Tuesday, August 20 2019


I try to put these somewhere safe when I take them off during yard work, it looks like I need to try harder.


What's Next

This past weekend I helped Kyle run four network lines through his house. Took five hours and I was of little use after that. But it's off the to-do list so there's that.

Next up is Kyle's work flashlight. He really likes this rig, it's bright and sturdy but stopped working. I ran some tests, did some research, and think I can fix it and make it better to boot.


The switch and battery are fine, the driver and/or the LED are not. So I offered to 'upgrade the front-end' if he paid for parts and threw in a few quid for my labor. The tricky bit will be finding the right parts.

I Don't Want To Know

Something's going on...




The barometer is up and running. Not the best picture but you get the idea.


The back story is that I met someone that was going to toss the old hand-me-down in the trash because it had quit working. Made in West Germany, has a mahogany frame and porcelain dial. The guts looked like they were in pretty good shape. Temperature compensated with tiny sprockets and a wicked thin metal chain with links the size of molecules. Delicate stuff, it's like a fine mechanical watch in there.

I gently cleaned the guts and then applied the smallest amount of very light oil to a few of the pivot points. Some gentle coercion got the needle moving. I then set it inside a gallon size zip-lock, inflated the zip-lock as best I could and then gently squeezed the bag. Response! So I knew the aneroid didn't leak.

I left the wood unfinished, re-assembled it, calibrated it to local pressure and hung it on the wall in the dining room. It does a better job of predicting the weather than the guy on channel 5.

Monday, August 19 2019


I bought these recently, whatta find! They'll be awesome once I figure out how to use 'em.



This past weekend I confirmed today's follow-up appointment and found this in the system:


One of two things happened when I saw it: either my eyes skipped over the UTC or my brain didn't register. I thought the evening appointment was so that people that worked during the day could get these things done in the evening.

So I called the office and confirmed the 2:30 PM appointment time, we'll discuss the system's use of UTC during check-in.

Tuesday, August 13 2019

Three Dog Day



"I don't think paralysis of the electrical grid is more likely by cyberattack than by natural disaster. And frankly the number-one threat experienced to date by the US electrical grid is squirrels." - John C. Inglis, Former Deputy Director, National Security Agency 2015.07.09

Continue reading...

This Would Take Some Getting Used To

In an effort to be more inclusive the Air Force now allows beards if the request to grow one passes deep scrutiny.


Beards and religious accoutrements like turbans will of course be removed if the mission requires it, as gas masks don't work with that stuff in the way. I also bet 'the 'Dusty Hill look' won't be allowed no matter how much an airman praises ZZ Top.

A war story:

Once upon a time I let my hair get as close to the limit as I could and then took 30 days of vacation. I got back early Monday morning and soon discovered that dorm room assignments had been shuffled around because of some painting and upgrades to the rooms.

So I waited in the day room until the dorm manager (three stripes my senior) showed up. He got his office unlocked and I stepped in. He said he didn't expect the painters to show up so early and that I'd have to wait for him to get things set up. I stood there wearing maybe 50 days of hair and a month's worth of beard and explained, "I'm not a painter, I'm Airman Smith and I'd like to know where my stuff is."

Boy was he pissed. I can still hear him ripping me a new one for how I looked that morning.

Nice Work

A few afternoons ago we went out for a bit and returned to a house with no internets. Turns out the next door neighbors requested a disconnect and the genius they dispatched disconnected us instead. Took 'em three days to set it right.


They apologized and took $10 off the bill. They also upgraded us to the next highest tier service (100/10 instead of 60/6) for free for 12 months. A promotional, they said.

I think the writing is on the wall and they know it. Their internet is on crappy ancient cable TV wires while the new company in town is busy stringing fiber optic all over the place. Can't wait until they do our neighborhood.

Oh. The blog might seem a bit snappier because faster internets at this end. Enjoy.

Willa and Towels

The golden retriever pulls a hand towel off the ring in the bathroom or the rung on the dishwasher, or pulls a bath towel off a bathroom rung. Then she trots it over to a JRT and teases her with it until they tug of war. We humans, busy with other things, think without looking 'that's nice, they're playing'.

When we realize too late what they're up to it turns into a 'Chase the Retriever around the house until you can pin her down and pull the towel out of her mouth without it turning into another tug of war'. The result:


But we've changed tactics lately. She grabs a towel from somewhere then proudly prances to where we are and parades it in front of us. We respond with praise and lots of pets for bringing us a towel. She's such a good girl. She gets the attention she wants, we get to pet the dog for awhile, and the number of perforated towels is holding at six.

Monday, August 12 2019


There's a few projects in the queue:

  • Kyle's work flashlight quit working so he asked me to see if I could fix it. He really likes that flashlight. The parts I ordered are slowly arriving.
  • I'm FINALLY putting that barometer back together.
  • I need to add another hard drive to the server.
  • I'm writing a program that'll slosh files back and forth between my phone and the computer. Just because.
  • The van's rear wiper stopped working.
  • One of the three-way switches in the front hallway finally went kaput, the other one feels like it's gonna crumble apart the next time it's used. They're those ancient ceramic-body jobs with the bakelite lever and the whole shebang uses 'ye brittle olde knob and toob wiring'. O joy.


I think comments are still broken, I'll have to check. Please use another way to touch bases if it can't wait.

That Was Different

I crossed an item off my bucket list today!

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Tuesday, July 30 2019

Comments - cont. - cont.

Rebooted. No joy.

I'm going shopping.

Comments - cont.

The server logs tell me that apache, mysql, and php were all updated about a week ago. That's the entire server software stack so it wouldn't surprise me to learn some update messed up something. There was a linux kernel update but that's too low level to affect anything and kernel updates usually relate to squishing bugs, security, and add support for new hardware (this mostly) so I doubt that's an issue.

I'll reboot the server and see if that buys me anything. I doubt it but it's quick and easy.

Rolling back those frappin' updates would be a pain, if even possible. I don't want to get caught up in all that right now, y'know. I just want it to work.

Alternatives? (I ask myself). I'd ask for your opinions but outside of sending them to me in an email I'll never know what they are unless... unless... maybe I should just start tweeting.


Comments aren't working. I didn't change any settings so..... I don't know. I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, July 20 2019

July 4 at Coney Island NY (1949)


Car Hammock for Baby (Year Unknown)


Someone's Organized Basement


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