes.

    Every thug that is removed from the gene pool is portrayed as a loving, caring, giving, sensitive person who would help anyone. News video of a grieving mother, no father in site, five children by 18 different men, screaming for justice for her baby, standing in front of public housing next to a 1990 Honda Civic with no hubcaps and a broken windshield. The fact that her son has a record, gang tattoos, never finished school, unemployed but has a gold neck chain does not seem strange.


  9. five children by 18 different men

    Heh. “When yo mama a ho.”

    next to a 1990 Honda Civic with no hubcaps and a broken windshield

    Or else a new, large SUV. Lotsa new, giant-ass SUVs in the less affluent areas around here.


  10. Or else a new, large SUV

    With 30” tires on 28” rims, blackout tint, large speakers, 10,000 watt stereo blasting gangster rap.

  11. Come on now, that stuff is just like teeth or claws on a tiger- it’s a visible warning that there is danger ahead.

    n

  12. Or else a new, large SUV. Lotsa new, giant-ass SUVs in the less affluent areas around here.

    Pre-Wuxu Flu, the dealerships around here were starting quietly structure deals with repossession of the old vehicle as part of the financing package to move the $50k trucks and SUVs, especially GM Arlington output.

  13. @Nick
    We enjoy our kiddie pool, though it’s a pretty cold experience. Water rarely goes over 66 Fahrenheit even with a mild boost from my honky hacked (5 gallon bucket livestock) heater. On a hot day (whoa it’s 75!) it’s a brief refreshment.
    It has killed all the grass it sits on. It is a nuisance to keep algae and debris free (I suspect 1,200 gallons is more difficult to chemically balance than 12,000 gallons for same reasons a 20 gallon salt water fish tank is more challenging than 100 gallon). Our trees drop more junk than I realized. I’ve moved it over about 15’, full sun most of the day and nothing remotely close to drop in organic matter. I fully expect the occasional detritus to come over the fence from the neighbors – their youngsters play toss and are working on aim. Not a big deal.

    That climbing wall sounds like a fantastic idea – my kid is missing rock gym fiercely and she’d be on a home built rock wall daily I bet. Plus do it once, light maintenance and done. Hard to beat that…

    13th chick is strong and steady after a little extra care. Everybody is pooping prodigiously so out to the hen house coming weekend. The “awwwww” factor yet outweighs the “ewwwww”.

    Really happy with the automatic watering for the rabbits. Really like the elevated cages. Got the 12’ polycarbonate sheet last night. Installation some evening this week.

  14. There is some weirdness in the reporting of the naked intruder shoot…

    But end of the day, the girl is too young for him to have been the boyfriend sneaking in, he’s NAKED in someone else’s house, and he moved toward a guy with a gun.

    Wonder where his clothes were? Was he naked when he entered?

    n

  15. DataCamp is on the last three days of “free learning”
    They focus on R, Python, and SQL. Most folks here are beyond what they offer but I’m currently finding them pretty handy for my meager R skills and getting thru my machine learning class.

    https://www.datacamp.com/

  16. @Greg
    I could look it up but you’re usually full of information that Google misses…

    what was the name of that weird Sid and Marty Kroft production with Charles Nelson Reilly? The one that was like a really bad acid trip? Oh duh, it just came to me: HR Puffnstuff.

  17. @jim
    I -loved- HR Pufnstuf. It was so weird and creepy. I think it’s why I chose flute when they were handing out band instruments. Sid and Marty Kraft made some brilliantly bizarre kid shows.

  18. I could look it up but you’re usually full of information that Google misses…

    what was the name of that weird Sid and Marty Kroft production with Charles Nelson Reilly? The one that was like a really bad acid trip? Oh duh, it just came to me: HR Puffnstuff.

    Nope, Lidsville. I was a little young for the Krofts early stuff on Saturday mornings, but the local independent, WTOG 44, picked up the syndication package in the 70s, rotating the early shows daily in the same timeslot for a couple of years. I remember Lidsville got yanked really fast though due to something that upset the religious parents.

  19. I -loved- HR Pufnstuf. It was so weird and creepy. I think it’s why I chose flute when they were handing out band instruments. Sid and Marty Kraft made some brilliantly bizarre kid shows.

    The Krofts are still alive and working on new material. It doesn’t always sell, but they have a lot of money stashed to indulge their creativity.

    https://www.sidandmartykrofft.com/


  20. As an aside, the mom’s club FB pages are full of people trying to get an above ground, or fiberglas in ground pool put in pronto.

    Above ground pools around here can be a polarizing topic. Obviously, the people that have installed them like them. However, most everyone else thinks they’re eyesores/trashy/rednecky. Most of the higher end neighborhoods with covenants forbid them.

    I really don’t see what the endgame and way out of this is, unless it dies out naturally, there is immunity and a reliable test, or a vaccine.

    The argument has been made that if this pandemic is now endemic then why in the f*ck are we locked down? It’s now a part of human life. Let’s move on.


  21. It’s now a part of human life.

    If what they’re telling us is true (hahahahahahahaha!) you’re right. It’s here, it’s everywhere, and because of its mutability there will never be a vaccine. (Or not until the common cold and HIV are eradicated at the same time.)

  22. Another home intruder killed. Not appearing in the linked article but mentioned in at least three others, the guy was naked as he stood in the kid’s room. Guess what was not mentioned in any of the half dozen articles I checked.

    Anyway, good job, homeowner. Feral scumbag population has been reduced.

    Definitely a good job by the homeowner. Mentally disturbed people like that tend to come back.

    I am now carrying a gun when I walk at night. It is getting crazy out there and there seems to be people looking for opportunistic conditions. Don’t be their opportunity.

  23. If he’s 6’3″ and 220 lbs, that’s a BMI of 27.5, making him “overweight”, not “obese” let alone morbidly obese. Dr Nancy. Maybe she learned that when her fridges talk to her?

    He’s not skinny though.

  24. It has killed all the grass it sits on. It is a nuisance to keep algae and debris free (I suspect 1,200 gallons is more difficult to chemically balance than 12,000 gallons for same reasons a 20 gallon salt water fish tank is more challenging than 100 gallon). Our trees drop more junk than I realized. I’ve moved it over about 15’, full sun most of the day and nothing remotely close to drop in organic matter. I fully expect the occasional detritus to come over the fence from the neighbors – their youngsters play toss and are working on aim. Not a big deal.

    Do you have a pump and filter ? When we had an above ground pool, I turned off the cheap pump and filter when we went on vacation. Big mistake, I came back to an algae filled nightmare. I dumped the algae and refilled from scratch.

  25. If he’s 6’3″ and 220 lbs, that’s a BMI of 27.5, making him “overweight”, not “obese” let alone morbidly obese. Dr Nancy. Maybe she learned that when her fridges talk to her?

    He’s not skinny though.

    Oh gosh, I am 6’1″ and 245 lbs with a BMI of 32. I guess that Dr. Nancy is going to call me a fattie too.

  26. DataCamp is on the last three days of “free learning”
    They focus on R, Python, and SQL. Most folks here are beyond what they offer but I’m currently finding them pretty handy for my meager R skills and getting thru my machine learning class.

    Now you are beyond me. I have played with Python but never R or SQL.

    After my experience with Smalltalk, I prefer bare metal languages, C and C++. I write Fortran because, I have to.

  27. A word of caution from my home financing expert here in Houston, Cathy Baker:

    “Greetings Everyone!

    I hope this email finds you happy and healthy.

    Many of you have been hearing the word ‘forbearance’ thrown around in the news, online or wherever, in regards to mortgage payments. It is a circumstance where someone, who is suffering a temporary hardship, such as a job loss or serious illness, may be able to postpone a mortgage payment or two.

    Forbearance is not forgiveness. The money still has to be paid back, with interest. Like everything else you take longer to pay for, whether it’s a long term car note or an accumulating credit card balance, it’s going to cost you more.

    Although initially this may sound like…”If it’s too good to be true…it is”!

    Forbearance is so harmful to your credit, and should only be used in case of absolute EMERGENCY (if you are in dire straits).

    The company servicing your loan will say they won’t report your payments as late, but it’s what they are not saying that’s going to hurt you.

    When you’re in bankruptcy, there are no ‘late’ payments showing up, but it doesn’t mean it’s not hurting you, right?

    The second you click on that box or tell someone “yes, I want to skip a payment”, it immediately goes on your credit report showing forbearance. When that happens, you’re done.

    It’s similar to having a credit report showing a bankruptcy or foreclosure. By having the word forbearance on your credit report, you are unable to refinance your loan for at least twelve months, except ‘possibly’ with the evil company that put the forbearance there.

    Bottom line. If there is anyway to avoid forbearance, do it.

    I’m going to end this with some great news. If you want to refinance your loan, while rates are historically low, you can skip a payment and if you time it right you can skip two payments!”


  28. Oh gosh, I am 6’1″ and 245 lbs with a BMI of 32. I guess that Dr. Nancy is going to call me a fattie too.

    Dr Nancy is ok to call you fattie, because the prohibition on fat shaming only applies to those who vote democrat. Non-democrats are fair game.

  29. Well, just placed an instacart order with HEB, should have a pile of food in the next hour or so. HEB charges more to the instacart people, and you miss out on the in store coupons. Prices looked to be about 15-20% higher than I used to pay in store. Don’t know what the current prices are compared to olden times…

    One of the cheapest beef options was Prime top sirloin at ~$7.25/pound. They had another prime sirlion option at <$7/pound. Freaking stew meat was more than that. We'll see if any of my stuff gets subbed. I was able to order pretty much exactly what I wanted, including my particular white bread (Sara Lee- it doesn't tear when you put peanut butter on it.) There are usually only about 2-4 "faces" of the bread in the store... out of a half an aisle and I have to search for it in person. n n

  30. Huh, Trump is gaining weight during his presidency? Didn’t most of the others lose weight, coming out haggard and gaunt?

    Most of the ex’s look beat up.

    n


  31. I came back to an algae filled nightmare

    I used to constantly have a problem with algae in my in-ground pool. Pump was run 14 hours a day, chemicals properly balanced, etc. But every once in awhile the algae would appear overnight. Once that started it was a struggle with lots of algaecide and severe shock (lots of chlorine) to get rid of the algae. Once I got black algae and that took a couple weeks to eradicate.

    Then we figured out the cause. We would go swimming in the lake. Come home and sometimes go swimming in the pool without washing the swimming apparel. The algae from the lake got in our swimming stuff would then get in the pool water and explode overnight.

    Pool is not yet opened this year. I had to replace some piping for the pump and filter. Mostly done and what is left can wait until the winter. Will open sometime this week, probably Thursday or Friday. There is a small leak and have lost about 14 inches of water over the winter through the leak. Will cost a lot to top it off as I have to pay sewage fees on the water that is used. Probably about a $250.00 water bill in the next billing cycle. Water here is expensive, sewer is twice what the water cost.

  32. “13 Best Science Fantasy Books” by Dan Livingston
    https://best-sci-fi-books.com/13-best-science-fantasy-books/

    I have read five of the 13. “Tales of the Dying Earth” by Jack Vance, the excellent “The Planet Savers” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, the average “Lord of Light” by Roger Zelazny, the most excellent “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, and “Dragonflight” by Anne McCaffrey.

  33. Huh, Trump is gaining weight during his presidency? Didn’t most of the others lose weight, coming out haggard and gaunt?

    Most of the ex’s look beat up.

    I think that Obola was smoking three packs a day.

  34. Pool is not yet opened this year. I had to replace some piping for the pump and filter. Mostly done and what is left can wait until the winter. Will open sometime this week, probably Thursday or Friday. There is a small leak and have lost about 14 inches of water over the winter through the leak. Will cost a lot to top it off as I have to pay sewage fees on the water that is used. Probably about a $250.00 water bill in the next billing cycle. Water here is expensive, sewer is twice what the water cost.

    The EPA has been quietly forcing all sewage treatment plants to produce cleaner water than what they are pumping the cleaned sewage water into. In most cases, the treated sewage water is drinkable now. The cost of the ultrapure filtration systems is very high since those are generally not regeneratable filters such as an iron clarifyer bed, activated charcoal, etc.

  35. Regarding house refinancing – we refinanced our house about six weeks ago. Settled on a rate of 3.5% (reduced from original 4.5%) for $500k. Took $20K extra out – for an anticipated purchase of a newer vehicle, which has been delayed for now.

    Part of the impetus was to get rid of the mortgage insurance that was required because we didn’t have enough down payment when we bought the house 5 1/2 years ago. Net result was a payment reduction of about $250/month. We had started the process before the virus madness.

    Refinance rates have gone even lower – I believe I saw some at 2.5% a couple of days ago. But the reduction in payment is ‘good enough’ for us – no need to refinance again.

    In other news, we got an email notice yesterday from SS that our stimulus check is finally on the way. Will be auto-deposited with our normally monthly SS check at the end of the month, apparently. (Correction: paper check arrived in today’s mail. Deposited via my bank’s phone app.)

  36. DataCamp is on the last three days of “free learning”
    They focus on R, Python, and SQL. Most folks here are beyond what they offer but I’m currently finding them pretty handy for my meager R skills and getting thru my machine learning class.

    I fake it through SQL and my Python is “good enough”.

    Python has SQLite built in which can be very handy. You can always scale up to MySQL fairly easily later on as your project grows.

  37. “Nancy Pelosi fears for ‘morbidly obese’ Trump after hydroxychloroquine admission”

    Please. Stretch obviously has some kind of early onset dementia going, and she’s probably a regular at the UCSF specialty clinic up the hill from her house if not part of a trial of something a lot more experimental than hydroxychloroquine.

  38. “Early onset”? Pelosi is like a century and a half old. Don’t be fooled by her youthful good looks.


  39. In most cases, the treated sewage water is drinkable now

    That is the problem my city faces. It was forced by the EPA to spend millions to upgrade the treatment plant. Only about 1,500 people on the sewer system. That spread keeps the cost high. Along with the daily operational costs the expense is huge for a small city. There is some help from the state but not enough.

    Oak Ridge is being forced to reline (or replace) all their sewer lines. Even the laterals to the homes are mandated by the EPA to be replaced. The home owner has to pay the cost to have the lateral lines replaced.

    Where Mr. RickH lives there is a place called Beckett Point. I am certain he knows the location, big curve at the top of the hill, road to the left as one is traveling down to the point, 4th house on the road. Some system where the homeowners have a 99 year lease on the land so never really own the property. Taxes are paid to the association which pays taxes to the state and county. My aunt and uncle owned two lots up on the hill overlooking the point.

    I really wanted to keep the place and eventually perhaps move into the area. But Beckett Point was forced by the state, EPA, Godzilla, whatever, to get rid of the septic tanks for all the homes. This required The Beckett Point association to install a sewer system. Millions of dollars as several pumping stations were required. Each lot was assessed a charge of $25,000.00 as their share of the sewer expense.

    The property my aunt and uncle owned, and which would transfer to me, included two lots. My cost would have been $50,000.00 which I did not have and would have difficulty acquiring. Thus I was forced to sell the property. Sad because the view from the place was awesome with an unobstructed view of Discovery Bay looking out over the point.

    I would have had to sell anyway to pay for my aunt’s care in assisted living. If I had still owned the property when I put her on Medicaid the state would have placed a lien against the property which would have forced a sale. Four years in a nursing home at $4K a month would have consumed the entire value of the property.


  40. Stretch obviously has some kind of early onset dementia going

    Which I think she is treating with lots of ice cream and booze.

  41. “Early onset”? Pelosi is like a century and a half old. Don’t be fooled by her youthful good looks.

    I think she’s had some form of dementia for at least a decade. You can see it in her eyes in the footage of her carrying that gavel into the Obamacare vote.

  42. At the Austin house I had two “snap set” pools on the patio. Side by side. I rigged up a siphon with two inch PVC from one to the other. I had a pool filter drawing from one and feeding the other. I used hot tub chems.

    Worked great. I had plenty of X-10 stuff to control the pumps. Yes, plural. I bought a 100 feet roll of half inch black plastic pipe. I arranged it in a coil on a four feet square scrap of plywood. Drilled a lot of holes and sort of sewed the pipe to the wood with waxed twine. Next was a $50 sump pump. In one pool and discharging into the other.

    Yes. Somewhat crazy. But it all worked well for four or five years. Oh, I had to replace the pools every year. The X-10 timer was programmed to run during the day to heat the water. The filter pump ran one on and one off day around. I would set the pools up mid March and take down mid October.

    Eight feet across by almost two feet deep pools. Just the size to float on a mattress… kind of like a rotisserie. I taught the kid how to swim, too. That was a lot of fun.

  43. Instacart came and went, all groceries put away.

    If it weren’t extra expensive, I’d get to like this.

    n

  44. Instacart came and went, all groceries put away.

    If it weren’t extra expensive, I’d get to like this.

    Keep in mind that the cost is still subsidized by private equity hoping to achieve escape velocity as a “first mover”.

  45. There’s no good reason (that I can think of) why a mostly-automated grocery warehouse couldn’t handle everything but produce, and maybe even that. Have a “dispenser” for each PLU of canned and boxed item sploop the correct number into the bin when it comes by, or onto the conveyor belt. Probably we’d need humans to pack the boxes for transport, though they need not be packed too well as they won’t be mailed, and humans to pick or inspect the produce. Load a couple dozen boxes into someone’s van, or even into a self-driving buggy. (They’re almost here! Any day now! I’ve seen the press releases!) The cost to the consumer should be comparable to big-box grocery stores because operating costs (minus the driver) would be lower. Startup cost would be a bear, probably.

  46. It takes me about the same amount of time overall to go thru the website and fill my cart, and then wait for delivery, as it does to go to the store and walk the aisles myself. But it’s time I have AT HOME and it can happen anytime of the day or night. So they’ve disconnected grocery shopping from time, just like on demand video programming. Which is the killer app part of it. The pandemic and stay at home orders might get them over the adoption hump, and on to be a real business. Time shifting is what they are really selling.

    Making a living shopping in an airconditioned store, and doing a couple of dropoffs, is better than digging ditches.

    n

  47. Congrats Steve, you invented Service Merchandise!

    I think amazon pick and pack warehouses are as close as you can get at the moment, and they still use a lot of humans… we’re just more flexible.

    n

  48. It takes me about the same amount of time overall to go thru the website and fill my cart, and then wait for delivery, as it does to go to the store and walk the aisles myself.

    Yes, that’s how my try of HEB’s pickup service went. I sat on my butt in the parking lot for 20 minutes waiting….

    Sure, I don’t have to unload my cart onto the check stand belt. I also don’t see “cool / interesting / new” stuff while shopping on-line vs walking the store. Or even coupons…

    For me, timewise, I’m going to the store. But for stocking the pantry, on-line shopping is almost worth the extra cost.

    Time shifting is what they are really selling.

    Bingo! We have a winner! 🙂

    Oh, and for me, Home Delivery is not an option. Sucks to be me living a mile from the paved road in the middle of 25 acres and not having to wear clothes. Poor me.

  49. Congrats Steve, you invented Service Merchandise!

    Service Merchandise. Standard Sales. Leeds. Wilson’s. I’m sure there were other regional players I’m missing. Sears was the big player in the 70s, and a lot of other stores chased a hybrid model, both retailers and conglomerations which got way too big. IIRC, Mobil funded Standard Sales.

    Service Merchandise was the last one standing thanks to the subsidy of their jewelry counter and a much-rumored non-compete deal with WalMart which ran until the 90s, but, like the others, they couldn’t control the employee theft in the warehouses, especially once SMC bought out Wilson’s and combined the workforces/stores.

  50. @Paul
    I love your pool heater!
    In India they have a word for that kind of ingenuity and if you plug it into YouTube you’ll have a lot of fun.

    Jugaad

  51. Congrats Steve, you invented Service Merchandise!

    I think amazon pick and pack warehouses are as close as you can get at the moment, and they still use a lot of humans… we’re just more flexible.

    Walmart put Service Merchandise out of its misery thank goodness. Paying for something and then waiting 10 to 20 minutes for the warehouse dude to get off break was always frustrating.

    Bezos’s people are working on robots that can pick and pack. Once that is done and they are less than $250,000 each, Big River will buy a 100,000 of them. Maybe 200,000. Integrate them into a delivery vehicle and the Brown Truck Service will divest of 250,000 employees also.

  52. Oh, and for me, Home Delivery is not an option. Sucks to be me living a mile from the paved road in the middle of 25 acres and not having to wear clothes. Poor me.

    No, no, no. TMI, TMI, TMI !!!

    BTW, the Fort Bend County Appraisal District raised the value of my 14 acre commercial property from $27,000/acre to $40,000/acre this year. Including the buildings, that is going to put my property well over $20,000 in property tax this year, maybe $25,000. I hope that does not happen to your spread there as Austin continues to urbanly sprawl to the north.

    I want to add more buildings but the Fort Bend County Fire Marshall will not let me get a building permit without adding a $200,000 fire fighting 10,000 gallon water tank and pumps with a black out diesel generator first. I am still thinking about it.

  53. I saw 96 F on my truck thermometer this afternoon. Toasty. Getting ready for a long hot summer around here.

  54. Walmart put Service Merchandise out of its misery thank goodness. Paying for something and then waiting 10 to 20 minutes for the warehouse dude to get off break was always frustrating.

    During his break, the warehouse dude was probably loading Alpine car stereos into his truck. When I worked for SMC, I think I was the only person not helping myself to something in the warehouse on occasion.

    WalMart and Service Merchandise had a rumored founders’ handshake non-compete to avoid interfering with each others’ loss leaders items such as guns/ammo and toys, but their big money makers were different.


  55. Probably about a $250.00 water bill in the next billing cycle. Water here is expensive, sewer is twice what the water cost.

    I guess so. Assuming a 20 x 50′ pool, 14″ is approximately 1200 cu ft of water. Our incremental water rate here for that usage tier is approximately $1.38 per hundred cu ft, so we would pay $17.00 for that amount. I guess I shouldn’t complain. And, we live in a desert, although there is water below.

    Our water is supplied by a private company, which of course is subject to lots of federal regulations, including arsenic abatement, the costliest addition in the last forty years. Still, we average $70 per month over a typical year. In the summer, we typically use just under 4400 cu ft per month, and in winter less than 500. We don’t have sewer, so no additional charge for that. It costs about $500 every ten years to have our septic tank serviced.

  56. “CDC: Arkansas coronavirus outbreak linked to church services”
    https://www.axios.com/cdc-arkansas-church-coronavirus-outbreak-fb265e5a-5db7-4ace-9bc4-098e0d09e7fd.html

    “35 of the 92 people (38%) who attended services at a rural Arkansas church March 6–11 tested positive for the coronavirus, ultimately killing three, according to a case study released Tuesday by the CDC.”

    If I were a suspicious man, I would say that somebody went in the church with SARS-COV-2 in an aerosol bottle right before the service and sprayed it into the air. If that stuff was that prevalent, we would have 100,000 people infected here in Fort Bend County just from going to Walmart, Costco, and HEB.

    Hat tip to:
    http://drudgereport.com/


  57. You can see it in her eyes
    I thought that was just unadulterated evil.

    Could be. I used to think it was some sort of craziness, but evil fits better.

    Don’t ask how I know craziness. I won’t even try to use a clinical term.

  58. I’m disappointed that no one responded to my assertion about Pelosi’s youthful good looks. -sigh- Some days it’s not even worthwhile to troll.

  59. Not a terrible idea. Most Penny’s stores haven’t been remodeled since the catalog sales ended in 2009 so the real estate is in place for distribution/returns. The problem will be what to do with the store employees unless Amazon buys the name and real estate out of bankruptcy.

    https://www.investors.com/news/technology/amazon-stock-up-jcpenney-acquisition-report/

    Looks like the Amazon deal with Kohl’s may not last:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/sanfordstein/2020/01/09/did-kohls-and-amazons-footfall-deal-fail/#4a306fcb50be

    The JCP stores at the malls are big stores. 75,000 ??? to 150,000 ??? sq ft. And most of them are revenue sharing leases. I just don’t see Big River taking them over.

    Of course, the various malls might be willing to renegotiate the leases. Otherwise, they might get a Tootsie’s Secondhand Goods taking a quarter of the space.

    I have not been to a mall in years. Maybe a decade.

  60. Regarding ordering stuff, I order small amounts from various places, and the experience always varies. Just before the pandemic hit, I happened to go to our Super Walmart, about 1.5 miles from my house, for normal shopping. Two or three trips I looked for the transmission fluid I wanted, and it was out of stock. One time, I even asked an employee, who couldn’t find it. Frustrated, I looked at their web site, and it was supposed to be in stock at my store, but there was also an invitation to order for free home delivery. I even got a slight price break if I ordered a dozen quarts, which I wanted. Win!

    Lesson: sometimes it pays to sit on my keester and look at a screen, but not always. I have ordered and had to pick up the goods at the store, which is not very convenient, especially when it is four tires. Interesting about the tires: one time, I had to pick them up, but the next the only option was free home delivery. Tough choice.

    Ours must be one of the few Super Walmarts that doesn’t have an auto center. Story is that the local lobbyists forced the company to not have one. There is even a stub on the building where it would be, but isn’t. Doesn’t matter to me; I have my own shop, and enjoy using it.


  61. I’m disappointed that no one responded to my assertion about Pelosi’s youthful good looks. -sigh- Some days it’s not even worthwhile to troll.

    Aw, I thought you were being serious 😉

  62. Re automated grocery shopping: here’s one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1CIONBJzbQ

    Interesting….

    Looks like something out of the Jetsons. Except the cars do not fly into the store.

    So many things wrong with that. How do they get a wrecker in there when a car does not start or the tranny fails ? Is there a worker in the basement restocking the rollaround ? Do you have to shut the vehicle off or can you continue to pump noxious fumes into the store air ?


  63. I’m disappointed that no one responded to my assertion about Pelosi’s youthful good looks.

    I don’t question a person’s perception of beauty. Or I didn’t want to make fun of your serious vision problems.

  64. Looks like the Amazon deal with Kohl’s may not last:

    The Kohl’s stores around here were trashed by that deal. People buy a lot of junk from Big River, especially at Christmas, and Kohl’s was not set up for the volume of the returns or the demographics walking through the doors.

  65. I’d be in the store shopping if not for the wuflu. I like to see the new items, I use HEB in store coupons extensively (they are only on the shelf), and I pick the best meat/veg/fruit, and other stuff with the longest BB dates.

    I can usually save between 10 and 15% off the total bill buying items based on the coupons and seasonal sales. I also almost always find something on the Clearance shelves to save even more.

    But this way, I’m only dealing with 2 people, and at arms length, rather than all the people in the store, and all the people that were there before me.

    I LIKE shopping for our food. and I miss doing it.

    n


  66. automated grocery shopping

    Seems like a great way to make the store really inefficient. The cashier is very underutilized, for instance.

    @SteveF you should have sexed it up with a suggestion of using adenochrome or drinking babies’ blood.

  67. @lynn
    Yes to the pool filter. I don’t remember the model, but it’s one size up from the one that comes with the 12′ 30″ pool. I’ve been tempted by the salt water filter option but can’t really justify close to $300 shipped for something we use a couple months a year. Current filter runs 24×7.

    13 best – I’ve read several of these. Really liked “The Compleat Enchanter”, read but don’t recall “The Many-colored Land” and “Black Sun Rising” or “Bone Dance”, thought “Lord of Light” was pretty interesting, found the Amber series more creative and interesting but maybe it wasn’t sciencey enough for this list. Liked “A Wrinkle in Time” but not the movies. Enjoyed “Dragonflight” but wouldn’t have considered it a contender for ‘top 13’.

    @Greg
    I love playing in SQL. It’s probably my strongest area when it comes to that genre of IT.

    @ray
    Brilliant discovery with the algae.

    @paul
    I’m intrigued by what you did with the pools.
    The black plastic pipe I understand. It’s on my ‘to do’ list to make our pool more usable. And I understand the physical layout of the sump pump, dual pools, discharge pipe, etc., I think.

    What I am not tracking is, why two pools?

    @Nick
    We’ve used Instacart several times in lieu of standing in line at Costco. It’s astonishingly fast and the expense is worth it right now. I used Instacart once for our local grocer – I prefer using the local grocer’s service of curbside pickup. Rarely more than 10 minutes from pulling into the designated spot to departing. We tend to buy the same stuff at the same rate so the online shopping is saving me a lot of time and saving money on the ‘oh yeah we need that too’isms.

    @jim
    Jugaad. Honky hacked. whatever.

    I’m procrastinating…
    Now I need to get crackin’ on the rest of the rabbitry. Up next – painting the lumber prior to assembly.

  68. After my experience with Smalltalk, I prefer bare metal languages, C and C++.

    +1.

  69. The kids are playing Simpson’s Road Rage on the xbox and it sounds like someone put a dolphin in a blender….

    So many squeals.

    n

  70. I love playing in SQL. It’s probably my strongest area when it comes to that genre of IT.

    SQLite can do a lot and is worth taking a look at if you haven’t already.


  71. Or I didn’t want to make fun of your serious vision problems.

    How much wood alcohol does one have to drink for Nancy Pelosi to no longer look hideous?

  72. @Greg
    Will do. I’ve got Microsoft SQL, Oracle’s SQL (stale skill set), and MySQL. Always fun adding more.

  73. The kids are playing Simpson’s Road Rage on the xbox and it sounds like someone put a dolphin in a blender….

    Find a copy of “The Simpsons: Hit and Run” if you don’t already own it. It is, in theory, a kinder, gentler “Grand Theft Auto III”, but my kids were creative with the cartoon violence.

    Of course, after the kids go to bed, “Grand Theft Auto III” still entertains as well as its successors, especially if you know where to find the flame thrower in the beginning of the game.

    Cue George Carlin.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk7JHCnOmtY

  74. @Greg
    Is it wrong that I still have my copy of “The Simpsons: Hit and Run” for Playstation 2?
    Ok. Now I’m really going to get to work on the rabbitry.


  75. How much wood alcohol does one have to drink for Nancy Pelosi to no longer look hideous?

    Ask the Iranians. Weren’t they the COVID cure drinkers.

  76. My son gave us his 4 person inflatable Coleman spa he bought new for $325 at Walmart and used all last summer. It was stored well in a cool, dry place. When I inflated it, I found it deflated in about 40 min. That’s a big leak. Yet I can’t hear any leak or find anything with spray on soapy water. I want to use it for our granddaughter. I’d buy a new one but the nearest thing on Walmart or Amazon is around $1000. I am stumped.

  77. The kids are playing Simpson’s Road Rage on the xbox and it sounds like someone put a dolphin in a blender….

    So many squeals.

    Oh, before I forget — the MAME arcade game emulator does an *excellent* job with the old Simpsons arcade game ROM even on a fairly aged PC. Get four Logitech game pads with analog sticks, hook the PC up to a big TV, and fire up the game.

  78. WRT fancy Nancy, even drinking enough that there was 6 ft of dirt in between you and her wouldn’t be enough…

    People must love their old versions of S:H&R because I’ve never seen it in a thrift store. I love the old games. If the gameplay was good, it was good. Adding beautiful scenery or a unique visual quirk won’t save a bad game. I’ve got the xbox, and the 360 hooked to the tv in the living room. I’ve got the One in the bedroom but have not played a single game on it. I probably should.

    I’ve got a dead wii, and never got into the PlayStations, but I have a 2 and a 3 in boxes if I found something compelling to play. I might get a wii switch, maybe.

    I don’t have MAME running on anything at the moment, but I have a couple of trackballs in the box for when I do get it set up again. I love Crystal Castles. Xevious, Duel, marvin’s maze, Time Pilot, all play well. I loved Sinistar, but MAME never played right.. Jeez, I can still remember the levels on Time Pilot… I put a lot of quarters in that game.

    I found a version of Lemmings that plays in a browser online, but it’s not quite the same. The countdown and {{shake}} before their heads popped still makes me laugh.

    I had to stop playing GTA shortly after I got it. It made me aggro and aggressive. Didn’t like that.

    I’ve got a SGR stack like Lynn has a SBR (to be read pile.) I keep thinking I’ll install the PC versions of a couple, but I don’t because I’d sit here all day.

    Wife and kids are playing Portal2 in coop mode…. and wife tried to boot Oblivion tonight. Damn family controls settings won’t let her play, and we can’t figure out where to shut them off. OF COURSE we don’t remember the pin…

    n

  79. I’ve got a SGR stack like Lynn has a SBR (to be read pile.)

    SBR = strategic book reserve

    so I am assuming that SGR = strategic game reserve

    The only computer game that I play is Spider Solitaire. Four suits of course.

  80. @nick
    If you feel like unpacking and setting up the PS2 I’ll mail you my Simpson’s Hit and Run. It’s really fun.
    Lemmings was fantastic- I’d forgotten about that game.

  81. @Jenny, thanks! I’ll let you know. My wife and I are not “gamers” as such, but we do play certain things, or we DID before we got busy with kids. Now the kids are old enough we can share some of our favorite games, just like we are sharing our favorite books and movies… Gotta clone the mini-me’s.

    Turns out that a casual comment by me, triggered her to look again, and found where the many-times-damned setting was on the xbox. It was ON the xbox, and not part of xbox live, or any of our many microsoft accounts. So after jumping thru some hoops she turned off the family settings and promptly loaded up the Orange Box version of original Portal and started playing again…

    Portal, the Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim series, the Oddworld series, some Assassin’s Creed, and a few others sucked up our time for years. We like open world games, but NOT online MOMPRPG or whatever the acronym is.

    She just suggested moving the xboxOne to the living room so the kids can play the new version of Minecraft (It has PANDAS!!!1!!1!!1!!111!!) so I might be moving some stuff around. That might be a good time to add a console 🙂

    I’ve been reluctant to start any new or even old games, because I can see myself getting sucked in. My wife (for example) played thru Skyrim 2 times, as different characters, getting to the head of every guild, completing every quest, building homes in every city, etc… I never even started the mainline quest. We each have many hundreds of hours of gameplay, and yet it’s been literal years since we last played. (Wife did the same thing with ALL the Morrowind series games.)

    I’ll let you know when the current wallow thru some of the classics shows signs of ending, and we start looking for something new 🙂

    n

    (funny to add “video games” to the list of media we love and want to share with the kids)


  82. We each have many hundreds of hours of gameplay…

    I can identify… I hear a battery calling. Listen! Quiet!! I’ll be right back…

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