Saturday, January 09, 2010

Happy 75th Birthday Elvis

Sorry I'm A Day Late...

Up or down, in or out, here's a look at "The King" in his prime in 1968:

...RIP Mr. Presley


Just Shoot Me I Guess...

I went out yesterday and did something I SWORE that I'd NEVER, ever, Ever, EVER do no matter what, but early in the process of spending our second winter owning a house in a city at the northernmost latitude I've ever lived in I felt compelled to do it.

I came home from Home Depot with two bags of sand in the trunk and a Snow Shovel laying in the floor of the back seat.

The sand was purchased to add weight to the ridiculously light back end of our
Chrysler 300 (which is also rear wheel drive,) but I felt better when I rationalized that the sand will do double duty in June this spring when things finally thaw out because we can add it to the beach area in the Turbo Pup Pool Compound.

The bad news was that they were out of their $8.00 per bag "Ice Melt" stuff, some of which I had used earlier on our driveway in order to rescue the car from it's parking place in the grass.

I'm resolute that as soon as they get another shipment anywhere in Knoxtown (Lowes, Home depot, and the grocers were all out of it I heard) I'm going to buy an entire tractor trailer load pick up a few hundred pounds of the stuff in anticipation of needing it to be able to get to the grocery store to buy bread, peanut butter, and toilet paper later this month.

(I wonder how the left over stuff would taste on the rim of a Margarita glass...Roy?)

And does anyone but me think that I'm too old to be involuntarily learning this "Winterization Process", and thereby see a basic problem with this picture in general?

Let me explain.

Here you have a guy (that would be me) which spent most of the first 42 years of his life waiting to go on vacation...where?

Not sitting around in snow in Ski Apparel.

Not sitting in front of a slot machine in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.

Not sitting around or playing golf in the Desert in Arizona or Southern California.

Try sitting around with his feet in the sand, hand wrapped around a cold adult beverage, looking at the OCEAN.

Then FINALLY, realizing a lifetime of dreaming, I was fortunate enough to be able to give up just Vacationing and spend most of the next SEVEN years of my life actually LIVING on or near the beach on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fast forward to TODAY, AND I find myself not only not sitting in the sand...but ACTUALLY BUYING sand and hauling it around in my car trunk, and BUYING giant shovels which are good for nothing but shoveling WATER...

FROZEN water.

Problem is...I don't want to SHOVEL W A T E R.

I want to wade in and lay in and swim in water.

L I Q U I D Water, preferably in it's WARMER forms.

That said, all I want to know is...

Who's idea was this Frozen CRAP any way?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Two People = SIX Phone Lines???

A Tale of Two Three Cities...

Man I have to tell you, I'm worn out mentally and now physically because in the middle of all of the other stuff going on around here I just got through dragging a heavy duty 100' extension cord and my hammer drill with a 15" long concrete bit on it around two sides of my house in the snow and ice.

"Why would you be doing THAT...Mr. Rogers?" most sane people might inquire?

Because the idiots at AT&T jerked us around since Wednesday waiting for them to send a so-called "technician" out to install Pat's new business phone line, and after the 8 AM appointment deadline passed we found that all they really needed to do was throw a switch at NASA or in Washington DC or maybe at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia and we'd have a dial tone.

Earlier this morning I walked outside with an old trimline phone in my hand, plugged it into the "network interface", and found that they'd turned the stupid thing on quite by accident.

So any way, all complaining about Utility companies aside, did I mention that with Pat's new company supplied land line and cell phone that we have...

Get ready...

SIX TELEPHONE LINES FOR TWO PEOPLE (and ONE TURBO PUP who doesn't have thumbs and doesn't dial the phone very often.)

I know, I know I KNOW...maybe an explanation is in order so I can get all of this straight myself, and in the process see if I can rationalize paring things down a little because I think that there's an itty bitty chance that we're spending WayyyyYYYY too much money taking unsolicited offers of insurance and debt consolidation and God knows what else these days on all of these communication devices.

First of all there's MY cell phone, something I've had in various incarnations since about 1990 before every man woman and infant on the entire planet had one and felt the need to walk and drive around blabbing all day.

It currently has our old home number from Vinings, Georgia ported over to it so bill collectors people we knew in the Atlanta area could find us when we moved to St. Simons. It's a 404 area code which constantly confuses people when they call and I say I live in Knoxville.

Then there is our home phone, which is actually a Vonage VOiP phone and phone number that we got when we lived on St. Simons. The wierd thing was that while south Georgia has a 912 area code, that it wasn't available on VOiP so Vonage gave us another 404 Area Code. In the process we eliminated AT&T/Bell South from our lives in regard to land lines and telecommunications as of 2003.

Next there's Pat's cell phone, which has her old Atlanta era cell phone number which we never changed as we moved from city to city and from Bellsouth/Cingular to T-Mobile and now to Verizon.

Confused yet?

Well, I actually am, because with speed dial, since I never actually DIAL any of our numbers I can only remember one of them most of the time without bursting a blood vessel thinking about it.

Next comes along my new company, and in the interest of trying to look like a real business enterprise I decided that it would be nice if when my customers called me here in Knoxville they actually called a Knoxville number, and when my suppliers here in town called they didn't have to call long distances soooooo...

Along comes phone number number FOUR.

We bounced along quite comfortably from October to this week running around the house playing hide and seek with the EIGHT WIRELESS HANDSETS answering FOUR TELEPHONE NUMBERS...

looking in sofa cushions and under the bed sheets and in other out of the way places when something started making noise or we actually wanted to of all things place a phone call.

For some reason there must be a law or a rule or something that says that no matter how many phones you have there is never one closer than 25 feet through at least two pieces of Sheetrock from you when it rings or you want to call and talk to someone or order Pizza.

All of that rambling aside, it brings us to this week when Pat finished her paper work and the last hour when I went out and drilled a hole through 12" of brick and concrete block and 2x4's and poked a wire through the wall (the old wiring was 46 years old and I didn't want to fool with making it work.)

So now we have our third dial tone in the building, the first associated with a "land line" in almost seven years, and with this week's experience I can tell you that the legacy phone companies' customer service is still operating in a "Monopoly mentality" and it's no wonder people continue to eliminate "Ma Bell" or whatever incarnation they call themselves from their lives.

And then finally, with the arrival of the package containing the new Cell phone any day now, I'm fairly certain that I'm going to literally DROWN in A SEA OF DIAL TONES AND DIFFERENT RINGS.

Six phone lines and ten phones.

I must be out of my freaking mind.

Would somebody PLEASE wrap a phone cord around my neck and put me out of my suffering???

And don't write, CALL...operators are standing by....

Frozen Out Of My Own Driveway

Mother Nature Laughs At Global Warming Zombies...

So we sat around most of the day yesterday waiting on the predicted "winter weather" to arrive and all it managed to do until about 3 PM was spit and sputter and produce maybe a dozen snowflakes in my yard.

Then I walked outside about 3:05 and it was sleeting lightly as the temperature at the back yard weather station rose toward freezing, then things turned to snow shortly thereafter and the temperature started to slide back south on the thermometer.

Then of course the inevitable happened and I managed to break the only #8-32 tap available in the building which I was using to cut threads in some holes in the steel back plate of the latest PLC control panel, so we ran out the door to the bank and Home Depot and on the way home stopped at our local watering hole for some drinks, fried green tomatoes, and "naked" chicken wings for dinner.

Things kept going down hill but since they had closed schools early and a bunch of people had already left work we ended up arrogantly sitting around talking to our friend "Barber Bob" (who has actually trimmed my hair a little twice in the past two years.

Then we headed home and things were fine on Kingston Pike but the streets in our neighborhood were getting a little slick and when we got to our driveway we discovered that it was impossible to make it up past about the half way point.

I tried it forward.

I tried it backward.

I tried driving with two wheels on the grass but without positraction all I ended up doing was making a wound on the grass I'll have to repair when things finally thaw out--probably in March.

So the good news is that we don't have to worry about sliding down the driveway if we have to go anywhere in the next week, but the bad news is our car is parked off the street in the edge of my front yard as a target for the asshead vandals to put a cinder block through the windshield or beat with a baseball bat.

OK, we really don't have that kind of crap going on here in this area of West Knox but still I hate leaving things to temptation because in my experience many people generally lose their mind when it snows and the aforementioned kids will be out of school, unsupervised, and some won't be able to resist getting out and risking life and limb driving around doing nothing (except denting my fenders.)


Good God, I just re-read what I just wrote and realized I've officially become an old curmudgeon...without even trying.

That said...everybody better not act up...don't make me come over and beat you with my walker...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Cold Snow Day

Hot In The Basement...

Well, I'm back up thrashing around this morning trying to avoid the inevitable 8 hours slaving away building stuff people want to pay me to do, and looking at the Internet weather sites I see that the snow has made it somewhere between here and Nashville this morning.

According to my back yard weather station it's 18 degrees F and the projection is we'll have a major heat wave arriving after noon with the temperatures climbing all the way up to FREEZING for the first time in nearly a week.

The forecast is for 1 to 2 inches of the white stuff with flurries continuing over the next couple of days, and since everything outside my front and back doors is frozen solid I expect that it will stick around for a while this time.

The good news is that the newly installed insulation and space heater has half of the basement warm and toasty.

Honestly I should be working on control panels rather than blogging right now, but my brain is fried and I have some sort of mental block which is keeping me from making some of the program logic work the way it's supposed to--I'm still saying the first PLC is possessed by some demon...

Any way, my Sales Rep for the PLC's and IR Probes is stopping by later today so I have to clean up the kitchen after last night's Pizza construction extravaganza and go pick up the socks and underwear and puppy toys out of the living room floor make a little more progress on the second panel so I have something to show him while asking him idiotic clueless questions.

Y'all have a LOVELY day in the cold...if you will...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hey...YOU There With The Frozen Bird Bath...

Taking Responsible Care Of Our Fine Feathered Friends...

Once we moved down to St. Simons Island, quite by accident we developed an affinity for taking care of the needs of a variety of the local avian population which was easily attracted to our doorstep and locations outside our windows with the offering of food or water or in the case of this posting a "bird bath."

Before that time I pretty much could care less about any bird which wasn't battered and fried else breaded and sauteed and served in the "Piccata" style as in "Chicken Piccata" over angel hair pasta with Capers in a rich Lemon/Butter sauce.

Fast forward to today and I find myself filling various substances into not only two hummingbird feeders each summer, but one Thistle Seed feeder for the little birds and one Safflower Seed feeder for the bigger birds and then something new we hadn't had to manage before came with this old house...

a 1960's vintage ornamental concrete birdbath.

If you don't have one you've missed the antics that occurs in one when it is the only water source within a 1/4 mile of your property.

The point of this story this afternoon, however, in the middle of this Arctic blast of weather is this...

Check your feeders first, then...

IF you DO have a birdbath, be sure to boil some water on the stove and go out a couple of times a day and thaw that sucker out, because like us you most likely have a couple of generations of little feathered guys and gals that have grown up only knowing your feeders and birdbath as their primary source of food and water, and with the ground iced and snowed over they will appreciate your attention to helping them get through OWL GORE's latest bout of GLOBAL WARMING.

That will be all...for now...

I'm A Ramblin' Wreck From Georgia Tech

Once Again Wrecked This Morning...

What can I say?

Iowa 24...GT 14... another season down the crapper with season ending losses to the University of Georgia and now Iowa in the Orange bowl.

Did I mention Georgia also beating us in Basketball in Athens last night also?


Oh well, I guess that it's time to get back to Injuneering and leave the football and basketball games--and the winning thereof--to the youngsters...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Saving Private Ryan Screening Grandmas' Privates

Government Pictures Of Trusses, Pubic Hair and Stretch Marks...

I had a couple of cocktails with my lunch today, so I'm sure you will excuse me if I offer these semi-profane sentiments after listening on Fox News to our Community Organizer President's new take on efficient methods of keeping the next wild eyed idiot Jihadist off an airliner here on America's sovereign soil...

You know, little idiots surviving in life like tapeworms or a brown stain on a few slices of toilet paper like our "pantie bomber Christmas Terrorist" Alg Umar Abdulmutallab:

Or the imminently feared rocket scientists with the fuses in their shoes like Richard Ried a.k.a. the "Shoe Bomber" that caused the government to make me buy a couple of drawers of new socks that actually match to wear when I'm forced to walk through the airport in my stocking feet.

Using that same logic they applied after Reid's shoes didn't explode I expect to now have to buy new underwear that actually fits, is clear and free of "skid marks", and doesn't have the elastic bands alternately showing in around the legs and in the waist because of that idiot

Then of course there's those stupid Muslim/Islamic Jihadist Camel/Goat Loving Bastards (MIJCGLB for short) that pulled the original 9/11 attack on PA and DC and NY City.

Assholes like this Guy is who they should be be looking for:

Khalid Shaikh "I'd Like to Buy a Vowel" Mohammed who was convicted of planning the NY City bombing:

Or this giant piece of Camel Dung that flew one of the planes into one of the twin towers:

But NooooooOOOOOOO...

The government still is worried about people like this and looking at their Girdle and inspecting their oxygen bottles,

or this lady's Gopher Gravy, Pickled Buzzard eggs, Possum Stew and "Rumatiz Medicine"...

YOUR government (not mine) is spending inordinate amounts of their time worrying about what people like Clara Peller and Granny have in their Gel soles in their shoes, the size of their Deodorant and Shampoo Bottles, and now what they are carrying in their underwear.

And Obama's crowd still can't stop worrying about cute little suckers like this doing stock trading commercials and their Mother's containers of breast milk and breast pumps and God knows what else they haul around in their carry on diaper bags to annoy me (but not kill me) on any given flight...

I say that you are a beyond stupid if you feel in any shape form or fashion to be safer with the implementation of this latest Government Crappola.

Further, if people like me keep getting pissed off more and more...when we've finally reached our breaking point...

YOU run the risk that we'll all just agree to avoid the Obama administrations "anti Terrorism" initiatives and start a club or fraternity or franchise designed for the single purpose of going around running IN the OUT doors at every single airport every single day of the year and you know what?

It won't matter if anything ever explodes...if anyone ever is wounded or is ever killed...

with that mental attitude and approach to "security", all of the Soccer Moms and idiots that watch CNN will be too afraid to fly and the rest of you will be permanently be stuck in a giant "terrorism induced" traffic jam at the airports and...

in my book, when it's all said and done, the TERRORISTS will have won the battle, if not the WAR as a result of our Government and a population of sheepish idiots...

Their Terrorism campaign can AND will succeed without ever claiming another life if we continue along this path...

because they changed our way of life and so many people set around trembling in their boots stocking feet in the process.

...and that's just WRONG, in my considered Redneck Opinion...



Dang It's Cold Up Here.....

It was 13 degrees F when the sun came up this morning, and now it's all the way back up to 16 degrees with a 30% chance of snow.

Problem is, who in the heck can use snow when it's this cold?

Even with bibs and a parka and other Ski gear I say that you can't enjoy it.

At least I can't.

Of course everyone in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Erie,Pennsylvania; and Buffalo, New York are probably laughing at me right now if they're reading this, but regardless I sure wish I could have afforded the time and expense to get out of the cold and go down to Miami tonight to watch Georgia Tech play in the Orange Bowl.

The Weather Nerds say that it will ONLY be 52 degrees F at kickoff time, but that's about 35 degrees warmer than it's supposed to be here and I have enough of my own warm personal memories of that city to get me back up to about 85 or 95 degrees in my mind in the process.

Time to go install insulation I guess...

Playing A Game Of Technology "Twister"

I'm COLD And My Brain Hurts...

You might have noticed the absence of ranting and raving here on Monday.

That's because, besides being extremely busy in my basement shop where it almost feels like I'm working in Antarctica, pretty much anything I would have had to say over most of the past 24 hours would have melted MY computer keyboard before it made it onto YOUR computer monitor.

If it can go wrong, it's pretty much gone wrong over the past few weeks with components being out of stock and back-ordered and then yesterday realizing that the power supply company shipped me a 15 Volt DC supply rather than the 24 Volt DC supply I ordered for the first panel.

And now with the temperature not getting above freezing here at the Turbo Pup Compound for the past two days, and snow flurry's and similar temperatures predicted for the foreseeable future I had to stop and go to Home Depot yesterday afternoon to buy another space heater for Pat's new basement office and a couple of rolls of insulation to put in the walls of the new shop to keep things warm.

Seriously, last winter we might have had two or three days with temperatures running between the low teens and freezing daytime highs--and I wasn't living in the basement working at that time--and now our neighbors are telling us that this is more like normal winter weather for Knoxtown so the old uninsulated 1963 concrete block basement walls are going to have to have some help to make things habitable.

Of course the central heat pump system also has duct work vents in the basement but last winter we had some THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR electric bills which we really don't want to repeat this year so while I'm not busy playing the part of "Chief Electrical Engineer" I also have to do an encore performance as our "Chief Mechanical Engineer" and get some improvement in the thermodynamic performance of our building envelope.

...wait a minute...

...I just checked my fancy wireless weather station and outside my house it's 16 degrees F right now (and it didn't make it above 25 degrees F yesterday or the day before.)

...and they're predicting winds up to 25 MPH on Thursday so with the wind chill we're looking at numbers near ZERO going into the weekend.

...and checking the Internet it's going to be in the mid 50's on St. Simons this weekend.

...all I want to know is...


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Christmas Decorations Stored Away

Time For Reality To Set Back In...

I don't know about you, but I had a pretty darn good holiday season this year in spite of living in a household were both of the adults were "officially unemployed" for most of 2009.

Yes, I did manage to get a a little consulting work along the way and sold a piece of property in the late summer that gave us funding to keep from starving and missing house payments, but the funny thing is that in spite of all of the doom and gloom on TV telling me the world was ending and it was George Bush's and Carl Rove's fault; and unless we gave the Democrats total control of everything from our bank accounts to our toilet paper supplies we were all going to hell in a hand basket; I'm approaching 2010 on an upbeat note and planning on hitting the ground running full speed tomorrow morning.

I have work to do and phone calls to make and I don't need the government to come over to my house and help me do it or offer me mental health counseling to get through the month (after all, everyone that knows me knows I'm closer to stark raving mad than I am to textbook sane and sober and I actually pride myself in my special form of carefully crafted insanity.)

That said, the other good news we learned over the holidays before everyone went home to eat Turkey and Ham and watch football bowl games was that Pat's company where she worked for almost 24 years before merging and closing her office in Chicago was offering to hire her back.

She'll be telecommuting from here at home in Knoxville with a Product Implementation Team that is spread all over the US. There's a little travel involved but with my flexibility the Turbo Pup and I can go along if it's longer than a few days and it will be nice to rack up the frequent flyer miles and rewards nights in hotels because we've pretty much used up everything we had over the past couple of years.

Not only does she start work again on January 11th, but they restored her to full seniority including an ENTIRE month of paid vacation and of all things a RAISE in pay from her last salary.

You can imagine the weight that takes off of our shoulders as we attempt to continue to grow Plastics Engineering Technologies in our second quarter of operations. It also allows me to be able to fund our operations and build some lines of credit because if things go as planned we see some really nice revenue projections in the next couple of quarters and it takes money to make money and now we're in a position to grow steadily as we build our customer base.

So here's wishing everyone a good New Year of self reliance and profitable endeavors in spite of our meddling government and pandering politicians. If they will just get our of our wallets and out of our way I say everything and most everyone is going to be just fine in 2010.

What about you?

Who You Gonna Am I Gonna Call?

Ghost Busters???

Apparently I know nothing about computers and computer software.

At least that would be the case if you judged my skills based on the progress we made this weekend.

As my blog title says, I think we're haunted and need an Exorcist or a Witch Doctor or someone else skilled in the occult and/or goblins and spirits and such to get things moving again.

My laptop seems to have lost it's mind and no longer wants to talk to our fancy expensive infrared temperature probes, and Vince's computer--running Windows 7-- won't properly install any of the software for the Programmable logic control OR the IR sensors so our holiday business pow wow is most likely going to end a marginal success at best.

And when they get on the airplane to head back home to Missouri this morning that leaves me alone here in Knoxtown to put the final touches on the software and the panel hardware--something I can be considered barely competent at at best.

I know that it will get done one way or the other, I just wanted a good deal less drama in the process but now it seems that there is no way around it being a nail biting theatrical event as the deadlines approach this week.

I guess it were easy everyone would do it and make money in the process, so on that note it's time to head back to my basement shop and beat on the machines a little more.

Wish me luck, If you will...