Thursday, September 21, 2017

Life in Florida

Woman arrested while trying to yank out another woman's hair and uterus.

Pasco man arrested for driving into person who set bananas on his car.

Hours after Hurricane Irma, Miami-Dade County tickets residents for code violations.

And yes, I saw the update where the county tries to walk back its profound stupidity. There is no possible excuse for hassling people who are standing outside their destroyed home trying to find missing relatives about a damaged pool fence. As far as damaged electric and gas meters, there is nothing a resident could do about it even if Home Depot happened to be opened. Those are the property and responsibility of the utility. So again, why are you hassling someone more concerned with where they are going to live and what they are going to eat because their gas meter isn't properly attached to their destroyed house?

Whenever a stupid man is doing something that even he knows is stupid, he will always use the excuse that he was just following orders.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dr. Nefario's Snowplow

We sooooo needed this when we lived in our little log house:



Those are MiG-15 jet engines. Leave it to Russians to invent a snow removal device that looks like a doomsday machine from a Bond flick.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dr. Jerry Pournelle, RIP

Lost in all this hurricane nonsense was the news that Dr. Pournelle passed Friday afternoon (September 8th). I never met him in person, but we did communicate via e-mail on occasion. Thinking about it the past few days, I realized just how much Dr. Pournelle influenced the path of my life; from his monthly column in Byte magazine, to his daynotes website (the world's first blog, although he hated the term), to his books, one of which (Oath of Fealty) is directly responsible for us landing at Arcosanti.

Steve Sailor over at Taki's Magazine has a memorial article on Dr. Pournelle:

In 1977 Jerry paid $12,000 to have a state-of-the-art personal computer assembled for him, supposedly to boost his productivity. By 1980 that led to his long-running “Chaos Manor” column in Byte magazine in which he would document his troubles on the bleeding edge of PC technology. As fellow word-processing aficionado Dave Barry explained jealously, Jerry got paid to mess around with his computers when he should be writing:
Every month, his column has basically the same plot, which is:

1. Jerry tries to make some seemingly simple change to one of his computers, such as connect it to a new printer.

2. Everything goes hideously wrong…. Sometimes there are massive power outages all over the West Coast. Poor Jerry spends days trying to get everything straightened out.

3. Finally…Jerry gets his computer working again approximately the way it used to, and he writes several thousand words about it for ‘Byte.’

I swear it’s virtually the same plot, month after month, and yet it’s a popular column in a magazine that appeals primarily to knowledgeable computer people.

I like to imagine Steve Jobs circulating “Chaos Manor” columns to his executives with scribbled annotations suggesting that some people would pay good money to not have to go through all this.

Sailor doesn't mention it, but Dr. Pournelle always named his computers. His first one was christened Ezekiel, or Zeke for short. He frequently referred to it as his "friend Ezekiel, who happens to be a computer." Zeke now resides in the Smithsonian.

I tried to remove the link to his website from my list over there on the right, but I just... can't. That link has existed on every website I have ever maintained. Someday it will disappear. Today is not that day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We Survived Irma...

...and we didn't even get a crappy t-shirt.

She jigged, she jagged, she was all over the place. But in the end, we were on the "good" side of Irma. Debbie was working up until sometime Friday afternoon when the mandatory evacuation order was first announced. I had to work Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so we just sat tight and had the car all packed up with what we would need for a few days of camping out. Debbie came with me to work on Sunday and we stayed there until Monday morning.

Sounds simple, right?

Heh.

Sunday morning, we shut down everything at the house, loaded up in the Durango and instead of starting, it was just, "click-click-click". Dead battery. Seriously?

We found someone in the park, got a jump and headed out about two hours later than we planned. We were still in pretty good shape, but the weather was starting to turn ugly by the time we got to my work and threw everything into the building.

All was good until around 9pm when parts of the building started losing power. However the place is wired, some of the building can be out, but other parts will stay up. Kinda weird. Anyway, little by little, things stopped working until around 1am Monday,  we were completely in the dark with no phone, TV or internet. Cell phones were still working, so we could call and reassure nervous relatives that we were fine. By sun-up it was all over, so we headed for whatever was left of our home. (It only took two jump-starts to get the three-tenths of a mile from my work to the house. THANKS CHUCK!!!)

Our place had no damage, just a lot of debris. My parent's place didn't fare so well. The new roof over the porch detached from the main roof and collapsed. That's part of today's job; see about getting that the rest of the way on the ground before it goes flying around the park.

Power here came back on around 5pm [Debbie says, "Nuh uh, it was 7:24pm." OK, 5pm-ish], so we didn't have to throw away everything in the fridge and freezer. My work is still out (I'm typing this Tuesday, noon-ish), which means that it's starting to get iffy on all the food in the various fridges and freezers there. That would be a big bill. I hope we have insurance to cover the loss.

Our first priority today was getting a working vehicle. It would start with a jump, but it would die a couple tenths of a mile down the road. Today so far was spent trying to find a place with power that I could buy a new battery from and then somehow getting there. Someone at the lodge was out and about and knew that we were stranded. She got all the specs over the phone, bought us a battery and delivered it here to the house. THANKS TERRI!!!  So we have a car that runs, but I don't think we are out of the woods yet. Because of how it was acting, I think there may be a problem with the alternator as well. As far as I can tell from what it was doing, the alternator could not have been putting out much for the car to keep stalling out. (I couldn't tell for sure because it's a soccer-mom car with no gauges, just idiot lights.) But the battery needed replacing regardless; when I tried to remember the last time I had bought a battery, I had no recollection of ever doing so. When I pulled the battery, the date was November 2004. Oooooookay. Maybe I should call Interstate about buying my dead battery to use in an ad: Six-Year Battery Lasts 13 Years!!!

Yeah. Probably not.

So we have transportation, power, internet and the landline phone working. Cell phone coverage is still hit-or-miss. I assume it is a capacity issue. We get various error messages; "Network Unavailable", "Emergency Calls Only", etc. All we have is a Tracfone, so I assume we are last on the priority list to connect to the local towers.

More later, but I better get at cleaning things up.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Roof Korean Option

I was going to post something about the cruise, but I bumped into this instead:

The Roof Korean Option will recognize that this life is “nasty, brutish, and short” and there is little time to sit and chat with Rod [Dreher] about the merits of gay civil unions while getting a $75 haircut when your home is being broken into or your daughter didn’t get into Notre Dame because she checked “white” on the entrance application.

You really need to read the entire essay. I've been sayin' much the same thing pretty much for the life of this blog, but Jesse Russell says it much better (and funnier) than I ever could.