Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oh by the way...


Taking a page from Tam’s book…

Overheard through my driver side window:

Cop: (working a detail for the phone company) “Didn’t you see that double line?”

Me: (tossing a thumb over my shoulder) “Didn’t you see that double-parked car?”

Cop: “He ain’t double-parked.”

Me: “Yeah right.”

Cop: (apparently seeing other cars going around the one that’s double-parked) Waves me on.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Well Said

This comes to us by way of a link over at FaceBook posted by Oleg Volk:

JUST PEOPLE: July 4th, 2013

Well worth a few moment of your time.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My traditional Independance Day post:

This day is not about burned hotdogs and hamburgers.  And it is not just about having a day off from work.

Today is the anniversary of a far more impotent event in Human affairs than even many of our fellow countrymen remember.

Today is the anniversary of an event that changed the world.

This is a test

This post is only a test.
We will return to our regular lack of posting
after this test...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

And another thing...

As I was riding along on Rt. 495 in Westford yesterday I saw a pick up truck pulled over on the shoulder with his hood up.  There was steam wafting away on the breeze.  The driver was walking back around the truck with a posture that seemed to say 'It could only happen to me.' 

And that leads me to my next little question: 

Who does the AAA SAMARITAN TRUCK call when HE breaks down?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Just a quick question:

When does compulsively checking FaceBook for new updates become addictive behavior? 

Friday, June 7, 2013

It’s been a running joke …

... around the HerrBGone household:  When there’s been interference on the phone I have often commented “Guys, your monitoring gear is interfering with my conversation again…” as if the .gov might be listening in.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013


NECN is reporting 'suspect #2' in the Boston Marathon bombing has been taken into custody.  He is alive but wounded.

Today’s Weather

Today in and around eastern Massachusetts we can expect temperatures in the low 70’s, partly to mostly cloudy skys with a 20% chance of showers later in the day mixed with sporadic gunfire and the occasional hand grenade.

If you are in the Boston metro area, particularly in Boston, Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, Belmont, Waltham and especially Watertown:
  • Stay indoors
  • Keep your head down
  • And you AR aimed at the door
  • And remember Rule 4: Know your target and what’s beyond your target

You don’t want to accidentally take out one of the good guys.  There are still a few out there, you know.  Lawdog as a case in point (although he’s rather obviously not in the Boston metro area)…

Oh and a note to the local media: The FAA has issued a No Fly Zone over the area of interest.  After all, we wouldn’t want there to be any independent video that might conflict with the “Official Account” of what went down, now would we?

Tinfoil hat?  Naw!  I find that a well-grounded stainless steel salad bowl works much better!

BTW: Does this vehicle look familiar to any of you?

Image from Boston.com

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pelham traffic stop yields weapons cache

Yeah, right…

Adding drama to their investigation of the suspicious vehicle at about 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Officers Thistle and Barbato, while questioning the three suspects, "observed in plain view several semi-automatic firearms/weapons" in the rear section of the Toyota van, McCarthy said.

The BB guns' resemblance to actual firearms was so significant that the officers at first believed the air rifles were the real thing, McCarthy said. – emphasis added

From the minimal description provided in the article I would speculate that the likely make and model was one of these:

Crossman M4-177 -- Image via the manufacturer’s websight.

I don’t happen to have one of those myself.  But they do look like a fun plinker.  Basically the one I handled at WalMart seemed to be a along the lines of a Pumpmaster 760 dressed up in an AR-15 costume.  If I was in my teens I’d probably be drooling all over the idea of getting one.  And the stock really is adjustable, just like its metal cousin.  Did I mention that these are almost completely made of plastic?  Metal is used where needed but the entire outer frame is injection molded probably polystyrene.

The newspaper reports that the van was stolen as were the airguns.  That got the driver arrested on felony charges for receiving stolen property.  His passengers were arrested for not being able to convince officer OMG they got gunses! that the baggies in their pockets contained oregano for their home ec class later that afternoon.

UPDATE:  It turns out that the "rifles" in question were not BB guns.  They are much more realistic airsoft guns.  I shouldn't expect the media to understand the difference, or even that there is a difference...

Lowell Sun photo

 UPDATE II:  I just thought I'd point out the nice job the local cat box liner did in cropping this photograph.  Trim a little off the stock and you don't really loose anything.  But if you trim an inch or so off the muzzle you can completely eliminate the ORANGE TIP that all airsoft toys are required by law to have.  Suddenly it looks like a real AR-15.  In terms of the oath administered to every witness in every court across this land that would be a failure to "tell the whole truth."

A worthy remembrance

Of the events of this night, 238 years ago.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Post Two, Take Two, and --- ACTION!

Over at Tam’s she tells the tale of her day.  It involves gravity, a staircase and the sudden stop at the bottom.  “Ow!” Indeed…

I’ve had a few “incidents” myself today.

Incident one and a half had me very thankful that I’d taken the time to go in the house and get my OSHA certified side-shield safety glasses.  I was using my sawsall to trim away some now excess framing from around the water heater door frame that had been part of the hinge when the long since missing original hatch was installed thirty-five years ago.  Well the one metal cutting blade I had on hand snapped.  What’s more the busted off end decided it wanted to test the robustness of those very safety glasses.  The ones about half an inch in front of mine own eyes!  I am pleased to report that both the glasses and more importantly my eyes are undamaged.  I was just annoyed that the blade snapped.  I had to make due with a not very striate universal blade instead.  It got the job done.

Incident one involved my not getting a good measurement for the width of the door.  20 ¼ will do very nicely I think.  The plywood I had cut at my local ‘big boys toys ‘is’ us’ is a nice and neat 21 inches even.  Well, at least I don’t need the lumber stretcher…

For now I reinstalled the old plywood that fits on the new hinges with the new hasp that has an integral lock.  It’s much better than the old version with all the drywall screws holding it in place.  I can now access the water heater with the turn of a key instead of needing a screw gun.  I’ll trim the new weather resistant plywood and install that another time.  I may even paint it!

As I was putting away the tools and stuff from the water heater door project I decided that now would be a dandy time to get that accursed vine out of the rhododendron out front.

You know, it’s annoying enough how much detangling you have to do to separate this kind of vine from the plant you are trying to save.  But then when you start pulling with the intent of getting as much root as possible – my ghawd!  The root structure on this damned thing is phenomenal!  We could use napalm on it and this weed would be the first thing to grow back!

Well, I managed to get most of the vine out of the rhody and took a lot of root along with it.  Then I was working on the last two strands that had wrapped themselves around each other like a cable.  I had a good two fisted grip around its throat, er, well, vine, and I gave a mighty heave with all that I had to put into it, when, suddenly, it snapped.

Pulling that hard when you all of a sudden find yourself with no resistance whatsomever can lead to some rather entertaining unpleasant things.  I damn near did a back flip right there in the driveway.  Or at least I landed in the driveway.  On the pavement.  On my right elbow and hand.

I do believe the air turned a wee might blue at that very moment…

So there I am lying face down in my driveway.  I hear a car go by a few feet away in front of the house.  They apparently must have been honor students in the local school system because they “didn’t get involved” with the obvious “man down” at the end of his driveway.

I did a self assessment lying there and decided that as much as things hurt nothing was apparently broken.  OK, so now how do I move and brace so I can get up without doing any more damage, given that I wasn’t assured as of yet as to the accuracy of my initial assessment?  Well, I managed, picked up my hat which had landed some distance away, and sat down on the back bumper of the flea van to catch my breath.

Apparently the initial assessment was fairly accurate.  My hand is sore, but (rather obviously if you are reading this) I can still type while actually using both hands.

Then, a little while ago, as I was typing Take One of this very post, the Godiva Dark Chocolate Pearls tin that I had placed under the near edge of the potato chip bag intending to keep the chips from spilling out all over the keyboard fell off the counter, bounced off the back edge of the keyboard it was supposed to be protecting, hit the switch on the power box --- and shut off the computer.

I had not saved.

I blame it on the calendar.  It may not be a Friday, but still…

So shortly after I’d written and posted the previous item with those unexpected musical gems I’m sitting here thinking quietly to myself “An out of shape fifty-three year old man taking a header like that ain’t the same as a twenty year old athlete doing the same thing” when all of a sudden Mum starts laughing her head off.  She’s reading a Stephanie Plum novel.  The timing couldn’t have been better if it had been choreographed!

Updated to add:

 Road Rash is a BITCH!

The improved water heater hatch.  

Once I get the new plywood in place what color should I paint it?

Back at ya…

Weer’d has been sharing some really cool bluegrass covers of favorite songs.  Well, here’s one for you:

And while we’re on the subject of covers in very different style from the original recordings, allow me to present this:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Originally written as a comment on Facebook

Over on the Book of Face JayG posted a link to a poll of police officers regarding background checks, “assault weapons” bans and the like vis-à-vis their affect on crime.  The poll results don’t sound like any of the polls touted by the various Joyce shills.  The headline as reported at Breitbart.com reads:

Police Poll: Armed Citizens, not Gun Control, Will Lower Violent Crime

In the comments left wing anti-gun troll Jay Adams went on a fairly typical rant about how according to his world view all firearms enthusiasts have a secret desire to be Chuck Norris.  I could make some snarky comment about his Chuck Norris envy stemming from a closer affinity to Christopher Lowell – except that I like Christopher Lowell and wouldn’t want to insult him (Christopher) like that!

Anyway, to get back on point, here’s what I wrote in the comments, which I think fairly well sums up the real ‘ignore that man behind the curtain’ reason so many politicians want the citizens, that is We the People, disarmed:

Jay Adams' Chuck Norris projection problems aside, the real issue has never been crime prevention.  The real agenda all along is the consolidation of power in the hands of those who hold it today.  (“Today” being any given moment in history.)  Those drawn to power are not generally all that willing to relinquish it.  Or to share it, for that matter.  An armed population has a power all its own that mere politicians have reason to keep in mind as they grab for ever more power of their own.  Eventually there comes a point where they overreach what the population will bear.  Case in point: The battle of Athens.   On the other hand, if the politicians can convince enough of the population that those of us who exercise our god-given rights as enshrined in the Constitution ARE the problem and can convince them that the solution is to gradually and incrementally move toward the eventual elimination of private firearms ownership – at least for the law abiding – then the politicians will have far less to fear as they grab ever more control of our daily lives.

Pardon me while I go refill my illegal in New York City size glass of soda…

I’ll add this one point here while I’m on the subject: Crime, violent crime in particular and the more spectacular the better, serves the politicians interests by keeping the level of fear high enough to allow them to push through their disarmament agenda.  With their false claims that the various proposed infringements of a specifically enumerated right that “shall not be infringed” will somehow magically cause violent criminals to stop misbehaving they hope enough of the general population will go along with the infringements.  If possible even with eliminating a chief canard of the Bill of Rights itself!  Sadly with the decades long corruption of our schools and the dearth of real education of our recent generations they may yet succeed…

Be vigilant!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Apparently the comments are working

This I know from all the spam I get to read in my email. 

Back in my LiveJournal days The (Original) Dragonfly was subtitled "Shouting in the Wilderness."  That seems even more to the point around here.  I haven't been posting all that much because, why bother?  Nobody reads it.  Of course nobody reads it because I haven't been posting all that much.

We have an executive branch running wild and a congress that doesn't have the stones to do anything about it.  The UN arms trade treaty was approved by the general assembly with the express encouragement and approval of the administration.  The attorney general has been held in contempt of congress - but not faced any sanctions that I have heard about as a result.  A communist nation has used the tools of capitalism to capture the vast majority of the production capacity of what was once the strongest manufacturing economy on the planet.  American business leaders have yet to figure that one out!  The fed seems to be doing everything in their considerable power to destroy what little is left of the value of the dollar.  And all indications are that the occupant of the oval office may very well be an illegal immigrant! 

What can one lone disgusted and demoralized blogger do in the face of all that?

Or put another way: Why bother?

The flea market is scheduled to open next weekend, weather permitting.  I may have to look for a fiddle so I can teach myself to play while Rome burns.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Not tonight, dear...

I had a post all set up to write.  On second thought I think I'll pass.  Maybe I should just go take down my flag instead.  The America I learned about in social studies no longer exists.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mass Speaker of the House announces Gun Control Panel

There’s an article at lowellsun.com on the subject of a new panel tasked with ‘reviewing and proposing revisions to’ the gun laws here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  A place I frequently refer to as Marxistchusetts for reasons that become painfully obvious to anyone who has the misfortune to live here. 

(Yes, I am planning to move.  I looked at a property in New Hampshire last night, as a matter of fact.) 

The article points out that “The task force does not include anyone from the gun lobby or the gun-manufacturing industry …”   After all, we wouldn’t want there to be anyone on the board who is actually an expert on the subject.  The second half of that sentence states one member is a "gun enthusiast and sportsman."  I don’t know any more about former Massachusetts and Louisiana Inspector General Robert Cerasoli than what’s in his bio on Wikipedia and there is no mention of his being a sportsman or what his position may be regarding the Second Amendment.  Still, one voice against seven where among the seven there is at least one noted anti-gun author.  In a court of law I would suspect them of stacking the jury.

Later in the article we find this nugget:
“Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, has taken the lead on this issue in the House, filing a comprehensive bill to address gun violence that would require gun license applicants to disclose their mental health histories, prohibit assault weapons from being stored in homes, ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, and require gun owners to purchase liability insurance.”
Let’s rewrite this to be a bit more accurate:

Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, has taken the lead on this issue in the House, filing a patently Unconstitutional bill to reduce private gun ownership that would require, among other things, the following:
  • gun license applicants must disclose their mental health histories to their local Chief of Police who has already been given cart blanch to disallow any applicant regardless of how qualified even if he has no real reason for doing so (not that actual criminals would bother to apply for permits for their [usually stolen] guns...)
  • prohibits modern sporting rifles from being stored in Citizens homes
  • makes mere possession of a common stamped tin box with a spring in it a felony even if you don’t have a firearm to put it in or any ammunition to put in it
  • and applies a burdensome Tax on Citizens who wish to exercise their Second Amendment Rights in the form of mandated purchase of onerously expensive insurance policies from private corporations
And that last bullet point is actually prohibited by RICO.  Think if it phrased thus: “Youz gonna do business with my associates in de insurance industry here or I’m gonna make bad things happen to you.”  Come to think of it, Obamacare violates RICO for the same reason!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Now this is just too cool!

A long time ago I was enthralled with the idea of radio controlled planes.  I even bought a used one at a yard sale.  I think my one flight lasted about three and a half seconds and ended with the prop spinner firmly planted in the runway.


The plane wasn’t that badly damaged and I did try again that same day, but I couldn’t get the engine to start.  After my one ‘less than successful’ attempt to fly my plane I pretty much gave up. 

The original idea was to put a camera on the plane and shoot in flight movies.  Back then video gear was much too big and heavy and everything about RC was expensive.  So I shelved the idea.  I had also thought of using a kite or a balloon or even a blimp to hoist a camera aloft.  So far It’s all just been the stuff of daydreams.

I did build a series of remotely operated submersibles that were remarkably successful.  The big one even had has a video camera and is operated with what they are calling these days First Person Video, or FPV.  That project was set aside around twenty years ago now when I bought a larger boat to run the ROV from.  I fixated on the boat and lost interest in the reason I bought it in the first place.

Who me?  Nah!  (cough…)

So a few weeks ago I stumbled upon this series of YouTube videos.  Flight Test to be specific.

OMG!  They are doing things with RC planes I would have thought defy the laws of physics and aerodynamics!

And the planes and equipment, while not cheap, are very affordable!  Some of the planes are positively cheap.  They are using foam board from the dollar store the way I used to use the Styrofoam cafeteria trays from the lunchroom at work to make gliders back when I was still working on the ROV.  I could very easily get roped back into the whole RC plane thing all over again.  And putting a camera on the plane is now almost commonplace!

Meanwhile there’s been a new hobby springing up of people from MIT students to sixth graders launching ‘space probes’ to the edge of space on weather balloons.

So with all this background in place I can tell you about the story I spotted in the news at lunch today.  It featured a name I recognized from the Flight Test videos.

Better yet, why don’t you just watch the video…

You will want to watch this full screen fer sure!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over…

It is fast getting to the point that our schools are more of a liability to our society than they are a benefit. 

The original point of school was education. 

Then they were quietly taken over by a group of wealthy industrialists who formed the Board of Education.  The nation wide standards they implemented for all of our schools from kindergarten through high school were designed to convert our schools into a massive manufacturing plant that produces factory workers.

In the fifties and sixties our schools were taken from the industrialists by socialists with a political agenda.  Mold the next generations into good little entitlement victims who CAN’T think for themselves and will go along with whatever the elites in government tell them.  And since there are now very few factory jobs left in America we can get the majority of them on the dole – which will make then that much easier to control.

All the while they’ve been increasing their insistence that the kids behave in a totally politically correct manor (according to whatever THEY decide happens to be politically correct at the moment).  If you’ve been reading the Dragonfly for any length of time you already know that Political Correctness was invented by Mao Tse Tung to allow the relatively small group known as the Communist Party of the Peoples Republic of China to control the vast population of what was at the time the most populous nation on the planet.

And now we have these two stories in the news:

7 Year Old Boy Suspended From School For Accidentally Chewing Pastry Into Shape of Gun

For Christ’s sake people!  This is asinine!

But wait, there’s more!  Yesterday we had another story that I linked on FaceBook.  I commented on it there, thus:

Keys to the city? A parade in their honor? A medal from the Governor?

Nope! How about suspended for being "involved in a violent incident."

All I can surmise from this is that the schools actually WANT your kids to be shot in the head so they can become "useful victims" in the march toward a defenseless population. Makes it easier for the coming dictatorship to weasel their way into power. If the next generation can be conditioned not to get involved regardless the cause it will be that much easier still.

Cypress HS students suspended for disarming gunman?
Student gets 3 day suspension after wrestling away gun


AMERICA cannot be taken from without.  But it has been thoroughly corrupted from within.  Our government routinely ignores the Constitution.  Our schools no longer educate – instead they condition our children to be mindless sheep, dependent on government for their very existence.  Many (but thankfully not all) of our corporations only care about their shareholders bottom lines regardless of any greater harm they may do.

How long can We the People sit by and watch as power-mad idiots who think themselves elite destroy the very fabric of our society?  And what, short of armed rebellion, can we do to save ourselves?

Me?  I’m working to start my own business and put my own finances in order.  I am working to disentangle myself from the snares our society has come to be used to.  I am trying to place myself on defensible high ground, armed with the knowledge of what is going on around us.

How about you?  What are you doing for yourself to take care of yourself?  The government is bankrupt – both morally as well as financially.  What’s more, they have no real interest in taking care of you.  Once you cease to be useful to them they will have no further need to provide for you.  What will you do then?  The time to figure that out is now.

Be vigilant. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A musical interlude…

Carrie Underwood: Two Black Cadillac’s

Listening to this song on the radio I was thinking more in the realm of the Soprano’s.  Watching the video, however, we find ourselves transported instead to the world of Steven King!  Bye bye indeed!

Ca$h Mob: West Concord 5 & 10

Saturday March 2, 2013
Commonwealth Avenue, West Concord, Massachusetts

I plan on being there at some point during the day.  Will you?

A cash mob effort for West Concord’s 5 & 10

I first ‘discovered’ the West Concord 5 & 10 around thirty years ago.  I was working in town and would sometimes walk past the store on my way to the train station.  Back then the trains were usually three Budd RDC’s being pulled by an FP-10 or similar locomotive in push-pull service between Fitchburg and Boston.  The trains have changed, but the 5 & 10 is still the same.  The economy has been hard on everyone and, according to the report, that combined with the closing of a key supplier, has been especially hard on the 5 & 10.  Let’s see what we can do to give a good honest family owned store a hand.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Because I can...

So Mum and I went out to Friendly's for lunch.  We both had the seafood platter.  Not unusual for Mum, but unprecedented for me.  You see, I know a little too much about some of my meal's place in the food chain.  I may have to revise my position regarding what things I won't eat.  Just maybe I might be a little more inclusive in the future.  It was good!

Anywho, the service was also good.  So naturally I left a nice tip...

Because I can...

Sorry the picture is so fuzzy.  I'm still getting the hang of the camera in my new cell phone.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Standing on a corner

In Winslow Arizona
Such a fine sight to see

The only thing missing is

A girl, my lord
In a flat-bed Ford
Slowing down to take a look at me

This “photo” is a screen grab from Google Street View.  I heard a cover of that old Eagles song on the radio today and finally got ‘round to looking it up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I don't want to go to Disney World anymore

A wheelchair bound three year old girl with spina bifida gets singled out by TSA for ‘additional screening’ and even has her stuffed animal confiscated.

To borrow a line from Weer’d: Disband the TSA yesterday!

Via Rand Paul on FaceBook

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thought for the day:

What is the penalty for presenting false identity papers for the purpose of obtaining a top government security clearance?

The document is a PDF.  To highlight the pertinent section I had to do a screen capture to include it here.  Link to the original.

So the answer to my question is that it is a felony punishable by a fine and/or up to five years in prison.

Here is an example of a false identity paper:

Another screen capture of a PDF.  Link to the “original” here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

You'd never know to look at the headline, but that headline actually takes you to three daisy-chained articles.  And they made the State of the Union second banana to a dog show!

Tee hee!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Playing with new toys!

So this afternoon I downloaded a copy of GIMP and I’ve been playing with it ever since.  Thanks Wolfman for the tip!  This looks like exactly the kind of tool I’ve been hoping for since PhotoShop is out of reach for my budget right now.  I expect it to take quite a while to even discover all the tools this program offers, much less to master them.  So far I’ve been messing around with the perspective adjustment tool. 

Here are a couple of samples:

I call this first picture ‘The Motor Pool dun Froze!’

Here is what the camera saw:

Here is what my eye wants the picture to be:

Had I taken the time to set up a view camera I could have achieved that image on film.  (And then would have had to find someone who could process it for me since all my darkroom gear is in storage…)  Being able to make the adjustments electronically is much simpler and doesn’t require waiting on the negatives getting back from the lab.

Comparing the two images:

In the first all of the supports for the awning seem to be converging as they get closer to the ground.  In the background my neighbor’s home seems to be down by the stern and listing badly to port.  It just doesn’t look right.

In the second version made from the same camera original the verticals have been corrected and the neighbor’s house is sitting level as it should be.  I had to crop the image slightly because the edges became keystoned as the image was manipulated.  This version looks much better to my eye – even though it is not exactly what the camera originally recorded.  It seems to me to be much truer.

The ‘verticals’ that aren’t in the railing in the lower left that your eye wants to make vertical but can’t are actually out of plumb.  The railing was installed parallel to the slope of the ramp so the top railing is not actually horizontal and the uprights are perpendicular to the angle of the ramp.  So even though it looks wrong it really isn’t.

This second image shows a much more drastic correction.

Here is what the camera saw:

Here is what my eye wants this picture to be:

Same kind of thing.  The camera was not square to the very rectilinear subject and the parallax in the recorded image really shows it.  But after a bit of ‘tweaking’ with GIMP it looks at least a little bit more like a catalogue photo for my recently acquired file cabinet.  There is still a bit of barrel distortion and I may have scrunched it a bit vertically, but I’d say it’s not too bad for my first time playing with this software.

BTW: In that first pair of photos the retired phone company van’s given name is Mabell (though she prefers to be called Butch…), the Westy is Thunder (the very first Vanagon to have his Floppy Mirror Syndrome cured by my open source and free for anyone to use rubber washer technique), and hiding in the background doing a very credible imitation of a snow drift is my world famous Punch Buggy, Galileo.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Brain dump

So I’ve had this blog post floating around in my head much of this afternoon.  But I haven’t been able to get myself to sit down and write it.  I shot a few pictures to go along with it – but even though I used the big camera they didn’t come out to my liking.  Not having any fancier image processing software than MS Photo Editor I can’t do any of the dodging and burning these snow pictures so desperately need. 

Anyway, we had this big storm.  One of the news channels said it was the fifth biggest snow storm on record in Boston.  It seems to me like many other notable snow storms I’ve lived through.  It’s winter in New England.  Some times it snows.  Last winter and so far this one (that little mess back in October not withstanding) we’ve had it easy.  Made up for the year before when I’d run out of places to hide the, um, places to put the snow…

* cough *

Now the funny thing about our friend Nemo is that I was concerned that I’d wind up with two or three feet of snow on the roof and only be able to clear the edges with my roof rake.  You see, it’s supposed to rain on Monday and that soaking into several feet of snow on the roof could spell disaster.  Fortunately this was a very cold and thus dry powdery snow.  The wind cleared the roof for me.

So how much did we actually get?  That depends on how you look at it…  On the one hand there was bare ground in my yard this afternoon.  And not five feet away there was a drift over three and a half feet deep piled up in front of my Westy.

Out front in the main driveway I’d say a good number was about 29 inches.  That was the deeper part of the snow field I had to move to get my flea van out of the carport.  Excuse me “out from under the awning.”  Carports are verboten according to the park rules.

Sadly there was one casualty from my efforts at digging out from Nemo: my little Toro snow blower has gone the way of most mechanical things when actually used.  I don’t know if the belt snapped of if a shear pin failed, but after doing yeoman’s work throughout most of the job its motor now spins freely and the auger does not.  I can move the auger by hand but the motor and auger are no longer talking to one another.

I wonder if I can get Pixar to replace my snow blower?  Nemo was their storm after all…

Friday, February 8, 2013

Must be a slow news day.

Somebody in the MSM is reporting on the David Gregory non-prosecution fiasco:

Prosecutors: Citizens demanded NBC host be charged for gun in D.C.

That headline should have read:

Prosecutors: Citizens demanded NBC host be charged for illegal magazine in D.C.

At least they are talking about it.

Nemo’s finding us…

How can you tell there is a storm coming?  Try to find a loaf of bread or gallon of milk at your local grocery store.

I shot that picture with my cell phone last night at our local store.  Were I to engage in what passes for reporting in the MSM I could make the claim that the whole store was just as decimated.  It wasn’t.  The bread isle shown in the picture had been pretty well picked clean and the 1% and 2% milk were gone, but the rest of the store looked pretty much like any average Thursday evening.  Even in the milk isle there was plenty of whole milk and skim if that’s what you were looking for.  We usually use 1%, but we can easily substitute whole and not be any worse for the ware.  Mum and I decided to do our normal Saturday morning shopping last night to get it out of the way just in case “Nemo” actually lived up to the hype the media’s been giving it over the past couple of days.

As for the storm itself?  It’s been snowing here at the HerrBGone Homestead V2.0 for several hours.  My work made what in my estimation was the correct decision yesterday and closed the office for the storm.  I’ve had my second cup of tea and once this is posted I’ll go fix myself a couple of hotdogs for lunch.  After that I’ll see if there is enough global warming in the driveway to necessitate my giving it a quick pass with the snow blower.

Other than that, so far it’s been a pleasant day off.  I hope things are going as well for you whether Nemo’s found you or not.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What was that about interesting times?

So I’m driving along in my van on my way home from work. 

I’m on a road that parallels the big road that I’m about to get on when I notice a ‘blue light special’ on the big road and he looks to be in a hurry.  Well, being the nice guy I am I grabbed the mic to let the folks already on the big road know he’s coming.  You know, as sort of a public service. 

I’m also listening to my mobile scanner while we’re at it.  I managed to get a job out of that a long time ago.  But that’s a story for another post.

So I key up the mic and squeal!!!   Damn!  Feedback from the new speaker I just added to the scanner.  The radios are cross-talking somehow.  I’ll have to look into that.  Sometime when I’m not driving.  I could shut off the scanner and put out the call but by then the cop will be long gone.  Guess I’ll stay on the side and just listen to both radios.

Mere moments later I hear this cop on the scanner sounding like he’s in a panic. 

Officer: There’s fire shooting out of the roof!

Dispatch: (garbled)

Officer: Yes!  It’s on fire!  Get the fire department here right now! 

Dispatch: What’s your location?  Where are you?

Officer: Victory Motors!  (garbled)  There’s fire coming out the roof!  Get the fire department down here!

While the above dialogue was reconstructed from several hours old memory, and I was driving at the time and not exactly taking notes, it captures the gist of the conversation as I heard it.

Victory Motors.  That name sounds vaguely familiar.

I bought a pickup truck a couple of decades ago at a Victory Auto Sales.  But they’ve been out of business since shortly after the transaction.  Oh well.  I can’t place it off the top of my head.  I’ll probably Google it when I get home if I think of it.

Dispatch: (garbled) yes, I have five more State Troopers about a minute away.  Tell me where you need them deployed.

Holly crap, it must be big…

Oh look, that’s probably where the much more local Statey was going.  There are blue lights up ahead round about the ramp I was going to take.  And of course there’s a sea of brake lights to counterpoint the flashing blue of the cruiser.

Fairly typical rush hour traffic actually.

So we finally get up to the ramp and it looks to be moving. 

This is one of those ramp complexes where you have two lanes of ramp traffic off to the side and the travel lanes get backed up anyway because nobody wants to leave any room for the other guy to merge after the ramp.

At least we’re moving.  Hey wait!  Why are we suddenly NOT moving?  The three cars immediately in front of me merge left and go around the SUV and car that were in front of them.  A few moments later I get an opening in the traffic, follow suit and get an eye full of why they’re stopped.  Oh my…  They took the concept of ‘merge’ a little too literal!  Those aren’t going to be driving away except on a couple of flatbeds!

Looks like the cop is about done with the disabled he was talking to as I pull up in back of him with my four-ways on.  I climbed down from my van as he walks back to me.  “You’ve got a rear-end crash back up the ramp” says I tossing a thumb over my shoulder.  He looks past me and asks if I was involved.  “Nope.”  “OK then.  I gotta back up…”  I climb back in the van and head along on my way.

And I haven’t even mentioned the note I was about to leave under the wiper of the car next to me in the company parking lot because I noticed the right front tire was almost flat.  Didn’t need the note after all because the car’s human showed up while I was writing.

Not my usual boring commute…

So anywho, I finally got round to checking the news websites to see if there was anything about that fire.




Holly crap!  I know that place!  I’ve bought stuff there!  I’ve chatted with that guy!  What’s more, a friend of mine used to own that white house in the background of the ‘live remote’ that is the top story at the moment on NECN!

Small world…  And Fitchburg PD has a powerful repeater!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It seems like only yesterday…

So a bit over two years ago I got into make’n shit out of leather.  I made a bunch of stuff in a brief spurt that lasted nearly a year.  Most of my projects were belt gear for personal use.  My favorite project so far is the custom holster for my cell phone.  That double belt loop goes around the single belt loop on the back of my matching tactical flashlight holster.  Makes a nice neat package that looks like its all one case on my belt.  And they stay put.

Well, time passes and technology gets old.  This elderly Tracfone is on its last legs.  The hinge is cracked and missing a chunk.  The backlight doesn’t work any more which makes the screen nearly impossible to read in all but the brightest of light.  It’s what LawDawg might call a right proper phone.  It’s just a phone.  That’s it.  No camera, no web, no features.  It has a rather pathetic calculator and a couple of games that were old back when I still used my Atari 2600.  It served me well for much longer than the two years that I carried it in the custom case I made for it.

But it’s time to move on.  The service date for this phone was coming up this Saturday and I finally decided to stop throwing good money* after bad.  Time for a new phone.  Naturally the new phone doesn’t come close to fitting in the old case.  So it looks like I’ll be back at the leather table – as soon as I decide what sort of case to make for it.

You know, the funny thing about this case is that I never did actually finish the thing!  All those grooves around the outside were supposed to have stitching to hold the case together.  The contact cement held for two years and seventeen days so far and looks like it would outlast the leather.  Who’d have thunk?

Of course now I have to figure out how to use this newfangled contraption of a phone, and camera, and sort-of PDA and…

Wish me luck!

Oh buy the way…  One of the main reasons I kept the old phone as long as I did was that I had been told years ago that you couldn’t transfer the minutes in your old phone to a new one.  Apparently Tracfone has solved that problem (or possible been legislated or litigated to…  Iduno.  As long as the old phone worked there was no need to pay much attention to what they were up to.) because after finally deciding to abandon the remaining minutes in the old phone because it badly needed replacing I discovered that you now can port over your minutes if you activate on-line.  You have to set up an account and tell them who you are to do it though.  So you loose any hope of anonymity with Tracfone to do it.  That may be an issue for some people.

* OK – fiat currency.  And it ain’t really so good any more.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What is it about Northern Bank and Trust?

The place is a fortress!  They have two or three inch thick Plexiglas all around the teller’s counter and lock-in lock-out procedures that should make the place, um, ‘rather difficult’ to rob.  And yet this is the second robbery at that bank that I have the privilege to write about.

Last time around some rocket scientist opened an account, then robbed the place twenty minutes later – after giving them all his contact information and letting them photocopy his drivers license.

This time a local kid pulled the ‘pass the teller a note trick’ and then hid across the street in another bank!

There are at least five banks within about a mile of each other on Great Road.  Northern is the most heavily fortified of the lot.  And that’s the one that keeps getting robbed.  Iduno…  Maybe that’s the attraction?  These to geniuses almost seem to want to get caught.

The other thing that I don’t understand: In such a heavily fortified bank why on earth would they just hand over a bunch of cash when no weapon was shown? 

If it were me I’d add one more gizmo to the kit and have a way to remotely lock the outside doors.  Some punk hands me a note demanding cash, I’d hit the remote lock and tell him to have a seat.  His ride down town will be here in just a few minutes.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Vacation = Work, Work = Rest

When I finally give up for the night and go to bed my "vacation" will be at it's end. I go back to work tomorrow - to rest! These past two weeks and the weekends for a month and a half before that were spent moving one of my 10x30 storage bins to my barn in New Hampshire. Single handed. With a retired phone company Astro Van.

The one remaining bin I hope to be able to move in better weather come spring. With my checkbook.

Prepping as it relates to Fire

Part of being prepared is having working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  And knowing how to use the extinguishers.  And if it's beyond your ability to fight with your extinguisher - get the hell out! 

No possession is worth risking your life to retrieve.

I have personally lost just about everything – not through fire (though years ago I did have a storage bin burn to the ground, which was a rather unpleasant experience but nothing like loosing your home!) – and before too terribly long I recovered and rebuilt to a point where I was better off than I was before.  I’ve had friends who were burned out of their apartment and lost everything in an arson fire.  They recovered and eventually were better off than before.  It was a struggle, but they survived.

Things can be replaced.  As hard as it may be to accept, pets can be replaced.  People cannot.  Trading the life of a human for that of a pet is a bad deal all the way around.  I’ve had pets that I would have gone in after in the heat of the moment.  Trading the life of a human for an inanimate object is truly a waste of that life.

I have used fire extinguishers more often than I can count.  Only once on a fire of my very own.

Pro Tip: When topping off the oil in your truck’s engine, make sure to replace the oil fill cap when you are done.  Driving down the highway with the oil fill cap sitting on top of the air cleaner can lead to all that oil you just poured in splattering all over things like, oh, the exhaust manifold, or the catalytic converter.  Which get rather, um, “warm” at highway speeds.

Ehem.  Something you’ll only do once…

Fortunately I had an extinguisher in the truck and I knew how to use it.  What could have destroyed the truck and my personal finances for the immediate future ended up being nothing more than a minor embarrassment and a tale to tell decades later in a blog post.

Please check your smoke detectors and make sure they are working.  And make sure you have fire extinguishers handy in your home and all of your vehicles.  And learn how to use them.  If you are faced with a fire the last thing you want to be doing is trying to read the instructions on the extinguisher through tearing eyes in a smoke filled room!

Be safe out there!

I heard the sirens.

And the LifeFlight helicopter orbiting overhead, waiting for the LZ to be secured.  There were calls for mutual aid on the scanner - that wasn't turned on until I heard the sirens - for Westford to cover Chelmsford's Center Station.  But is wasn't until this morning that knew how bad it was.

Elderly couple killed in Chelmsford, Mass. fire

Good heavens!

It's just occured to me that I haven't posted anything since last year!  I better post something...


There.  Now I feel better!