Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Moon

The first full moon on Christmas since 1977; the next one won't be until 2038. We thought we weren't going to be able to see it. It was supposed to be cloudy and raining. But that never happened and instead we had sunny skies and highs in the upper 80's for Christmas.

Tomorrow, vacation is over and it's back to the grind.

Merry Christmas!!

Because nothing says Christmas like boring repitit... er... Tradition:

A new one for this year we heard Wednesday while we were at Busch Gardens. This recording doesn't capture the seriously amped-up bass. I'd be surprised if there isn't some sort of structural damage being done to the building.

I've had no luck trying to find out who performed this. My first thought was Trans Siberian Orchestra. They have a version of Carol of the Bells, but this isn't it. Not often the googles comes up completely empty.

Well, today is a full day, so I need to get at it.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Yo Saturnalia or whatever holiday greeting floats your boat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fundraising Update

Our lodge's final Toys for Tots fundraising event was on Saturday, December 12. I don't think that many (or more likely, any) of our members read my mini-sermon I posted. We certainly didn't come anywhere near my $40K-plus-toys challenge. We did, however, raise more than we have ever raised in the past: over $17,000 in cash plus another $6,000 (very conservative estimate) in toys. Given how badly the Marines were freaking out, it's probably a good thing we didn't raise any more than that. In any case, a bunch of East Pasco kids who would have nothing Christmas morning now will. And yes, it was all we could do to not tear into the boxes and play with some of the toys ourselves. Not to sound like a bitter old fart, but Holy Crap Do Kids Have Cool Stuff These Days!!!!

On the home front, Debbie is gearing up for her busy season at work with some days crazy busy, while other days she may as well have stayed in bed. I'm getting deeply into a new point-of-sale system the lodge purchased. I had hoped to have it all up and running by now, but it appears that my ten-year hiatus from the computer industry has not improved the ethics of computer software salesmen. (Salespeople? Salespersons? Anyway, "salesman" is an accurate description of our particular liar.) It's partially my fault for us getting strung along for so long. The second I saw the default inventory app, I knew there was no possible way it could do what we were told it could do. I've written enough inventory/purchase order systems that I should have immediately twigged to the fact that we had been had by Clover. Not that the system is useless; for small businesses, it is plenty capable. And there is a third-part app that adds the functionality we were promised, but it costs an additional $20/month over the cost of the system. I realize $20 a month may not sound like a big deal to, say, a software salesman pulling down six figures a year, but to a small non-profit it's not nothing. Add in the fact that either my boss or myself have to go back to the board and explain that we were suckered and to make the system do what we thought it would do for us, we have to spend more money.

The other option is that I roll something in-house, but being out of the game as long as I have will make that a challenge. Certainly not impossible, but not easy. I'm not even sure what sort of data we can get out of the system. I know there are reports that can be exported as Excel spreadsheets, but until I have some data to work with, I have no idea what those look like. There is supposedly an API built into Clover, but you have to be a developer to learn anything about it other than that it exists. I should know more by the end of the week. (Meaning the end of my work week, not the end of the calendar week.) One other thing we were promised was that all our data would be loaded into the system for us. I don't know how long that normally takes, but I sent some of the data off last Friday and hadn't heard anything by Tuesday morning. So I decided screw that, and loaded it myself in about four hours. Not sure why I need Pakistani child labor, or whatever Clover uses, to type in a couple dozen categories and less than a hundred items. Anyway, I'm rollin' now and look to have the system ready for training and installation probably this weekend.

I had to giggle earlier today while reading an article linked to by The Automatic Earth. It seems that all those pushy, self-righteous lefty vegans who claim meat-eaters are destroying the planet are full of crap. Growing vegetables takes more energy, water, etc. than "growing" the equivalent number of calories in the form of meat. The trick that has been used to hide this little fact is to compare the weight of vegetables vs. an equivalent weight of meat rather than the number of calories from each. Granted, Americans consume too many calories, regardless of what form they come in, and it is certainly easier to over-eat meat than it is vegetables. However, simply reducing caloric intake would be more beneficial to the environment (and the person) than switching to plants instead of animals. Of course, my take-away is that this is an indictment of how we produce food in the good ol' USA rather than what a person is eating. A salad or chicken dinner that I grow in my backyard has far less environmental impact that a 3,000-mile Caesar Salad or KFC made from Chinese chicken. But that conversation is not allowed.

Well, gotta go make the donuts. (Actually, pork chops, but WhatEvar...)