Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Lost Month

It's been a while, for reasons good and bad. Lessee; where did I leave off?

Oh yea. Windows 10. The deadline for a free upgrade was coming up quick, so I told the administrator it was decision time: Either we upgrade to Win10 or stay with Win7 until support goes off. I knew everything we used would work under Win10 except one bit of proprietary software from Moose International that is absolutely required for us to run a lodge. We had been assured that it would work, but we didn't know of any lodges that had upgraded. So we picked a weekend when it was just me in the office. I would start with my PC, check for any problems, then do the second PC, which is the only one running said proprietary software. Long story short, it all went well other than a few minor glitches that I was mostly able to quickly iron out. We do have one piece of software that you cannot see the menu because the default Windows background color for the menu bar (which the software uses) was changed from blue to white, but the software uses a custom menu font that is also white. Why someone would choose to use the Windows menu bar color and not the text color is beyond me. Either go all the way with a custom UI or use the OS defaults. The fix was to upgrade to the latest version. And that's where things get interesting.

Over the last year of working in the office, I've noticed that nearly all the purchased software was many revisions out of date. I knew the lodge had hit a financial rough patch several years back, so I didn't think much of it. I figured at some point I would look at what we were still using and if significant amounts of money were involved, send proposals to the board to get caught up. However, it seems that at some point in the deep dark past, someone decided to save a little money by purchasing the student versions of most of the software we use. (Not many college students in a Moose Lodge, so I'm assuming some sort of minor fraud was involved there.) That means there is no simple upgrade path. We basically have to pay full freight to get the current versions. Some of them are no big deal; the full versions are in the $50 neighborhood (which really makes me question the logic of buying the student version in the first place...), but a few of them are going to cost us a couple hundred each. That may be a tough sell. I'll be looking into just what we use those for and if we really need them. My suspicion is that we do not.

While I'm on Windows 10: I tried out a skin that is supposed to make the Windows 10 menu look like Windows 7. It worked, sort of. It was agonizingly slow and interfered with the auto-hide on the task bar. Eventually, I got tired of it and uninstalled the thing. The one feature that I liked was the easy access to the control panel and other system settings, but once I learned the WindowKey-X trick, I never again used the Start menu to access those things anyway. So today, I decided to eliminate it, even if that means having to see the latest tweet from realDonaldTrump every single time I hit the Start button.

So; why this place went dark for a month. First, the good reason: This being an even-numbered year, Debbie's family had its biannual reunion on August 6th. Her and her brothers had gone in together and rented a house on Burt Lake for the week after the reunion. We decided to drive up as that would be cheaper than flying and renting a car for over a week. The trip was mostly uneventful, other than the car overheating in Atlanta like it always does. No explanation for it. It doesn't have a problem driving in any other place, climate, temperature, altitude, anything. But as soon as we get about ten miles outside of Atlanta, the temperature gauge starts climbing. We can keep it in check by shutting off the AC until we get out the other side of Atlanta, then we can turn the AC back on and all is well. I assume Atlanta is some sort of hell-mouth. Anyway, other than that, no problems, just long and boring. We spent a day with my parents and got to see all the nieces, nephews, grands, etc.
The house with its new paint job.

A couple goofy people showed up.

Then a whole bunch of goofy people came. 

More goofy people.

Somebody let a monkey in the house.

Everybody on the swings.

We happen to be there on Matthew's birthday, so CAKE! ICE CREAM!

Then the rest of the way up to Camp Pet-o-se-ga on Saturday.

We're Here! We're Here! We're Heeeere!

We spent the day mostly eating and sitting around deciding if we could eat some more.

Cooking lunch and getting a free arm hair removal.


Then off to the cabin on the lake.

The cabin.


Another sunset.

Everyone playing with the tubby toys.
Then it was another long boring slog back to Florida and work.

Now the bad reason for it being so quiet here. After a couple normal days back at work, it was the administrator's turn to take a vacation, which meant I got to work 12 days in a row for 10-12 hours a day. Today was my first day that I was both off work and at home this month. I had all these plans of getting all this stuff done outside, so of course Tropical Depression Nine decides to dump non-stop rain on us starting about 7am this morning. I was supposed to work on the lawn at the lodge tomorrow, but that ain't gonna happen, rain or shine. If it's raining, I'm obviously not going to be working outside period, and if it isn't, I'm going to be working on my own place, thank you very much.

Now, about Tropical Depression Nine. No, we are not getting hit with a category three hurricane. No, it's not even a tropical storm. That's why it doesn't even have a name. A tropical depression means that it's gonna rain. That's it. I'm sure the news has been showing flooded neighborhoods and roofs flying off buildings, but that is not what is happening. It's raining. The wind isn't even blowing. And that is all that's going to happen for the next couple days. It's going to rain.

Take a deep breath, relax, and keep repeating to yourself, "It's just rain. It's just rain."

[Update: About 20 minutes after I hit publish, the NHC upgraded #9 to Tropical Storm Hermine. (Why not Hermione? Oh, wait. Humorless government drones. Got it.) When I checked this morning, they added the possibility that it may get itself together enough to be classed a hurricane before it makes landfall. From the radar, it looks like it's carrying a fair amount of rain, but again, nothing "unprecedented" for these parts in the month of August. I did have to laugh while we were watching a little TV last night; the local CBS affiliate showed the same years-old flood footage and the same wrecked car on every single commercial break, along with the usual hysterical arm-waving and shouting about how I had to tune in at 11pm. Or DIE! It's like watching your uncle who knows one lousy card trick that he pulls out at every family gathering and expects everyone to be impressed.]

I came back from vacation only to find that The Moron and The Criminal are still running for president. I was really hoping that one would be in prison and the other... well... disposed of. No such luck. JMG had a great bit last week on the cognitive dissonance that the two candidates are causing to members of the Democratic and Republican parties, as both candidates pretty much represent the worst possible choices that the respective party members can imagine. And yet, the programming says you have to support your candidate no matter what because the alternative is so very much worse. Heh.

Personally, I'll be sitting this one out. For one thing, there isn't even a third party candidate I can hold my nose and vote for. Secondly, I don't think it's going to matter. I expect that by the end of this year, the economy will be in so much turmoil that no one will care who is in the White House come January. If it's Hillary, we can expect a tanking economy along with a heaping side o' whup-ass courtesy the Russian military. As for Trump, I don't think he even wants the job; he seems to be doing everything he can to throw the election to Hill&Bill, which goes along with my theory that the whole thing was a prank that got out of hand. I'm sure he has access to financial information that is at least as good as what I have, so I can't believe he is unaware just how precarious the whole edifice is. This has been building for decades, but we all know that whoever gets stuck with the job of POTUS in this election will go down in history as the president who destroyed America. Why would he want any part of that? Hillary is such a power-mad psychopath, she will risk anything to get the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. But The Donald is just your run-of-the-mill narcissist with all the power and money he wants. He has nothing to gain and everything to loose.

Meanwhile in Chicago, black males age 17-25 are killing record numbers of black males age 17-25. BLM blames the cops. The politicians blame the guns. No one blames the gangs that are doing the killing because to do so would be racist. Good luck with that, Chicago. There is no way this can end well. The cops are pulling back and dragging their feet, meaning that in black neighborhoods, the only authority that will matter at some point will be the gangs. Assuming that hasn't happened already.

And it's still raining with no end in sight. Time for some reading.