Sat. Dec. 26, 2020 – Boxing Day. And counting down to the New Year.

Cool and damp-ish.  Supposed to be clear though.

Yesterday was cold to  start but got up into the 70s by mid-afternoon.  It was 44F at midnight.

Spent Christmas with the family.  Lots of good gifts were exchanged.  I got an ESR tester, and an LCR tester.  Those will bring my electronics troubleshooting  ability up a notch.  The LCR tester will measure values for coils and chokes which are common in radio projects.  That should be helpful if I ever get the time to work on stuff.

I got a set of Surefire Ear Defenders.  I usually use 3M foam ear plugs, but these are reusable, and cut loud and percussive sounds more than quiet sounds.  They were effective and comfortable for all the blowing I did yesterday.   They seem to do what they promise.  I’ll have to try them at the range, if I get to the range again.

In the list of things I’ve gotten in the last year or that lasted through it that are really cool/useful/actually work  –  the inductive desk charger for my phone is a joy to use.  Plugging in a phone nightly isn’t hard.  It does wear out your port, but it’s not HARD, so spending $18 or more on a charger dock seems unnecessary.   However, it works and it’s super convenient.  I won’t buy another phone without it built in.

I really like my Toro battery powered lawn mower.   I wish it walked just a bit faster, but it works, it’s quiet, and it doesn’t use up my stored gas.  The battery will self discharge so pull it if you go weeks between uses.

I’ve got more than a dozen kindles, but I use the backlit paperwhite most often.  The reading experience is great.  If you only get one, that’s the one to get for reading books.

My EDC flashlight is a Pelican 1920 two AAA battery light.  I love how it feels in the hand, the brightness is great, battery life is good with eneloops.   The endcap switch rubber cover can tear.   Still recommended.

I love my Dewalt 20v liON leaf blower.  It’s small, hand held, has 3 speeds and a VSR trigger.  I use it most days to clear the porch, blow leaves out of the garage, or to blow hair, dust, and debris out of the house.  5AH battery is a must.

Having 4 and 5AH LiON dewalt batteries and the 18v tool battery adapter lets me finally use my battery angle grinder, sawzall, and circular saw as I wanted to from the beginning.   If you own dewalt 18v NiMH tools that you like, get some 20v LiON batteries/charger and the adapter.  New life for old tools.  Ditto if you have Milwaukee or other good NiMH tools.  Look for the adapter and appropriate LiON batteries.

I have a grease storage tank/bin on the kitchen counter.  I’ve linked to it on amazon before.  I love cooking with bacon grease, and love that I’m saving it for reuse.  Very convenient.

The last for now is maybe a bit odd.  I have a little mini swing top trash can on my bathroom counter.  They sell them for use on coffee bars or in bathrooms.   I use breathe*rite strips at night.  The strips have a bandaid type shiny paper outer cover, but they also have two little paper strips to cover the adhesive.  The paper strips go everywhere when you toss them toward a trashcan.  The used breatherite strip is still sticky and will end up stuck to everything, so I peal open the outer cover, leave it on the counter, and peal the two paper strips.  The paper strips go into the little trash can.  In the morning, I stick the used strip to the outer paper envelop, then throw that into the little can.  That little can made a big difference in my bathroom so even though it’s an odd little thing, I’m recommending it.  Those are the only things I put into it.

I figure I need to do an actual prepping post sometime soon.  Maybe it will just be a link roundup, or maybe I’ll manage to write something new.  Either way, if there’s anything anyone wants to hear more about, let me know in a comment.

In the absence of orders, keep stacking the stuff you use all the time.  Can’t go wrong with that.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

58 thoughts on “Sat. Dec. 26, 2020 – Boxing Day. And counting down to the New Year.”

  1. Dilbert: Wally Does Three Jobs

    And there is the reason I will not have remote employees anymore.

    The “Wally” on my last job came from one of the defense contractors in Texas. On paper and in the interview he looked great, but, once hired, he self classified “ROJ” and lived that lifestyle, complete with Cadillac coupe, “driving” hat/gloves, and downsized house purchased to be near the adult child most likely to produce grandchildren. The end of the workday was 4PM.

    Three jobs? Our Wally wasn’t even trying at one. The pandemic only made things worse.

    Once hired, Texas makes it very hard to fire Wallys (Walli?) for cause and avoid UI without a lot of documentation of inadequacies, but work has to get done at some point.


  2. If you only get one, [the Kindle Paperwhite is] the one to get for reading books.

    Unless you’ve cut the ends off of a number of your fingers and when you put them back on they were dead so far as touchscreens are concerned. That’s why I prefer the Kindle 3s and 4s, with the buttons on the sides.

  3. There are highs and lows when dealing with Christmas. I remember some really good Christmas’. This year was the lowest of the lows. I doubt I will ever enjoy Christmas ever again. This is the year that Christmas died.

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  4. There are highs and lows when dealing with Christmas. I remember some really good Christmas’. This year was the lowest of the lows. I doubt I will ever enjoy Christmas ever again.

    The church telecast must have been cool with all the work you invested.

  5. @Ray, Something you haven’t mentioned, or just all the normal crap piled higher?

    I usually find the Holidays to be pretty melancholy despite all my obvious blessings. With my sibling’s near miss this year, I feel pretty good. It is weird getting the gifts my dad used to get. It’s like SOMEONE needs to get Fiddle Faddle at Christmas, and since dad’s not here, I’m next in line. Literally replacing my dad, even in something as small as that, kinda freaks me out.

    n

  6. @Ray
    Not much I can say.
    If we were sittin’ around the campfire I’d pass the good stuff.
    Travel safely if you are still on the road.

  7. The church telecast must have been cool with all the work you invested.

    I wasn’t there for the candlelight service. I turned the equipment on Wednesday, configured the settings, and just left it alone. The stream starts automatically and I monitored from the hotel room.

    Something you haven’t mentioned, or just all the normal crap piled higher?

    Extra abnormal crap. Worse than what I posted earlier. Did not think the pile could get much higher. It did. I prefer to not go into details at this point. Lowest of lows in my life thus far. Christmas day will become a time that I now despise.

    I’d pass the good stuff

    Thanks for the offer. Never did any stuff, good or bad. Unless you are talking about passing an ice cold Dr. Pepper.

    Travel safely if you are still on the road

    Came back on Friday, Christmas day. Some snow but nothing that affected traffic. Surprising number of people on the road.

  8. Sympathies, Ray.

    As for the Dr Pepper, it’s drinkable only cold, preferably ice-cold. Warm Dr Pepper is the foulest drink known to man, and I’m including used motor oil in that list.

  9. @Ray
    Whatever helps. I permanently burned out on Dr. Pepper one night in high school.
    Back in the day I would have suggested Sempe 45, and I periodically kick myself for not cellaring a couple bottles when the price was merely outlandish.
    Now days, there is a local winery and distillery that does a very nice and affordable port.


  10. I periodically kick myself for not cellaring a couple bottles when the price was merely outlandish.

    A couple-three decades ago I’d planned to pick up a small cask of new scotch each year and store it in my cellar and let it age. Even back then I didn’t drink much, so the first two-gallon cask would last me for years. By the time I got to the third cask it would have aged a decade or more. A cellar with, say twenty casks up to 25 years old wouldn’t be enough to retire on, but they’d be worth a decent bit. Ended up not doing it because some imbecilic regulation got in the way. I don’t remember the details, but it was something like I’d have to register with the state as a distributor if I wanted to buy a two-gallon cask.

  11. I have fond memories as a kid walking to the corner store and buying an ice cold 16oz Dr. Pepper (the tall skinny bottle). Also Mtn. Dew. They just don’t taste the same in plastic.

    I stopped by the local gub store since I was out that way. They had ammo, but it was expensive. Box of 9mm range ammo, 50 count, was $30.00. 5.56 ammo was $20.00 for 20 rounds. I passed.


  12. Extra abnormal crap. Worse than what I posted earlier. Did not think the pile could get much higher. It did. I prefer to not go into details at this point. Lowest of lows in my life thus far. Christmas day will become a time that I now despise.

    I sympathize, Mr. Ray. December 24th, 1974 my Dad suddenly died of when an aneurysm burst. Christmas has never been the same. Luckily, MrsAtoz rocks Christmas for the family.


  13. I’m including used motor oil in that list.

    Which brings up the obvious question. How do you know what used motor oil tastes like?

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  14. Once hired, Texas makes it very hard to fire Wallys (Walli?) for cause and avoid UI without a lot of documentation of inadequacies, but work has to get done at some point.

    I wonder whether an employer has the option of cutting someone’s salary? In an extreme case, they could be converted to hourly and paid minimum wage. They might stay around for benefits, but wouldn’t the unemployment benefit be reduced by the lower wage? If they are on the clock and don’t work enough hours to qualify for benefits, that cost is eliminated, too.

  15. I wonder whether an employer has the option of cutting someone’s salary? In an extreme case, they could be converted to hourly and paid minimum wage. They might stay around for benefits, but wouldn’t the unemployment benefit be reduced by the lower wage? If they are on the clock and don’t work enough hours to qualify for benefits, that cost is eliminated, too.

    In Texas, an employee facing a “substantial” (20% or more, but not set in stone) cut in salary could quit and likely get unemployment insurance payouts that would survive the appeals process. Also, Federal law allows a general reduction in salaries as part of a cost cutting reacting to a slow down in business, but generally not as a punitive measure — the tradeoff for not requiring overtime pay for salaried workers.

    Don’t hire Wally in Texas.

  16. The “Wally” on my last job came from one of the defense contractors in Texas. On paper and in the interview he looked great, but, once hired, he self classified “ROJ” and lived that lifestyle, complete with Cadillac coupe, “driving” hat/gloves, and downsized house purchased to be near the adult child most likely to produce grandchildren. The end of the workday was 4PM.

    What is ROJ ?

  17. What is ROJ ?

    “Retired On (the) Job”.

    Maybe it is just phone company slang


  18. Extra abnormal crap. Worse than what I posted earlier. Did not think the pile could get much higher. It did. I prefer to not go into details at this point. Lowest of lows in my life thus far. Christmas day will become a time that I now despise.

    My condolences to you and your family, Ray. My paternal grandmother had a falling out with one of her daughter-in-laws, and didn’t see that son or his kids for the rest of her life. The rift healed a little after my uncle (by then divorced) passed, and my cousin managed to contact the rest of the family. After my mother’s wedding, her father made a point of cautioning her to get along with her mother-in-law. Apparently that had been an issue in his marriage. I have had the good fortune of being at the confluence of wife and mother who have been sensitized to that problem, and as a result are careful not to let ill will take root. I think it goes in cycles. Those who have not learned from close experience are at risk of getting that experience, and the situation can go bad if even just one of the people involved doesn’t have the grace and skill to navigate troubled waters. I wish you the best. Sometimes people can change.

  19. Peter describes my thoughts on the subject, and has first hand experience to back it up. WELL worth the read.

    https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2020/12/this-is-revolution-that-i-see-coming-to.html

    What’s disturbing is the commonality of the post (and its comments) with so many of those proliferating in the conservative blogosphere.

    Some analysis with a dose of Battlespace prep outlining asymmetrical strategies. It seems the preferred is Rule 308 with some interesting derivatives.

    Each side is following the same old blue sky assumptions about their sides strengths and the other’s stupidity and weaknesses as they blunder towards an ignition point.

    I think that many have also made very poor assumptions about where and how the battle lines would be drawn, once that point of no return is passed.

    Can the center hold? What is the center these days?


  20. didn’t see that son or his kids for the rest of her life

    When returning from Hawaii on my way to Colorado I scheduled a 3 day visit my father. I rarely saw him after the parents divorced. First day he spent with his friends. Second day he pulled the same stunt. Third day I got up and shortly after breakfast he left for another day with his friends. I told his wife I was apparently not welcome so I left.

    That was in 1973. I never saw my father again. He never met my wife or my son. My next contact was at his funeral in 2005. A couple of times on my trips to CA I came within 20 yards of his location but chose to ignore him. I gave him a chance in 1973, I was not doing it again. He still had contact with my brothers. If he had apologized I would have reconsidered but he refused.

    Unfortunately it seems history might repeat itself. Only in this case an apology was offered and rejected.

    And that is enough of this useless drivel.

    Several entities are affected by the bomb in Nashville. AT&T had a major network facility in the building where the bomb was located. Power has apparently run out at the building. Batteries exhausted and the feds will not let AT&T bring in a generator.

    Walmart in this area is cash only. Many cell phones not working. Internet services affected. Unable to access my credit union. Dish TV subscribers affected. Land lines are affected for some. The issues are extending far beyond Nashville.


  21. As for the Dr Pepper, it’s drinkable only cold, preferably ice-cold. Warm Dr Pepper is the foulest drink known to man, and I’m including used motor oil in that list.

    I used to know someone who liked warm DIET Dr. Pepper… He died younger than he should have.

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  22. You’re a better man than I if you can read even half of this without violently retching. Fair warning!

    THE SEATTLE I WANT TO SEE IS AN EARTHEN BOWL FORMED BY OUR HANDS

    Come the revolution, the author will be one of the first ones to be liquidated.

  23. You’re a better man than I if you can read even half of this without violently retching. Fair warning!

    THE SEATTLE I WANT TO SEE IS AN EARTHEN BOWL FORMED BY OUR HANDS

    Church Lady without a church.

    And he’s probably got a secret concierge pediatric medical practice that really pays the bills.

    UPDATE: Professor at UW School of Medicine. I still wouldn’t rule out the concierge practice, however. And *my guess* he either lives in Snohomish, like the Seattle Police Chief, or on the Eastside.

    UPDATE 2: United Way player.

  24. Used to like hot Dr. P… Keep in mind that this was back when we used to mix Tang and instant iced tea and add hot water when we were on scouting events. It helps if you are cold and miserable…

  25. “‘Xie, Ze, Yoself’: Georgia State U offers TEN pronoun options for women’s classes”
    https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=16481

    “Georgia State University’s business school listed ten pronoun options on a signup for a women’s business program.”

    “Among the options were “ey,” “xie,” “hir,” “vis,” and “yoself.””

    These juveniles running our educational institutions are just inventing things to make life more confusing for the mainstream. And to make the gullible more crazy.

  26. I use to drink Dr Pepper. It changed late ’75, early ’76. Maybe that’s when they went to corn syrup instead of sugar. Maybe I had some hormones kick in.
    So, Coke. Or orange soda. DP still tastes funny. Smells good.

    Ray, you tried. Maybe the kid will figure it out.


  27. Georgia State U offers TEN pronoun options for women’s classes

    If you have the tackle so you can stand to pee, Male pronouns. If you don’t have Mother Nature’s watering hose, Female pronouns.

    All else is “are you effing nuts?”.

    2

  28. Can a person OD on pecan pie ?

    It’s possible. Fauci says there is an antidote in warm flat diet Dr. Pepper.

    Many choose death.

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    1
  29. Can a person OD on pecan pie ?

    Asking for a friend.

    Are you diabetic or borderline?

    I have nut allergies so even a small slice would cause a serious problem.

    1
    1
  30. So, bought a couple of big flash drives to back up the Mac.

    Burned firstly by them being in fat32, and unable to handle big video files.

    Reformatted.

    Now I’m getting

    -Error 36

    messages, which are probably file permissions issues in Catalina. I could write a script to check all permissions on gigabytes of files, and report (and change them) but I think I’m giving up using Mac’s and OS X as a primary machine.

    It’s amazing how indifferent to the basic user MS and Apple have become. One expects a certain level of “suck it up user” but it’s become worse even in the last year or two.

  31. It’s amazing how indifferent to the basic user MS and Apple have become. One expects a certain level of “suck it up user” but it’s become worse even in the last year or two.

    Apple moved their machines further into the “disposable” category with the M1 chip. Meanwhile, Redmond keeps turning basic system facilities like email into ad platforms.

    I back up all of the Mac OS X machines in the house onto Time Machine disks. Sam’s had 4 TB external drives on clearance for $79 before Christmas so I bought one for the work computer.

    Big video files are a challenge to move from Mac to Windows via sneakernet.

  32. Can a person OD on pecan pie ?

    Asking for a friend.

    Are you diabetic or borderline?

    My fasting blood sugar in October was 85.

    1
  33. Greg: If drag-n-drop doesn’t work, will Time Machine? I have one attached, but am now honestly dreading looking at the log files.

  34. Pecan pie is my favorite – but it makes my teeth hurt now days. So I would have to work at it to test the OD question…

  35. Greg: If drag-n-drop doesn’t work, will Time Machine? I have one attached, but am now honestly dreading looking at the log files.

    Once you format an external drive with the Mac OS X file system and configure the drive as a Time Machine destination, the backup is managed automatically whenever the external drive is plugged into the USB socket.

    If you are having problems writing to the USB thumb drive formatted with the Apple file system, the problem may lie with the computer hardware somewhere. Time Machine requires an ability to write to an external drive.

    I’ve had problems writing to USB 3.0 thumb drives from older Mac hardware, and I experienced blue screens when I used one external WD drive with Windows 7 booted on my Santa Rosa Mac Book Pro running Windows 7 via boot camp. Always try another thumb drive if in doubt.

  36. Well, the first drive was flawless, come to think of it, so i’ll reformat this one and try again.

    Glad i’m not burning m-disk coasters. That was good advice i got here.

  37. If I has the time and energy I’d go thru the doc’s (what? Poem?) bowl nonsense line by line, but I don’t want to get the filth in my brain. It would be like Stephenson’s Anathem, where the monks are punished by having to memorize tantalizingly close but still false theorems. Nice to know doc is continuing to indoctrinate youth with lies, and that he’s a racist…

    He remembers adults in his neighborhood giving him “the talk” about how to be as safe as possible around police.

    A few years ago, he began giving this talk himself. First, he gave it to only Black teens, but then he decided all the 11 and 12-year-olds in his practice should hear it.

    “Now we do it for basically anyone who is 11 or 12. It is part of the check-up,” he said.

    I’m as white bread suburban as can be on the face of it and I got ‘the talk’-which if you aren’t aware, is mainly common sense and politeness when dealing with cops. Keep your hands in sight. Don’t get out of the car. Don’t dig around under the seat or in the glove box. Be polite.

    But hey, nothing like repeating the lie that blacks are targeted unfairly by cops, or that they are out to murder them. Nothing like making that chip on future rioter number three’s shoulder even bigger.

    n


  38. Georgia State U offers TEN pronoun options for women’s classes

    The error they are making is in thinking that the people the pronouns refer to are the ones who make the choice. The person who is speaking or writing is the one who makes the choice. We have freedom of speech, not freedom to restrict others’ speech.

  39. Everyone should send their pecan pies to me for safe keeping.

    no returns though…


  40. no returns though…

    drwilliams could go to the donor’s house and crap on their lawn. The more pies you send him, the greener your grass will be!

    We have freedom of speech, not freedom to restrict others’ speech.

    That’s a very racist, sexist, and cisist thing to say. I think you need to just shut up.

  41. @SteveF
    Bull pen will get cleaned in late January and the pile will compost until late spring. Be happy to send you samples for evaluation. Weekly, even.

  42. I may take you up on that, drwilliams. I’ll get back to you on January 21. In case events transpire such that I do want, say, five tons of manure, my mailing address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, DC.

  43. “Everyone should send their pecan pies to me for safe keeping. ”

    –or me, unless they have chocolate in them. I know you Southerners think that’s jsut fine, but it’s and abomination in the sight of the pecan gods…

    n

    and I can’t eat more than one or two with chocolate, but the rest I’ll give it the old school try…

  44. “Everyone should send their pecan pies to me for safe keeping. ”

    –or me, unless they have chocolate in them. I know you Southerners think that’s jsut fine, but it’s and abomination in the sight of the pecan gods…

    n

    Yes, chocolate in pecan pies is definitely an abomination. But HEB seems to make as many of those as plain old pecan pies. And HEB pecan pies are awesome, I bought two of them.

  45. We have had house guests since Wednesday and I was just told that they are staying until Monday. Or so. It is the wife’s sister and her family. The wife and her sister are dealing with the first Christmas of being orphans, they miss their dad even though they could not visit him in the nursing home.

    Wasn’t it Ben Franklin who said that fish and guests start to stink after three days ?

  46. We have freedom of speech, not freedom to restrict others’ speech.

    After Biden abdicates, Kamala will be shutting down freedom of speech disguised as limiting hate speech or something equally inane like that.

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  47. Can a person OD on pecan pie ?
    Asking for a friend.

    You mean the ones from Costco that are 4+ pounds?

  48. Can a person OD on pecan pie ?
    Asking for a friend.

    You mean the ones from Costco that are 4+ pounds?

    HEB’s gourmet pecan pies are 1 lb and 10 ounces, 12 inches in diameter.

  49. I mentioned the complete lack of pie this holiday to my wife just this evening. I had everything I needed for pumpkin pie. I can make quickie pies with canned pie filling that are delicious. What I’ve never had a good result for was pecan pie. MUCH easier to buy a good one.

    Then the only question is ‘heated’ or ‘cold’? Icecream or whipped cream? Or, embrace the power of ‘and’.

    I loved Dr Pepper as a kid. It tastes different depending on where it was ‘bottled’ (or canned). The local stuff with Imperial sugar is the best. Bottles are best, even if plastic. The problem for me is my problem with sugar. Even though Dr Pepper has loads of caffeine, it doesn’t have enough to counter the sugar putting me to sleep. Now I drink the little mini cans, of diet… I get 90% of the flavor, and don’t pass out for 20 minutes. Every now and then though, I need it full strength and uncut.

    n

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