Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Absa-fragging-lutely!

Munchkin Wrangler has a post up on the subject of what the Constitution is really all about.  Go have a read.  I heartily agree!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

From the Earth to the Moon


I did some shopping at one of my favorite stores today.  I picked up a few things.  A couple of books and a couple of videos.  One of the videos was a complete set of the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon on VHS tape.  After watching tape one which contains episodes one and two I have to give this the highest possible rating.  If the rest of the series is even half as good as what I have seen thus far it is worthy of your tracking it down to add to your video collection.

Now I admit that I am coming to this party rather late.  You see, I had this little dispute over a bill with my local cable company a while back.  Long about the beginning of the fifth season of Babylon 5 as a matter of fact.  That’s when I told the cable company to …  well, lets just say I used a few “colorful metaphors” and the expense of an over priced cable bill left my life for good.  So I didn’t see this series when it first ran on HBO.  I don’t know that what they are charging for cable these days is worth the price, but this series is worth tracking down on tape.

That’s my two cents and I’m sticking with it.

But I am not about to sign up for cable…  I waste enough time as it is on the internet!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Redrawn Schematic



 
This new version shows the connections in more detail and better represents the actual hardware as I’ve installed it.  One thing that I had not included in the original version is the pair of “Catastrophe Fuses” that go between the panels on the roof and the charge controller.  They are not required for the system to work properly, but they are a good idea.  With the fuses in place the system has a fighting chance of surviving a lightning strike to the panels.  While the panels themselves would likely be destroyed, the fuses popping may save the charge controller, batteries and inverter.  The charge controller does have its own fuse as does the inverter.  But I still think it’s a good idea to have fuses in line between the panels and other equipment.

The way this system is wired the meter that I have installed will tell you just how much juice the panels are producing.  It will also tell you if that juice is being used (the open circuit voltage with no load is roughly twice the working voltage under load) and if there’s no voltage when there should be, IE: the sun is shining on the panels and they should be making electricity but aren’t, then the catastrophe fuses need to be checked.  This meter is totally optional.  The system will work just as well without it being there and it’s easy enough to take this same reading with a hand-held meter.  I just got tired of taking out my meter every time I wanted to check the panels and so I installed one into the system permanently.

My next project will probably involve a small wind turbine.  I have a few ideas…

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Overheard in the Living Room


(Concept brazenly swiped from Tam)

 
Me, after reading Mum a joke from an email: “I think I read that in the jokes page of Boys Life magazine back when I was in the Scouts!  That was probably 37 years ago!”

Mum: “Old jokes never die.  They just smell that way…”

Me: “I’m glad I have anosmia!”

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Now this is funny!


The legacy media has noticed that America’smurder rates are going down.  We’ve been aware of that for some time now.  But it’s finally reached the point that even the high priesthood of the authorized purveyors of ‘official reporting’ can no longer ignore it.  So there’s an article on the subject by The Week’s Editorial Staff (linked at Yahoo News where I found it (not that they, in particular qualify as “high priesthood” exactly…)). 

Anywho…

In their editorial they offer three things they think might have something to do with this trend.  I’ll let you go see for yourself what they want to claim may be responsible.  Nope.  They don’t mention that.  They don’t even hint at it.  But there are (as if this writing) some 376 comments - many of which are pointing out the elephant in the room that the authorized media are so thoroughly ignoring.

As so many of the bolgers I read on a daily basis would say: We’re winning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I had a thunk...

Moments ago somebody mentioned spaghetti here at work.

Somebody else replied "Well, it is Wednesday..."

Which called to mind a couple of old TV commercials.  The first was the
classic ad featuring young Anthony Martignetti running through the
streets of the North End.  The second featured a twenty-something young
man, winded from his run, being asked by a local restaurateur "Hey
Anthony!  Where were you on Wednesday?"

And that in turn had me scripting the third in the series:

An old man is riding his Rascal mobility scooter down the sidewalk.

An elderly woman yells out an upper floor window "Hey Anthony!"

He reaches up to adjust his hearing aid, looks up, squints through his
bifocals and waves.  He hollers back to the window "Is it soup yet?"

Wait!  That's the wrong commercial...


Posted after I got home having emailed this to myself from work.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Stupid Criminal Tricks

Personally I love CoinStar machines.  I would NEVER put any coin of mine into one, mind you!  They are a ripoff, IMHO.  The machines at your local grocery store take a notable percentage for the privilege of counting your coin for you.  What I like about them is that it is often lazy and sloppy people who use them.  I make a point of checking the reject bin of every one I encounter.  There is abandoned coin there often enough to make it worth my while.  I have even found the occasional 1964 quarter in the bin or around the machines.  :-)

But as bad a deal as these machines are, this takes a special kind of stupid:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A tragedy worthy of Shakespeare

SayUncle links to a news story about a fifteen year old boy beingshot to death by police in a school in Brownsville Texas.  The boy brought a very realistic looking pellet gun to school and created a situation where the school was locked down and a full police response was called in.  Here is what I commented over at Uncles:

I’ve been thinking about this story since I first read about it in the news late last night.

It seems to my reading that the situation was orchestrated by the kid from the start.  He created a ‘situation’ at the school that guaranteed an armed police response.  He was ordered to drop his very realistic gun.  He instead aimed it at the police.  I have not heard that he fired on the police.  I suspect not.  If my suspicion is true, actually harming anyone else was not his real intent.  He escalated the situation to the point where the police had no other alternative but to shoot him.  As much as I hate to suggest it, this has all the signs I would expect to see in a deliberate attempt to achieve what did in the end happen.  I believe this was in reality a case of Suicide by COP.

I feel for the kid’s parents.  And especially for the officer(s) that pulled the trigger.  They had no way of knowing that it was only a pellet gun and the situation was created to prevent their finding out until after the fact.

But I also have to feel bad for the kid.  Whatever his situation may have been, and I’ve seen no hint as to what that might have been in the media, he chose a permanent solution to what was almost certainly a temporary problem. 

And everyone looses in the end.

I trust Uncle’s title about ‘banning pellet guns’ is just Unc looking for some dark humor in an otherwise totally unhumorous event.  And you know some dumbass Joyce Foundation shill will suggest exactly that.  Only they’ll be serious.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Going back to work tomorrow …


… to rest!

Mum and I accomplished the last major item we had hoped to while I was on vacation today.  We test drove a Ford Transit Connect.  I like it!  And I’m even more sure that one will be our next car.  I just don’t know when that may be.

The model I’m interested in s the XLT Wagon not Special.  I want the 60/40 split bench in back and the truck-like panels instead of windows in back.  The XLT Special Wagon has windows all around.   

I first became interested in these trucks after I had put an offer on a former county jail that I was going to run as a Bed & Breakfast.  The Transit would have been the company car, owned (or leased) by the business, and decorated to resemble a paddy wagon with fake bars in the back windows and the B&B logo on the panels where the way back windows would be in the XLT Special Wagon.  Looks like I wont be doing the B&B thing after all.  But I still like the truck!

They didn't have the wagon on the lot so I drove the XLT Van version instead.  Mum was able to get in the car without too much difficulty.  That was a big part of the test right there.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Toys!


I just bought a new toy!  One of a type I’ve thought would be useful for quite some time.  I’ve just been too cheap to part with the cash!

My new toy is a portable scanner called NeatReceipts™ that’s made for scanning receipts, business cards and full size documents up to legal size.  I have a flatbed scanner that I generally use for most things.  The key to this one is the OCR software that comes with it along with its searchable database to store your scanned items in. 

I keep my household books in a spreadsheet I’ve written.  I’ve used a variation of this system for more years than I care to remember!  Ever since the days of that very first spreadsheet program on my Commodore 64 if you must know…  All the wile every bit of data that has been entered was typed in by hand. 

Until now that is. 

I just entered the first four records into my spreadsheet from exported data from receipts that were scanned in and “read” by the OCR software.  I did have to edit one of the receipts to correct a read error in the amount the item was for and to remove what the software took to be sales tax.  While it may sound pretty bad what with that being 25% of the total number of receipts entered, it’s really not.  This was a restaurant receipt with a hand written gratuity and total.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well it did with the various types of receipts I’ve scanned with it.

I should have done this years ago!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ty Ming is evy sing!


Some times Ty Ming works in your favor.  Take last night, for example…

So there I was in the thinking room as the year was winding down.  I decided to replace the never-ending To Do list with a new years greeting for Mum.  It came out okay, if I do say so myself.  So I decided to share it with the world.  Or at least with my loyal reader.  (Note the singular.)

So I got the camera and shot a picture of it for last night’s Happy New Year post.  Had a small problem with [x]ing the wrong window after previewing it and had to redo the post.  No big deal.  I managed to get it posted at about five minutes of twelve.

Then Mum and I chatted for a couple of minutes before I decided to see if CNN.com was running a live stream of the ball drop.  Sure enough they were.  So I clicked on the link. 

“You video will start in 30 seconds – after this commercial.”

I have no recollection of what they were advertising and I really don’t care.  After the ad finally went away I got a pop-up asking if I wanted to load some New! and Improved! software on my computer.  No thanks.  Just give me my video.  Thank you very much.

Loading … loading … taking our time … loading …

6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Then they played a recording of Auld Lang Sine.  Not being a big Sinatra fan I switched it off when the switched over to New York New York.

Ty Ming is evy sing!

Well, it's about time...

I finally found the right gizmo to rap with my hammer to fix the time stamp.

As I mentioned over on Facebook...

It occurs to me that all of the leftovers in the fridge are from last year...