Monday, 26 June 2017

09:51 – It was 60.9F (16C) when I took Colin out at 0700, clear, bright, and breezy. When we came back in 12 minutes later, it was already up to 64.3F (18C). Barbara is off to the gym and a meeting this morning. This afternoon, more science kit stuff.

Barbara asked this morning if the old Adam Dalgliesh mysteries were available on Netflix or Amazon streaming. I did a search on Roku, which turned up nothing. So I did a search for Roy Marsden, who played the title character. That turned up one movie and two TV series. None were available on Netflix or Amazon streaming, but they were available on a news-to-us service called BritBox. It’s a joint effort by BBC and ITV, and, unlike garbage rent-seeking services like AcornTV, it looks as if it may be worth the $7/month subscription. We’ve always watched a lot of British TV, so this US-only service looks very interesting to us. There’s a 7-day free trial, which I’ll sign up for after the end of this month.

Right now, Barbara’s binge-watching CSI:NY (she likes Gary Sinese). Netflix streaming currently has all nine seasons, but they lose seasons 1 through 8 on 6/29. She’s currently on S08E04 in the 18-episode S08, so she’ll be able to binge her way through the 15 remaining episodes over the next few days.

When I’m in the room while she’s watching it, I annoy her every time they show a NYC-scape by shouting “Sparta”. The other night, I did actually get a laugh out of her when they had a scene set along the beach with a pretty girl (it’s always a pretty girl, which annoys me) who’d been munched by a shark. As they showed a long shot of the beach, I shouted, “Sparta Beach”. When they zoomed in on the dead shark, I shouted, “Sparta Shark”. I then googled “sparta shark”. Believe it or not, there actually is such an item, made in Canada. It’s a folding knife.

Email from Lisa. She and her husband attended amateur radio Field Day over the weekend and met several of the local ham operators, one of whom was only 12. As I expected, she found all of them very friendly and helpful. They decided to sign up for a family membership, and are on the schedule for next Technician Class training class and exam. She’s also made a lot of progress on her prepping goal of having a 3-month supply of food, water, etc. They already have a lot of stuff from local supply runs stacked in the basement, and several hundred dollars worth of Augason dry foods on the way from Walmart.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

09:50 – It was 45F (7C) when I took Colin out this morning, without much wind. Today is devoted to taxes.

I got the Netgear AC1200 R6220 router installed yesterday, which took about 10 minutes start to finish. I left the SSID and password at default. The coverage and speed are at least as good as we had with the D-Link unit. This one adds 5G capability. As it turns out, the only clients in the house that speak 5G are Barbara’s Fire HDX and the Roku. I never was able to get Wi-Fi working with the Roku when we were using the D-Link DIR-615. It just didn’t see it. When I got the R6220 up and running, the Roku immediately offered me the choice of hard-wired and either 2.4G or 5G Wi-Fi. All three options work fine. I wish the Roku would let me choose to use all three simultaneously and pick the best of the three, but it insists I pick one of the three.

We’re currently re-watching One Tree Hill on Netflix streaming, Everwood on DVD, and Endeavor on Amazon Prime streaming. We also added Dr. Quinn, Medicine Girl to our Prime Video queue and watched a couple episodes of it. It’s corny and mediocre, but it has the same small-town, costume-drama feel as Little House on the Prairie, which is incompetently plotted and written, and sugary enough to put a diabetic into sugar shock.

As expected, the progs and neocons (but I repeat myself) are fighting Trump every step of the way. At least he’s getting some of his nominees approved, most recently the head of the EPA. I’m hoping against hope that these new agency heads, particularly Education and EPA to start with, come in and clean house with fire and sword. They could start by firing every employee who’s a GS-10 or higher.

The promise to repeal ObamaCare is now being hedged. In reality, they could fix the problems overnight by letting the free market take care of it. Repeal the individual mandate and employer mandate to start with. Allow health insurance companies to offer whatever policies they wish with whatever exclusions or limitations they wish, and allow them to do so across state lines. Most particularly, again allow insurance companies to exclude pre-existing conditions. The states, if they wish, can create assigned risk pools, just as they do for auto insurance. Repeal EMTALA, and allow emergency rooms to refuse to treat anyone who can’t pay. Repeal Medicaid, and allow states to handle it themselves if they wish. Better yet, allow churches and private charities to establish clinics for the indigent. Station ICE agents in emergency rooms, tasked with gathering up illegals and exporting them back to Mexico or wherever they initially crossed the border illegally. And so on.

* * * * *

 

Friday, 2 December 2016

10:01 – It’s Barbara’s birthday today. She’s pretty hard to buy gifts for. She doesn’t wear jewelry or perfume, and I can’t buy clothes for her. So usually I end up just getting stuff she wants for around the house. One year I got her a crowfoot flank-drive flare nut wrench set. This year, I got her a pressure canner (Ma Kettle) and some miscellaneous cast-iron cookware to use on her new gas cooktop.

We finished watching series one of The Pinkertons on Netflix streaming and Mercy Street on Prime streaming. The former was average and the latter above average, but both were packed full of cuties, notably Martha MacIsaac and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, respectively. At first, I thought it was just me, getting older and starting to have trouble telling brunette cuties apart, but Barbara agreed that they could easily be confused for each other and that she had trouble telling them apart.

I used to think that attractiveness between men and women was purely a matter of evolutionary biology. That’s why heterosexual men of any age are most attracted to young women, those of child-bearing age, and women are attracted to men of any age who would make good reproductive partners. What puzzled me for a long time was that, in my experience, gay men are also attracted to young, fertile women even though they have no desire to have sex with them. Last night, I finally realized why: men of any sexual orientation and age are attracted to young, fertile women because their mothers were young, fertile women. Essentially all men spent their boyhoods dependent upon, protected by, and being cared for and loved by young, fertile women. So it’s no wonder that most men are attracted to and protective towards young women. Well, duh. It’s embarrassing that it took me 63 years to notice the blindingly obvious.


Monday, 11 May 2015

07:59 – We finished watching season three of Longmire on Netflix streaming last night. It wasn’t nearly as good as the earlier seasons. I’m not surprised that A&E canceled it, given the precipitous drop in ratings from seasons one and two. Netflix has picked it up for season four. I hope they hire better writers.

More science kit stuff today, as usual.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

08:49 – I’ve almost finished reading Under the Dome, so last night we decided to watch the series on Amazon streaming. The book isn’t bad, if you can get past clangers like cops carrying Beretta Taurus pistols, which is kind of like having them drive Ford Chevys. The series is utter crap. Bad writing and bad acting. We bagged it and started watching series seven of Mad Men on Netflix.

Speaking of bagging, I’m thinking it might be time to convert some of the cash in our bank accounts to bags of junk silver coins, one-ounce silver rounds, or perhaps 100-ounce bars, depending on the relative premia. Here’s one place that sells all three.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

10:16 – Barbara is still driving the 4X4 to work. She called this morning to let me know she’d arrived safely and said that the main roads were in good shape but there’s still ice on some of the neighborhood streets. When I took Colin out this morning, all four feet skidded out from under him and he went down. I suspect there’ll still be quite a few fender benders today.

We finished series two of Mr. Selfridge on Amazon Prime streaming the other night and we’re now about halfway through series five of Justified. Next up is series two of Vikings. I like having both Netflix and Amazon streaming. When we start to run short of stuff on Netflix we watch Amazon and vice versa. At about $15/month combined for both of them it’s a no-brainer to have both.

Someone posted a link to Another Perspective : The Case Against IMMINENT Economic Collapse, which gets it mostly right. The only exception is the author’s comment on the eurozone, which in fact is imploding right now. But the euro is not the dollar. The federal government can create as many dollars as it needs, instantly and at any time. That means the dollar can’t suffer a sudden collapse. What it will suffer is a gradual loss in value because of ongoing high inflation, which is essentially a tax on anyone holding dollars or dollar-denominated debt. That’s why I expect a slow but inevitable slide into dystopia rather than a sudden economic collapse. That’s also why I’d prefer to hold most of our assets in things like property and physical goods rather than in dollars or, worse, in electronic values in a bank database.


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

07:45 – Kit sales are starting slowly this year. We’ve sold only half a dozen so far, which is actually fortunate. Our current inventory on the CK01A chemistry kits is down to -1 and we have only half a dozen of the BK01 biology kits in stock. So I’m building another batch of the chemistry kits today and will then get started on another batch of biology kits.

Our component inventory system failed again yesterday, but this time in a good way. Many of our kits include wide-range pH test paper. We used to include a vial in the kits, but last year the price more than doubled. So I decided to start packaging the stuff ourselves, ordering the paper in sheets with separate color key cards, and making it up in coin envelopes. That was actually cheaper for us, even counting labor to make them up, and it provides more than three times as much test paper per kit. A win-win.

We make up 400 sets at a time. A couple weeks ago, I noticed that we were getting low. It didn’t seem that we should have gone through 400 sets that quickly, but I went ahead and re-ordered enough of the test paper sheets and color key cards for another 400 sets. That order arrived yesterday, just as I found 200 sets already made up that I’d misplaced. Oh, well. We’ll use 600 sets up quickly enough.


12:44 – I see that DISH is now offering live TV streaming, including ESPN and ESPN2. The price is a rip-off, $20/month/user for channels that are ad-supported. A tenth that price would still have been too much, but I suspect a lot of sports fans will now be dropping their cable TV service in favor of 100% streaming, perhaps supplemented with an antenna for local broadcasts. For $5/month additional, DISH will offer an add-on group of sports channels, which should be more than enough for anyone.

A lot of people subscribe to cable TV service only because that’s been the only way they could get live sports. Crappy though the deal is, this should result in a lot of them bagging cable TV completely. This is the first crack in the dike, and I expect we’ll see it widening over the next year or so. Just as there’s no longer any need for local broadcast TV channels, there’s no longer any need for cable TV service. Broadband Internet does it all, as it should.

Monday, 5 January 2015

09:06 – Barbara and I have started watching The Killing on Netflix streaming. It’s about–surprise, surprise–the murder of a teenage girl. It seems that many of the series we watch involve the murders of teenage girls and young women, and I’m getting sick of it. Most of them are very well done, but I simply don’t like the subject matter. I know it happens, much too often, in real life, but watching fictional representations makes me cringe. To a lesser extent, the same is true of medical and legal dramas.

That’s why I’d just as soon watch series like Heartland over and over again. They have real writers who can spin interesting stories without using life-and-death issues as a crutch. I could happily re-watch stuff from our current Netflix queue and DVD library without ever adding anything new. Series like Heartland, Everwood, All Creatures Great and Small, Lark Rise to Candleford, and many others. I don’t even object to murder mysteries, as long as they’re cozies. What I can’t stand is this hard-boiled stuff.

I’m still cranking away on the prepping book. At the moment, I’m working on the Section I chapter on power, lighting, and communications. (Section I covers dealing with emergencies during the first month; section II up to one year; and section III with the long term.)


Monday, -3 January 2015

08:03 – I need to build more chemistry kits today. We have five in stock, but four orders for them that came in yesterday and overnight, including one that’s going to France. I have enough subassemblies in stock to make up another dozen or 15, so it’s just a matter of boxing them up. But we do need to get more subassemblies built.


13:11 – One thing about half-hour (actually 20- or 21-minute nowadays) TV series is that you can binge-watch an entire season pretty quickly. Over the weekend, Barbara and I made it through the 24 episodes of series 5 of Modern Family–about 8 hours worth–and nine of the 26 total episodes of Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23. DTtBiA23 was a mid-season replacement that followed Modern Family. Apartment 23 was mishandled by ABC, which ran episodes not just out of order but pretty much at random. No surprise that they ended up making only 26 episodes of it. The irony is that DTtBiA23 is a much better series than Modern Family. ABC should have seen that and nurtured it. Instead they treated it like Firefly.

Modern Family has an excellent cast and top-notch writing, but DTtBiA23 is better in both respects. Krysten Ritter is superb in the role of a slutty party girl who’s a borderline psychopath. Dreama Walker is also excellent as the nice girl from Indiana who finds herself in NYC with a great job and apartment all set up, which promptly falls through. James Van Der Beek, who played Dawson on Dawson’s Creek, plays himself as a fictional James Van Der Beek, with frequent allusions to Dawson’s Creek. This series is good enough that it could have run for many years if ABC hadn’t botched it.

Friday, 17 October 2014

07:51 – I had a dream last night. The US House overwhelmingly voted to impeach Obama for malfeasance, misfeasance, nonfeasance, and treason. The vote in the US Senate was along self-interest lines, with all of the Republicans and every Democrat who didn’t want to be lynched voting for conviction, for a total of 100:0 favoring conviction. Obama was stripped of his office, his pension, his assets, and his citizenship, and sentenced to be tarred and feathered, then keelhauled, and then transferred to West Africa to work in an Ebola ward. Mrs. Obama was sentenced to go with her husband to West Africa, where she would be responsible for feeding ridiculously inadequate lunches to school-age Ebola patients. President Biden immediately imposed a complete travel ban to bar anyone who had visited the stricken areas from entering the US.


13:53 – Barbara and I are about halfway through season three of Hart of Dixie on Netflix streaming. It’s a farce, set in rural Alabama. I wouldn’t watch it if it were just me, but it does have a lot of cuties.

As we were watching an episode last night, I commented to Barbara that I was surprised to learn that Montgomery is the capital of Alabama. That’s what my elementary school teachers taught me all those years ago, but since 1973 I’ve thought they’d been lying to me. “In Birmingham they love the guv’nor. Boo, boo, boo. Now we all did what we could do.” I guess that’s why I constantly play that riff on my air guitar the whole time we’re watching the show.