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!