Saturday, August 17, 2019

Dinner And Breakfast

     Last night's supper was a New York Strip steak...
     Cooked with mixed mushrooms and whole shishto peppers, a nice combination.  I had a few slices of small-diameter French bread, too.

     And for today's breakfast, corned beef hash, with onion, pickled cherry peppers and a fresh shishito pepper
     More of the fresh peppers would have worked well; they go very well with the corned beef.

     Plus a fried egg!
     Made with canned corned beef and frozen hash browns, which worked out well.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

From The Immovable To The Unreachable

     All day yesterday, I was at the North Campus, working on removing an old gadget -- about the size of  two or three refrigerators -- which will be replaced by a new gadget of about the same size but a different shape.

     Unwired it last week, and removed all the small bits; even got an associated rack about twenty inches wide, a yard deep and over five feet tall unbolted from the floor and carefully moved off the old tile, all by myself.

     By myself again yesterday, first rearranging the random scatter of junk filling the forty-foot-square garage* to make room for unloading the new gadget and associated things, and then taking apart the remainder of the gadget that's got to be removed.  It breaks down into two big cabinets -- once you've found all the bolts holding them together -- and each one is too heavy for me to move, even with all the easily-removable parts taken out.  Finding that out took half a day.  We've got a hobbyist who will be happy to take them away (there's a power supply in each one you would not believe, which sharply limited the pool of people who could make safe use of them), if they can be safely moved.

     Today, it looks like I'll be trying, yet again, to track down the suppliers and contractors for the new gadget.  The people who made the thing would really, really like to ship it to us; the people who will do the associated and largely outdoors portion of the work and supply the parts for it have stopped returning calls.  Their facility is half a day's drive away and there's a point in this project where the best use of my time would be camped out in their lobby, seizing project engineers and corporate vice-presidents by the lapels and asking where our stuff and our crew might be.  We're not quite there yet.  Not quite.  And so I'll do much the same thing by telephone, working my way up the food chain and probably ending up with my boss pulling me into his office, asking why I called that company's president; he won't be officially happy when I tell him it was part of carrying out his instructions that I make contact with them and get an update on the project timeline, but it's what he wants nevertheless.

     This kind of thing is the real core of what I do, just as I have been working on the "top priority" removal job only one day a week; there are, it seems, other top priorities, which mostly involve responding to urgent pages at the main office having to do with bad batteries, preventable damage and mis-typed passwords.  Sarcasm?  No; those things really are urgent, if you want to get decent work product from panicked non-geek people.  It's got to be done so we can go do the more-interesting things as time permits.
* "What all men own, no one owns," and that garage is a prime example.  The space belongs to no single department; it's got our only overhead beam hoist and a higher ceiling than any garage or warehouse type space my local employer owns.  It's supposed to be available to whoever in the company needs it.  When I spent most of my time at the North Campus, I was able to keep it pretty squared away; between me and Building Maintenance, we even kept the worst of the dust swept.  That was years ago.  The place turns into a maze, filled with office furniture "too good the throw out," tag-ends of multi-conductor wire on big spools, company-truck parts, maintenance supplies, project leftovers and plain junk.  A morning's work (in 85-degree heat) gained me a clear area twenty feet square (well. clear once I remove a golf cart and a snowplow attachment from one side) and one fifteen by twenty and a wide aisle connecting them, which should be sufficient.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

They Updated Windows Last Night

     So, of course, my computer was a long time starting up this morning.  Firefox frequently has issues with Windows updates.  While everything was getting reacquainted on the big desktop, I started up my Raspberry Pi and I'm posting this as a safety, in case there's a conflict.

     It's nice to have an alternative!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Unclaimed Something

     The Indiana Attorney General's office runs the Unclaimed Property Division.  Periodically, they place ads in the newspapers, listing names of people who've got something (generally money) claimable.

     My sister texted me the other day: I was on the list. 

     So was my late mother.  She's got several small listings, in fact, and I need to tell my brother (who has a couple dollars waiting from the BMV himself), since he's her executor.

     As for my unknown amount, I went to their site, entered the name and -- there I was.  There are forms to fill out with various identifying information; I did so and the state says they'll send me a check in a few weeks.

     Okay, this is pretty much the modern-day version of finding a twenty-dollar bill and seventy-five cents in cash between the sofa cushions, but hey, money that would have otherwise been missed. -- and direct benefit from My Tax Dollars At Work.  Shouldn't pass that up.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Shelves

     They use one shelf I'd cut and finished four or five years ago and about given up on installing, plus a long one I had used in the kitchen of my previous house:
     The long shelf was finished with boiled linseed oil, which on pine darkens over time to a pretty color.  The shorter one, I used some stain/finish combination and I'm not as happy with it.  "Beading" on the edges of the shelves was done with a tool made by driving a large, slotted, flathead woodscrew into a small scrap of board; the sharp edges of the slot cut a nice groove, with the distance from the top and bottom of the shelf set by how far above the surface the head of the screw sticks out.

     Vertical supports are just pipe flanges and precut pipe sections.  You can buy flanges really inexpensively online, but the quality isn't great; some castings weren't square to the tapped hole and some needed to have the mounting-screw holes drilled out.  1/4"-20 carriage bolts hold them to the shelves.  If I had used the same size pipe for each level, the flanges could have been back to back

     The table was from one of the big chain stores, an inexpensive Mission-style side table.

     Equipment in the picture includes a big RME-45 receiver, a Multi-Elmac AF-68 transmitter, and a Millen transmatch, with a homebrew antenna switch, a Ten-Tec transmatch and an RME VHF converter

Sunday, August 11, 2019

I'm Here...

     Working on pipe-supported shelves for my hamshack.  I have had the material for months and it was starting to bother me.

     Pictures later, if I am not too unhappy with it.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Of All The Luck....

     Tam and I rode our bicycles to the Indiana State Fair yesterday.  I took the day off work for it.

     A quick tram ride* had us at Pioneer Village, home to a couple-three† dining tents run by various Hoosier meat producers.  Lunch!   Tam and I had meat (look, I'm not going to say what kind, for reasons that will become obvious) sandwiches and soft drinks.  I added a condiment from a big pump jug; Tam did not. 

     Once we were fed, we ventured out to look at steam tractors -- one running a sawmill, with the sawn hardwood boards offered for sale -- a one-cylinder gasoline-powered field tile machine, old quilts, chipped-flint knives and other delights.

     About fifteen minutes after lunch, I suffered, ahem, "acute gastrointestinal distress."  The fairgrounds are very well supplied with washrooms, no problem there; but it kept happening, every twenty minutes or so.  Our general route was toward the exit anyway, so I made frequent stops while Tam enjoyed the fair and we left early.

     The bike ride home was a character-building experience for me.  Once home, I changed into my nightgown and took to my bed.  By this morning I was well over it.

     Not at all fun and I'm blaming the condiment (which happened to be one that didn't contain a significant amount of vinegar).  Other than a different choice of soft drinks, it was the only thing we didn't both eat that day.
* Indiana State Fair trams are a remarkable institution, consisting of medium-sized tractors (running on soy diesel!) pulling three or four trailers that consist of outward-facing wooden benches with footrests on each side.  A narrow aisle between the seat backs leaves room for a conductor, one per trailer; it's a dollar per ride, no matter how far or short you go.  With a top speed of perhaps ten miles an hour, they run a big loop through the fairgrounds, making frequent stops at marked locations.  It's about as Hoosier a mass-transit system as could be, and it's both effective and popular.  Each tram train -- there are several -- runs at or near capacity, with trains being added or removed from circulation as demand warrants.

 † Usefully, a number between two and six depending on how you parse it.  We did not try the mutton.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Felony Stupid, At Best

     At worst, another loser hoping to get famous.  It's been all over the news -- a young man showed up at a Springfield, Missouri Walmart, videoing himself, carrying an AR-15 and wearing some kind of vest or plate carrier, hung with pouches.  He is reported to have been carrying "a hundred rounds of ammunition" (probably meaning three full 30-round magazines) and a handgun.

     Unsurprisingly, people in the store reacted with fear; even without the recent horrific attacks, the man was wearing what amounts to the "uniform" of mass killers as described in news reports.

     He does not appear to have made any kind of aggressive move with either gun and eventually another person, described as an "off-duty firefighter" (in other words, an ordinary citizen) drew his own concealed handgun and held the young fool until police arrived.

     Was he planning something terrible?  Was he just a nitwit with a grudge over Walmart's 21-and older limit on ammunition sales?  We don't know.  If he gets a good lawyer, we may never know for sure. 

     At the very least, his behavior was "felony stupid."  In most states, it's legal to open-carry a long gun; some states may require a permit and a few prohibit it.  It is, however, rarely a wise choice unless you're hunting, target shooting, or the like.  --Yes, in Miss Bobbi's Libertopia Wonderland, no one would bat an eye, but that's not where we live.  "Don't scare the average citizen" is a good approach to life; it was even before "Get Clean For Gene," but that's probably the best example.

     In 1968, both the incumbent mainstream Democrats and challenging Republicans were in favor of the War in Vietnam.  Democrat Senator Eugene McCarthy got into the race as an anti-war candidate, and all the hippies (well, most of them) were for him.  It was a candidate's dream, a ready-made pool of enthusiastic door-knockers and envelope-stuffers.  There was just one problem: Mr. and (especially) Mrs. Average American were not about the open their door to a dirty, long-haired hippie, even if they were registered voters of the proper party to support the Senator's primary bid, even if they had doubts about the war: hippies scared them up close and personal, while Washington D.C. and Vietnam were far away.

     The answer, of course, was a shave, a haircut and a clean white shirt.  Even a bath, if necessary.  "Get Clean For Gene" was a success.  The McCarthy campaign ultimately failed, impaled on the candidate's gaffes and loss of momentum when Robert Kennedy entered the race -- but not because his campaign workers "scared the normal people."

     It's a good guideline.  Push boundaries a little at a time, if you want to see something different in the world.  Don't commit "felony stupid."

     (P. S., the U.S. eventually left Vietnam.  Did those scrubbed-up hippies help "move the Overton window" on debate about that war?  Probably.)

Thursday, August 08, 2019

An Abundance Of Festivities

     Not only is the Indiana State Fair running for the next couple of weeks, this weekend also includes the Broad Ripple Carnival at Broad Ripple Park!  Plus the Indiana Historical Radio Society's summer meeting.

     I'm pretty sure I'll keep busy this weekend.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Wednesday? It's National EAS-Test Day!

     H'mm, it will be Wednesday all day.  But it's only test day once a year, and then only for a few minutes.  (Around 2:20 p.m. EDT, last time I checked.)

     There's another big test of the national Emergency Broadcast System this afternoon, this time checking the "analog" station-to-station relay system that now backs up the internet-based distribution system.  This is the part that hard-failed the first time FEMA convinced FCC to run a full national test.

     The analog backup has worked fine in tests since, but FEMA and FCC want to see if there are any holes in it they haven't yet found.  I have to give the FCC credit -- after decades of just assuming the system would work, once FEMA goaded them into finding out for real and discovering it kind of didn't work, FCC has been enthusiastic about running yearly tests, collecting data from the participants, and working to correct the problems the test reveals.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

So, Um...How 'Bout That Trade War?

     Our dear, dear pals in Red China have upped the ante. They're still at the table and nobody's ended up with aces-and-eights yet, but it's not what you'd call a friendly game.