Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Good Bye National Geographic

I believe I just received my last ever National Geographic magazine. I've been reading them since I was in grade school and started my own subscription shortly after graduating from high school. (Back in those days, you had to be 18 to subscribe and needed an existing member to "sponsor" you into the Society.) I've seen a great deal of changes in the magazine over the decades. Some were good. Some sucked. But on balance, I always found something worth my time in every issue.

Until the January 2017 issue.

The cover depicts a gender dysphoric boy dressed in pink girl clothes, in a classic pin-up pose. The entire issue is devoted to gender dysphoric children. If this is yet-another new direction for the magazine, then it will be a direction they will be travelling without me. Sorry, but I have no desire to pay to have pedophile porn mailed to my home. Even us deplorables have standards.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

United States of Goldman Sachs

I guess "draining the swamp" is following "hope and change" to wherever it is political slogans go to die once they've served their purpose: get the rubes to vote for you. Goldman Sachs is going to be doing some serious recruitment over the spring to replace all the "talent" The Donald has poached for his administration. Between GS running the economy and all the most bat-shit crazy generals running the military, the next four years could be rather entertaining.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are doing everything in their power to make themselves look ridiculous:

With Trump blowing up the Republican Party, you would think the Democrats would spend their energy taking advantage of that instead of running around screaming, "The Russians are coming!! The Russians are coming!!" There can't be anyone left in the world that thinks Americans are anything other than a bunch of psychopaths and crybabies.

Anyway, Happy New Year!!

Mine started off with having to clean up puke all over the men's room and hallway at work. Seriously? Are there really people over the age of 20 that still drink until they puke all over the place the next morning? At least say something instead of leaving it for my opening bartender to step in. 

So first, a 2016 wrap up: Nothing has really changed. We still haven't hit the Power Ball, so Debbie is still selling cruises and I'm still working full time at the Moose Lodge. We did finally get some work done on the place, but not by me. We ended up hiring outside help which probably doubled the cost, but at least something got done. We've also got the water leak patched and an estimate to rip out all the old, crappy plumbing in this place and redo it while also adding in a hook-up for a washer/dryer out in the new shed. We will probably hold off until the snowbirds leave in May to do that. In the meantime, we're busy rearranging stuff and hauling away everything we can do without in an attempt to give ourselves some elbow room in here.

We did good on the reading front. I signed up for a 50 book challenge on Goodreads and managed to blow past that with 65 books total. The two of us put away something like 110+ books for the year. Not bad considering all the distractions like work. I re-signed up for another 50-book challenge for 2017. I thought about upping it, but decided to leave well enough alone. A book a week is a pretty good clip while working full-time. No sense in straining myself.

We again met our primary goals of not ending up homeless or killing anyone, but it was close on the second one a couple times. I've said it before but it needs repeating; of all the personality disorders out there, narcissism does not age well. There is nothing worse than a self-important asshat who has absolutely nothing meaningful to do with his time.


Last year I said the fracking bubble would continue leaking air, and it did. In spades. 2017 will be more of the same. Oil prices stayed low all of 2016 and even with the reductions in fracking and tar sands, that won't likely change much in 2017. As more countries like Japan, China, the EU continue wobbling, demand will likely continue to decline, while places like Russia and Saudi Arabia will keep pumping as much as they can.

I also expect 2017 to be the year of some sort of "event". A major bank failure, derivatives blow up defaults on car and/or student loans, real estate, stocks, bonds. There are lots of bubbles out there that look ready to pop. James Kunstler is calling The Donald the "Designated Bag Holder" which is something I've been saying all summer. Hillary may still end up being the winner of the 2016 election by not winning. If there is some kind of "event", we may end up with neither of us working. We have an emergency stash, but it ain't that big and even in the best of times, Zephyrhills is hardly a boom town. If things do go seriously sideways and you are related to one of us, expect company.

Well, I have to cut this short and get some dinner going.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016!!

Ok, so let's get the normal Christmas stuff out of the way:

And new for 2016:

I'll (mostly) refrain from talking politics on Christmas day, but let me say this: "Russia hacked the election" has to be the single most idiotic internet meme since the end of the Mayan calendar fiasco. Trust me; if Russia had "hacked the election" (whatever in the names of the gods that means). there wouldn't be any tracks for the CIA to find. Bottom line; Hillary Clinton was the worst presidential nominee running the worst election campaign since Michael "The Turtle" Dukakis was handed his ass by George H. W. Bush. (For those under the age of 45, Wikipedia has a nice summary.)

Our Christmas gift to ourselves was an small addition to the trailer:

Anyone interested in a lightly used 8x8 shed?

We also have a major water leak (thanks Krampus) that means we need to keep the water shut off to the entire trailer most of the time. And being the holidays, unless we pay for an emergency visit, we get to wait. For how long, we have no idea. We've been planning on tearing out all the old plumbing and redoing it just for this reason. We had hoped to pay for the car port/shed first, but I guess we get to keep chuckin' money out a window....

Anyway, Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

There's an Alien in the House

So this time I have a reason... well... excuse for not posting anything in a while. Our main PC went to the big motherboard in the sky. It started acting weird, so I did what any long-time Windows user does whenever your PC does something unexpected: I rebooted. The boot process hung at the BIOS screen. I said to myself, "Self; this is not good." But before I gave up on it entirely, I figured I'd let another set of eyes take a look at it. He didn't have any better luck than I did, even trying to boot from a DVD. He cracked open the case and right next to the CPU were a couple puffed up blackened capacitors. Really not good.

[Insert a three-day gap here. Explanation to follow.]

I hunted around for a replacement and ended up ordering last year's Alienware PC from Amazon. I set it up, plugged everything in, (and here is the explanation for the three-day gap in writing this post) then watched my Drobo choke and die. Or so I thought. After some fiddling, I got it to come back to life, but there was clearly something wrong. I started the process of moving all my files off the Drobo and onto the C drive of Alien. That took a full 48 hours to complete. Once my files were all safe, I could look into what was going on with my Drobo. Turns out, one of the drives failed and it did exactly what it was supposed to do. What caused my panic was having it connected to a new PC that did not have the monitoring software installed yet. Once I calmed down, I simply removed the failed drive and inserted a new one I had sitting around and all is well again.

While I was still in panic mode, thinking I would have to replace my Drobo, I did something that I've been considering for several years. My Drobo is the original model that attaches to a single computer via USB, which I then share to my network so Debbie can use it from her computer. The problem is that means my computer has to be left on 24/7. I've been looking at Network Attached Storage (NAS) as a solution, but the Drobo NAS's are very pricey. While in a blind panic, I grabbed a cheapie Western Digital NAS. We have one of these at my job and it works pretty well. I figure I can move all the files from the Drobo to the NAS, then use the Drobo as a backup. All the hard drives in it are the same age; if one failed, the others are likely not far behind so I would rather not be completely dependent on it.

In any case, we are mostly back to normal other than finding and installing all the little bits of software I've accumulated over the years. Much of it may wait until I actually have a need for it; half the software on my old PC hasn't been run in several years. I'm also taking this opportunity to change office suites; we've run Open Office for a decade-plus, but I haven't really been happy with it since Apache took it over. I installed the Libre Office fork of the same software on Alien. We'll see how it goes. I'm leaving Debbie's PC alone for now, just to make sure there's no weirdness. We don't have any complex spreadsheets or databases, so I don't expect any problems, but if they do occur, better to have them happen to me than to Debbie while she's trying to work.

Well, off in search of software and installation keys. Wheee!

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Too-Frequent Conversation

We are sitting on our double recliner, reading books. Suddenly, the hair on my neck stands up. I look to my right and see Debbie glaring at me.

"What? I swear I didn't fart!"

"Notice anything different?"

My eyes dart around the room as I break into a panic sweat.



"It... uh... it is different. Did you get it cut today?"


"Oh. I like it. It looks nice."

"You suck."

"Yea... but I love you."

"Shut up and read your book."

This scene plays out several times a year.