Wednesday, August 31, 2016


     As I watch the slow-motion dumpster fire of ELECTION 2016! or whatever the TV is calling it these days, I'm thinking back to earlier elections and wondering why we thought we had it so bad back then?  Those old "It's the end of everything!" contests look more like High Tea with the Duchess than dogfights and I'm more convinced than ever that the battle for the soul of the Federal government was lost by 1913.*

     I'm reminded once more of H. L. Mencken on our system of government:
     Sure, he wrote, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard," but perhaps more to the point, he gave us this gem:

     "Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it."

     I'm not entirely certain he'd be willing to stand behind that one in this year.
* What did we get in 1913?  The odious Woodrow Wilson, who argued that government should not be deemed evil and advocated the use of government to allay social ills and advance society's welfare in a textbook, The State, used in college courses through the 1920s.  He believed that America's system of checks and balances complicated American governance,and wrote that the Presidency, "will be as big as and as influential as the man who occupies it."  There's your modern imperial-style President and the all-encompassing FedGov, neatly wrapped up in one racist, eugencist package.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

How To Gum Up An Airport

     ...Make a series of loud bangity sounds.  No, don't -- in a time when media coverage magnifies the per-capita incidence of terror attacks, among populations who can't tell a rifle shot from a popped paper bag, all it takes is the perception of danger and LAX grinds to a halt.

     Something similar happened earlier this month at JFK airport, too.  H'mm, both in regions where lawful possession of firearms is discouraged by law, who'd'a thunk?

     Imagine the harm a prankster with boombox could do in such areas.  Or even no boombox, just a burner celphone and the number for airport security: "I heard shots!"  You can be sure they're thinking of it -- for multiple definitions of "they."

     After WW II, SF writer Eric Frank Russell wrote a novel called Wasp.  The title is from a newspaper report of a multiple-fatality one-car accident caused by a wasp inside the vehicle.  The novel is based on WW II covert action using a similar "small cause -- huge harm" approach.  Sometimes I wonder who else read it -- and made notes.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Geeky TDR Tip

     I got out the TDR Friday -- an elderly Tektronix 1502 Time Domain Reflectometer, filled with unobtanium tunnel diodes, and it was dead.  D-E-A-D as in won't even turn on.

     They do that.  There's a big ol' NiCad battery pack in the middle of the thing and Tek was worried they would be burning up costly TDRs if they weren't very careful about charging the batteries and as a result, if the battery is way low, or getting puny, or even just having a bad day, the power supplies crowbar before they even turn all the way on.  Usually you can flip the thing on and off a few times and catch it looking the other way, at which point it will start to charge up the batteries but still won't quite work and before you can read War And Peace even halfway through, the thing will be happy enough to run.

     Not this time.  It was not waking up.  And it's not like the corner Tek store* is going to be selling replacement battery packs, custom fused, heat-sunk, waterproofed-sealing as they are.  The local battery-everything places can maybe rebuild it, but not quickly.

     Quick, to the Web!  And there I discover this is a known issue and what you want is about 200 - 270 Ohms at ten Watts with 2200 uF at 25V in parallel across the banana plugs where the battery pack should plug in.  A nice big handful of 2W carbon resistors later (seven of them, because if 10W is plenty, 14W should run cool) and an electrolytic capacitor later, I was in the TDR business -- inelegantly, with a little box marked "Fake Tek NiCad Pack" on rubber-covered test leads plugged into the thing, but it was working and it saw the coax cables. 

     They don't look too bad.  Or anyway, not too dissimilar to one another and there aren't any glaring discontinuities.  So I'm hoping that's a good sign.
* This actually used to be a thing.  There were Tek service centers in all the major cities, usually with a salesperson working out of 'em, and you could drive over there, drop off equipment for calibration, buy common parts and order uncommon ones, maybe get shown the latest new toys--  That was Then.  Now, not so much.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Storms, You Say? Antenna, You Say?

     Yesterday morning, I was ready to get in the shower after storms had come thunering through, when Tam asked, "What about your ham radio antenna in the back yard?"

     "My antenna?"  I had a look.  It wasn't good news:

     A branch had fallen, got tangled in the wires, and was pulling the feedpoint (not shown) into dangerous proximity the power wiring to the house.  There are multiple support points that keep the two far apart, but they are predicated on the wire breaking under a large branch or or being able to support a smaller one.  This one was Just Right--
     Or Just Wrong.

     I had to cut the branch with a brush saw -- a simple frame with an aggressive blade -- and them wrestle it around to free the wire.  It's still stretched, possibly broken inside the insulation.  I already needed to do some antenna work and this has made it more urgent.

     And we have days of scattered storms and hot, humid weather predicted.  There's an old rule that ham antennas work better if you install them during a blizzard.  Perhaps it applies if you repair them during the most dogged of dog days, as well.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sausage Hash With All The Trimmings

     Any more, I skip about every other meal, or at least go very light.  This morning is not one of those.  I had a can of sausage hash, some left-over fresh mushrooms, a couple of huge green onions and an egg:
The red stuff is a little paprika.  I like it.  YMMV.
     It cooked up pretty well, I think.  Tam's not so much for egg on hash (I like the yolks cooked out and I don't think she trusts me to leave hers sunny-side-up and still liquid), so I did half with, half without. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Deluxe Eggs Pomodoro

     ...Spellcheck wants them to be "Eggs Pimlico," but I think that's a sponsored correction.  Anyway, I wanted something tasty for dinner last night, but I didn't want to spend forever on it.  Supercharged spaghetti sauce with eggs poached in it seemed like a good way to go--

     If you're using store-bought sauce, go for the good stuff.  I found a high-end brand that claimed it contained nothing more than tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil.  It looked good in the jar and it was good.  Avoid the cheap stuff, it's got extra sugar and added water and who knows what.  On the other hand, I did want some extra "stuff," and that was:

     1 hot Italian sausage
     1 sweet Italian sauasage
     2/3 of a container of small porcini mushrooms, or all of it if you prefer
     3 small spring onions or 4 large green onions  (I had some of each)

     Rinse the mushrooms and set them to one side; squeeze the sausages out of their casings into a large non-stick pan (I have one that can't decide if it is a high-sided skillet or a very wide saucepan, but a wok or large frying pan works, too) over medium heat.  Turn the meat over as soon as it browns and mash it out flat, then use a spatula or whatever to break it up.  (Worst case, lift it and use kitchen shears!).

     Slice the mushrooms and add them.

     Slice the onion and set to one side while the meat and mushroom cooks; drain the grease, add the onion, stir it all together and  give the onion a minute to so to get partially cooked, then add the sauce, stir well, and heat it up to an almost-boil.

     Make some divots in it (you're just pushing the meat, etc. out of the way) and crack an egg into each one (you can use however many eggs you like up to full coverage of the sauce, one per serving).  Cover, reduce heat slightly, and let it simmer until the eggs are done -- basically, once the whites are set, just let it be until the yolks are cooked to your preferred degree.

       Serve in bowls, lifting the poached egg out with a ladle and adding a proportionate amount of sauce.  It's warm and complex and filling, and looks pretty fancy for something so simple to prepare.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Remember The Puzzle With A Fox, A Chicken And A Sack Of Grain?

     You have a rowboat that'll carry you and any one of the three and you've got to get grain, chicken and fox all across a body of water without ever leaving a fox/chicken or chicken/grain pair alone on either side.  I think it was XKCD (Randall Munroe) who pointed out the real solution: Leave the fox.  Foxes aren't domestic animals.*

     Of course, he is brilliant.

     Me, what I have is perspiration.  I also had to get four 250 foot runs of not-very-flexible LMR-400 coax from the roof of an oversized two-story building through a conduit run that included not less than nine 90-degree bends, four of them in very close pairs, including one into a vertical. open-fronted wire duct above a suspended ceiling.  The conduit wasn't big enough to run them one at a time, so there was a fat bundle to fight.  --Oh, and two of the 90s are above the ceiling, between a wall and a lighting fixture, requiring vertical-limbo skills to reach.

     The usual way to do this, assuming you are insane or desperate enough to make the attempt, it to station a person at each end and every 90 or close pair of 90s, and everyone helps the thick, awkward mess along.  It works well.

     That would call for at least six and preferably seven people.  I had four, two of whom had better things to do -- oh, and about 25 feet of the run wasn't in conduit, but through a very "busy" raised floor under an in-use control center.

     We did it, mostly by me bouncing between three of the worst corners (yes, including the two above the ceiling) and the application of plenty of brute force and utter guile on everyone's part, but it wasn't quick and it certainly wasn't easy.

     I won't know if we "killed" any of the cable runs until later today  An overlooked kink will destroy the stuff worse than a network cable.  Wish me luck -- I'll be connectorizing the bottom ends and applying a Time-Domain Reflectometer.  What's a TDR?  Think of it as "radar on a rope:" it bounces signals off the far end and looks to see how well they make the round trip, with a presentation similar to a radar A-scope.  I hope not to see any bogies.
* Leave the fox and grain, take the chicken across.  Leave the chicken, go back and get the grain.  Goodbye, fox!  Good luck!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cybernetic Intervention?

     So, is a robot that habitually attaches random used parts to itself "addicted to junk," and if so, do its peers attempt to install new firmware?  It seems only likely.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Of Gutters And Things

     For the amount of water that was arcing off the end of the gutter, the blockage wasn't all that much, several feet of leaves just along the very end of the gutter.  It had produced gallons of water, some of which I caught in a trash can and poured down the storm drain later.  The uncaught water gouged out a little pothole in the side yard. That corner -- perhaps that whole side of the house -- is ripe for rain barrels with hose-threaded boiler valves and short concrete-block stands

     I was a slug yesterday and only cleared the gutter and downspout, did some laundry, did a little necessary shopping and that was it.  --Or it other than dinner, a kind of mushroom ragout with slow-cooked beef:
By the paintbrush of Arcimboldo, does that resemble a face in profile?
     It was pretty good and I will do better next time -- the onion's a little too sharp and the shiitake mushrooms could stand to be replaced by straw mushrooms, I think.  But it's good nevertheless.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Yesterday: Carpentry And Contemplation

     ...Though not in that order.  I'll tellya what, the carpentry produces better results.  Also, it stormed like the very dickens and I learned I (well, the house, really) have a blocked downspout.  This merits attention.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I Mowed The Lawn Yesterday

     ...And darned near drowned in my T-shirt.  It was kinda hot and very humid.  Perspiration simply did not evaporate.  Yeech!  But the lawn's mowed, about a week overdue, so....

     The air finally wrung itself out as I was putting away lawn tools.  We had a good steady rain for a few hours.  Storms today, they say.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Feel Like I'm 110 -- But I Only Look 70!

     Day off, on account of my having worked from well before "can" both Sunday and Monday, and not to forget the little early-hours jaunt last Saturday.  So I slept in, have made egg-on-a-tortilla, and am now contemplating what else to do for the day.  If it's interesting, I'll let you know later.

     Yesterday, I went from first floor to second-story roof-top, over and over, in a building with insanely tall floors (more than 15' each), trying to figure actual length of an actual wire (well, coaxial cable, really) in a conduit run only half of which I knew much about.  Early guesstimates had been on the order of 150 feet, and I'd thought that generous--

     Nope, I'm a miser.  Try 238 feetsies.  Two flippin' hundred and thirty-holy-heck-eight feet.  Try ordering another 500' roll of LMR-400 coax (we're paying $0.83 per foot, a pretty good price, and yet still it makes beancounters weep).  Try part of the path I was counting on had been occluded by a tangled mass of abandoned-in-place wires, which I had to stop what I was doing and clear away before I could proceed.  And back up to the roof (the last half is a ladder climb) and back down, with time spent raising and lowering tools and supplies on a rope for variety.  Small wonder I'm tired today!

     Whatever else, I am darned well going to make a solid try for donutary goodness today.  I deserve 'em.

     Hey! Tam's got video of a biggish hit'n'miss engine running a gristmill at the State Fair!  Have a look!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Here's My Plan....

     Having just enjoyed a tasty bacon, Muenster and horseradish omelette (the filling is one strip of bacon, crumbled; one slice of Muenster cheese, spread with horseradish sauce and cut into small bits, very nice), I intend to get into the shower early enough to get out of the house and buy a couple --or more! -- actual fresh donuts.  I don't have them very often and I do like them so.

     ETA: And I didn't have them today, either.  Turned out I had misplaced my car key and I had to make a frantic search for it.  --Hadn't got it quite snapped onto the lanyard last night and it had migrated to the very bottom of my purse.  Last place I looked.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Kershaw! My Kershaw!

     I carry (by choice) a pretty specific (and now discontinued) Kershaw pocketknife, their 1820 "Needs Work."  I own a pair of them, or I did, and I work them pretty hard; it's my knife-of-all-work, opening boxes, trimming sections of the Velcro™* strip we use instead of tie-wraps or -- shudder -- cable-lacing, pencil-sharpening, trimming, marking, etc. etc.

     Went to put my knife back into my pocket yesterday and the clip wouldn't catch.  It spun around, having somehow lost one of the tiny screws that hold it to one of the scales.  Frustrating, but I figured I'd rob a screw from my backup knife, which is presently needing a new spring anyway (in my hands, the springs last an average of three years.  YMMV).  Kershaw is good about parts support but I usually wait until I need a couple of items in order to not burn up twenty dollars of their time over a single five-cent part.

     I can't find my backup Kershaw 1820.  There's a chance Huck the cat has taken it, since it normally lives on my dressing table and he has been known to remove items when trying to wake me in the morning.  If so, it can't have gone far, it's too heavy.  There's a chance it's buried in the far back corner, under spare socks and a folded blanket and I'll be looking into that this morning.  (In the meantime, I found a third one on eBay.  Hey, it's discontinued and I like that model; might as well stock up when I find them at a decent price.)

     It's surprisingly unsettling.  One of those knives has gone into my right-hand jeans (or skirt -- I won't buy 'em without pockets) pocket every morning for years.
* For signal/low-voltage wiring, we use the name-brand stuff, which lasts 10X longer than the generic versions made by electrical-parts makers, is priced slightly less, and is readily available in black, white and screamin' Hunter Orange.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Señor Dan Bing?

     Awhile back, I posted about and tried to make "dan bing," a Chinese breakfast treat consisting of a crepe-and-egg arrangement.  You cook the egg right on the crepe, roll it up, slice into bite size sections, dip in sauce and enjoy!

      The crepe -- approximately an egg roll wrapper -- is very tricky to make from scratch. I managed only indifferent success on my first try. I looked for a commercially-made version, but the groceries around here don't stock egg roll wrappers. (Spring roll wrappers, you can find everywhere -- they don't work so well for this.)

      What you can find in grocery stores all over in Indiana are tortillas. While a flour tortilla is thicker than the original dan bing crepe, it turned out to be a fair substitute -- cooked in a little oil, flipped over and the well-scrambled egg-and-stuff poured on (and chased back as it spills over), then flipped again once the egg is set enough. I tried rolling up the end result around a strip of bacon and that works, too. The soy-and-sesame-oil seasoning of the original works fine, or you could try all manner of other tasty variations.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Important Note

     It is news to some people that one person in four in this country comprises 25 percent of the U.S. population.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

"I'll Wait Here In The Jeep, While Jim Tickles The Tiger's Tummy...."

     So I'm up early (work, yes, really, work again, this time per schedule) and the TV is playing one of those home-fixit shows.  The host certainly looks the part, in heavy dungarees, checked shirt, ballcap and jacket, but I can't help notice that while he does 95% of the talking and always says, "Now I'll do thus-and-such," there's an old-school carpenter in a wrinkled chambray shirt and the traditional while overalls who is actually doing just about all the work other than slapping down blue tape to make marks on.

     The host drones on and on, nearly always saying "I" while the carpenter does the job, a faint half-smile flitting across his features while the host claims credit for his work.

     Look, I'm glad there's a talker there to explain the process. The trade has plenty of tricks and the folks who know them nearly all prefer to do rather than say.  Just don't claim work you're not doing, okay?  Especially right in front of the person who's actually doing it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Adventure In Futility

     If it had been a serious problem, I would have heaved a rock through a window and worried about making it right later; as it was, I had a pleasant drive in the muggy early-morning air, fought several locks and returned home having neither spun nor toiled, as unworked as a lily in the field.

     It started an hour earlier, when my phone rang at 0415 -- that's "way too damn early" in the common parlance -- with a call from a Master Control operator.  It looked to him like a minor-but-important widget up at the North Campus had shut down, plus, "There seems to be something wrong with the remote control."

     After several iterations and much back-and-forth (tell me what you see, please, and not what you think about what you see: I can't see it at all and I'm better equipped to make guesses than you are, if I only knew what was on that screen in front of you!), it developed that the remote control was perfectly fine, the minor-ish widget was trying to reboot itself -- and something was seriously wrong with the incoming power.

     There's a genset at the (entirely crewless) North Campus and a number of automatic transfer switches that will not only put the backup power online, but also bypass various vulnerable parts of the system.  The main one is set to be cautious; you can't have it slambanging back and forth on every little glitch, only actual outages.  This was an actual outage, only it had started "dirty," with the loss of one or two phases of the three-phase power, bit of a brownout, etc. etc while the switch was counting to fifteen before shouting, "Ready or not, here I come!" The generator had spooled up, gone online...and the minor widget had made a poor job of returning to service.  The Major Widget up there, through which about 60% or more of my paycheck flows, appeared to have weathered the storm.

     I got some clothes on and gather up my purse anyway.  It had been a nasty enough hit that the North Campus rated a visit.  As I was leaving, Master Control called back.  They'd been looking at the security cameras and the lights had blinked, Major Widget had blinked, and minor-ish widget was off and rebooting again.
     "Let me guess," I inquired, "the P&L POWER GOOD indicator on the remote control went from red to green, didn't it?"
     My heavens, the Master Control operator had been too shocked to look, but yes, it was green now, and how did I know?
     "That was the retransfer.  You're on commercial power again.  I still need to go take a look."

     Driving up to the the North Campus, I called my boss, got voicemail, left the Reader's Digest Condensed version, and received an "Okay, thanks" text back, which I first started to read at a stoplight where the road I was on intersected highway 31 -- except there was no light, red, yellow or green.  At all.  It was out.  That was my turn onto the highway, so I stopped, looked and proceeded, and at the next (working) stoplight, managed to arrive as it went red, did my reading, waited out the light and drove on.

     At the North Campus, the main gate, with card-reader and motorized opener, is still not working, just as it has been for the last six weeks.  I checked to be sure, then drove to the obscure back gate, undid the lock, threaded the too-short, too-fat chain back enough to open the gate, drove through and reversed the procedure afterward, only without benefit of headlights.  Down the gravel lane, up to the front door, hold up keycard, the LED flips from red to green, accompanied by an insistent "BEEEP!" and the solenoid lock...utterly fails to open.  I try again, red-to-green, BEEEP, nothin'.

     Okayfine.  I'm special, I carry an Engineering Submaster key, which I use on the old steam-technology lock.  The cylinder engages, turns...and does not withdraw the bolt.  Not nothing nohow.

     So I called the Security Chief, who is every bit as happy to wake up early on a Saturday as I was.  (Share the joy!).  Told him I'm going in through the North door, full length of the building away from the alarm keypad, and will he please put the monitoring company on the qui vive about it, since we have changed monitoring outfits and the new guys do not issue Secret Decoder codewords, but just call the po-lice toot de sweet whenever the alarm is tripped.  As it will be while I dash over to the keypad to shut it off.  "Sure," says he, and I'm off.

     Door.  Key.  Key in lock.  Turn key, feel cylinder move, feel bolt withdraw, I'm almost in!  Grab door handle, tur- turn?  No turn!  Pull?  Nope.  Immovable.  I tried bracing my feet and pulling: nope.  Tried applying main force to turn the handle clockwise, counterclockwise....  Nothing doing.  It might as well be a solid object.  I went back to my car to call the Security Honcho again, stopped, thought This Is Plain Nuts and returned to the door for another try.  Nuh-unh.  It. Will. Not. Move.

     So I called the Security Boss, explained the situation, asked him if he would consider addressing it, and received the reply, "I'm heading up there now."  Good.  It's his problem.

     I left, fought a short, nasty fight with gate lock in the dark, dropped the padlock, found the padlock, and drove a mile down the road to calm down before pulling into a parking lot to text my boss and ask if I could expense a prybar.
     He asked,  "Is everything back on?"
     "Yes, and Security is on the way. I want the prybar for next time." 
     He was okay with that.  I may also add bolt cutters to my Work-Emergency Bag already in the car.

     What a flippin' circus!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Overheard Down The Hall

RX: "Mmmm, 'liquid blueberry pie:' Blueberry soda, vanilla ice cream, a dash of cinnamon...Tam, are you out of straws?"  (You've got to drink a float through a straw.)

Tam: "No, the colorful ones are too long for the holder.   They're above and to the left of the sink. With your ΓΛЯάζ∑ ЂŒŗ Θ6ЗЙ℮φ..."

RX: "Okay?  ...Unh, Tam?  I can't find 'em.  Regular left or Marine* left?"

Tam: [Laughter] "In the same little cabinet where you keep your Garage. Door. Opener.  Just the next shelf up.  To the left of the sink.  How can you not find them?  They practically bite you every morning!"

RX: [Pauses to blush]  "Oh, right in front of me!  Thank you!"
* I think I have mentioned my Dad and his brothers all served in the U. S. Navy or Naval Reserve, whereas Tam holds great admiration for the USMC.  There is, therefore, occasional raillery-by-proxy.  I may have lost this round.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I Work On A ...Manlift?

     That's what they call 'em, though there isn't a pink-painted verson for us distaff-side folks; we just have to the the same blue cage-on-a-crane as the boys.  I have spent a great deal of time the last week and a half in one, doing this:
Image taken from the lift.  This is about half of the room.
     Not so much the wires: I laid out and installed the wire trays (and their hangers, safety chains/cables, etc.) and all of the AC power drops -- or 24 of 27 quad boxes, anyway, and built a few of them.  Mostly my friends and/or coworkers assembled the power drops, since they were highly specific: 17 feet long, with a "stage plug" at the far end, a kind of power connector ripe for outlawing by Nerf-the-world regulators and legislators, as it is inherently dangerous in multiple ways.

     Thus endeth today's glimpse into the exciting world of show business.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ew, Get It Off Me!

     My new Kindle Fire 7 arrived with The Washington Post presubscribed for some free trial period.  The headlines are horrible but fascinating -- it's like having a sewer back up through a tidal pool every day: repulsive but you have to look.  Alas, it's also banal and on the whole, represents the same dumbing-down that caused me to drop the local paper some years ago.  You can line catboxes just as well with the free hippie newspaper.

     You give 'em a First Amendment and what do they do with it?  Print photos of swimmers giving death stares at their competitors.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016


     No, not a Soviet submarine -- this:
     Logitech's K380 Bluetooth keyboard.  About 11" wide and maybe 3/8" thick.  It's sitting in front of the Kindle Fire 7 it is being used with. 

     The combination produces a purse-survivable writing workstation.  The keyboard is either full-sized or very close; it has proper round keycaps and there's zero wasted space.  Key feel is remarkably good.

     Of course, now I'm pondering a larger Android pad-type device.  Price ramps up steeply above the 7" diagonal screen, so that'll take awhile.

Another Breakfast

     Leftover cooked sausage, a slice of prosciutto, some carrot, a radish and some sliced green olives:  warm the meat, add three eggs, toss in the veggies and scramble!  Serves two, three if you have enough toast.  And you know what it needs for seasoning?  Nothing.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Breakfast: Italian Omelet?

     I don't know what else to call it: mild but flavorful Italian sausage, sliced cherry tomatoes, a light cheese and olives filling an omelet.  I didn't have any Mozzarella, so I used Muenster instead.  Fresh scallions would not have been remiss; I faked my way past this with a little de- (and re-) hydrated onion.  Throw in a sprinkle of "Italian" seasoning (basil. oregano, parsley, etc.) and there you have it.

     As is my habit, a few crushed saltines and enough water to make them mushy lent body to the three-egg omelet batter.

     Alas, I woke up Tam to share, and it turned out she'd been up quite late indeed, winding down from a weekend shooting class.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Gone A Bit Blank

     Sorry.  Thinking through some heavy stuff.

     I ought to go ride my motorscooter, is what.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Well, That Was Fun

     I worked until well past midnight last night.  Like a goof, I had forgotten I was on a late shift, and set a before-work appointment for the early morning.  As a result, I woke up at five a.m., rushed out the door, did the thing...and then found myself with six hours to fill.

     A bicycle ride to fetch donuts -- I pedaled hard, so maybe the calories will cancel out? -- and a short nap seemed to do the trick, but sleep hit me like a hammer when I finally got home and laid down.  It's possible I'm not as young as I once was.

     I hope I managed to rescue a frog.  I happened to walk through the huge garage at the site where I was working and something went "Eeep!" and hopped weakly away, dragging a trail of dust and lint.  I was a smallish frog, which had probably wriggled in through a gap at the corner of one of the overhead doors.  I carried it out to a damp patch near a high curb, where it would have a chance to dodge at least some of the things that eat frogs.  There are crickets a-plenty in the garage, some of them big enough to let a small frog know it had been in a fight, but no water

Friday, August 05, 2016

Up Early

     For once, I'm up early.  Hoping to make that a theme this weekend and to get some things done before the temperature and humidity outdoors become unbearable.  I have spending my work days in a very large room cooled to at least 65* and it has made conditions outside feel all the worse.
* There is a very long story there, with a moral about letting the desire to keep people happy trump what you know to be true.  You see, the equipment in this room and another one just like it has changed over time, becoming  smaller with each generation -- smaller, lighter and producing a lot less heat.  Meanwhile, the cooling was designed in the 1970s, way too much for the room,  Cooling is how you control humidity, too, and it takes pretty long run times to do so when the outside humidity gets high. An oversized system does not run for long to cool the room.  Fail!  Both rooms open onto a loading dock, big doors, and while it is supposed to be worked like an airlock, that's way too much effort for many of my co-workers.  Even more Fail! Then several of them had the bright idea to get both rooms turned up to 75: more comfortable and better for the environment, win-win!  They sold Building Maintenance on their clever idea and madcap highjinks ensued: the previous setting of 68 was just barely over the break-even point.  With the temperature up, the cooling units couldn't run enough to dry the air.  Add a couple of extended periods of time with loading dock and room doors open....  Not pretty.  Major Fail.  At one point there were damps patches on the walls.  The temperature has been turned back down to 68 but too late; the other room has the most activity and they're running dehumidifiers in it now.  I asked to have the temperature set as low as practical in the room where I'm working, doing some prep work for yet another generation of small, light, not-very-heat-producing equipment.  At least it will start dry; what the operators do after that is not in my control.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Aught-Ought What?

     We all know "007" is "Licensed to kill," but what about the other "00" numbers?  Here's a guide:

     000 - Unlicensed
     001 - Licensed to have a license
     002 - Licensed to annoy, irk, pester and bother
     003 - Licensed to skeeve
     004 - Licensed to slap-fight
     005 - Licensed to injure (slightly)
     006 - Licensed to maim  
     007 - Copyrighted and trademarked seven ways from Sunday, also licensed to kill
     008 - Licensed to kill, revive and kill again
     009 - We don't talk about this one
     010 - Remember the planet between Mars and Jupiter?  Yeah: 010

     Print this list out and save for future reference! 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Tuesday, Vacation's Over

     Time for a...delicious...breakfast...of...plain black coffee? 

     Yes, because I've got labs.  All I have to do is refrain from having breakfast until after they have drawn some blood this morning, but that's plenty.  Maybe I'll have time for a nice donut after!

     This is the usual outcome of going to the doctor.  At my age, the medicos are like cats watching a mousehole.  Blood sugar?  Cholesterol?  Barratry?  Yaws?  ...They're just waiting to pounce.  Well, except probably barratry.

     Also, I have probably got unhappy metatarsals.  These are not, as any normal person would expect, mutated kangaroos, but bones in your foot, and it may be the cumulative effect of repeatedly stubbing my middle toes because I bought the wrong size sandals to wear around the house.  Feels like a pebble under the ball of my feet when I walk barefoot on a hard floor.  Going to get sent to a podiatrist for that.  They aren't the ones that just talk, are they?  Or pod-doctors?  Or both?  "Now, zen, vhen you were chust little itty-bitty feet, vere you ever replaced by exaaagt dupligates grown under ze compost pile?" ...Probably not.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Good Morning

     I'm awake, I'm off work.  A rare one-day vacation, thanks to a doctor's appointment at noon.