Friday, August 12, 2011

The Utility Of Insanity

Modern "Conveniences" Will Be The Death Of Us All...

I've spent the past three days fussing over my Cable Service with lingering doubts about something going on in the background with the Cable Modem.

About three AM Tuesday morning while I was working in the basement the TV signal went of and on a half dozen times over an hour period and I didn't think anything of it.

Yet another late night "Service Interruption" for "Maintenance Purposes" I guessed and since I was busy making noise with my air guns and saws and drills and other crap I wasn't concerned because I couldn't actually see the TV picture and most of the time I couldn't hear the dialogue over my own cursing and mechanical noises.

So any way, three days...going on four now...later my home Cable TV System is in total disarray and I didn't touch anything to cause the problem.

The only thing I did was buy 100 feet of new RG-6 Coax anticipating rewiring the living room TV connection shortly for the THIRD TIME because of ongoing signal "issues" we've been having and at the same time adding another feed serving the Wee Pub behind the bar for the new TV we recently purchased.

I haven't put in the new cableing because of the problems, and now...get this...

As of right now my kitchen TV hanging under the cabinets won't work at all, the TV in the living room refuses to pick up things like Food network, the new 1080p digital TV we've been test driving (the one for the Wee Pub) in the Master Bedroom only picks up about twenty or thirty channels with no Food Network or FOX News signal, my TV Card in Server PC is in the same condition as the Master Bedroom, AND...

the crappy old 32 inch TV I have down in the basement shop picks up EVERYTHING that it picked up before the recent strange outages.

What adds insult to injury is that yesterday I spent a half hour on the telephone with some idiot at Comcast in "technical support" who was obviously reading from a script (or a teleprompter like our current president) and no matter what I said or the detail I told him and in spite of the fact that I said I was an Injuneer...

the customer service guy...probably named "Peggy"...insisted on asking stupid questions like it the cable box plugged into the wall outlet?"

..."is the TV on channel 3?"...

This after I had told the guy everything was working fine on Monday and I had wired the house myself almost four years ago and not changed anything except their stupid digital adapters way back in FEBRUARY and AFTER THAT EVERYTHING EXCEPT THE LIVING ROOM TV WORKED PERFECT UNTIL MONDAY NIGHT.

Didn't matter...

The guy either didn't have the brain cells and/or the training to help me trouble shoot what should most likely be a problem in the wiring between the house and the street or in their immense central offices located somewhere in India or Pakistan.

The final question that caused me to give up and hang up on the poor stupid bastard was this one...

"what's the serial number on your digital cable converter box?"

He asked this doosey while I was hunched over in the kitchen fumbling with the wiring which I had neatly wire clamped and tied together up out of sight behind the wine rack beside the TV under the upper wall mounted cabinets.

In order to answer that question I was going to either have to go to the basement file cabinet and get out the original paperwork, or go to the basement shop and get a sledge hammer some wire cutters in order to free the wiring and be able to look at the microscopic letters on the back of the little box with the serial number inscribed.

So I just hung up before I was arrested for making terroristic threats and possibly charged with verbal racial hate crimes.

It's truly a screwed up world we live in...Ladies and Gentlemen.

When I was four years old I spent weekends and weeks in the summer in a house hand built from timber harvested on our farm.  A house that didn't have electricity until after WWII, and had a windmill and a Hay Barn and a Corn Crib and a Smokehouse and a Sugar Cane Mill and a hand dug water well...

But no Air Conditioning or cable TV or Internet...

We drank water from a large basin in the kitchen with a communal "dipper" you sipped out of when you were thirsty.

And I was happy.

I wish I could re-gain some of that sanity and satisfaction today.

You know?


I forgot to mention earlier that what pisses me off the most about utilities like the Cable TV or Satellite or Phone company, is that unlike the Gas Company and the Electric Power company or the people selling you water...

the cable company charges FULL PRICE every month no matter how many days or hours or weeks you signal is screwed up.

At least with the TVA or Georgia Power or Atlanta Gas Light Company or now First Utility District if our electricty was off for a while we didn't have to pay for the priveledge of having a wire connected to our house or if our water service was interrupted we didn't have to buy water we weren't using.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Texting 911?

By The Time I Finish Typing Someone Will Probably Be Dead...


I was just sitting here minding my own business this early morning, fiddling around with an AutoCAD drawing of my as yet to be constructed dart board cabinet down in the "Wee Pub"...

...and being pissed off because in Comcast's infinite effort to upgrade my local TV/Internet service three of my five TV's only get Basic Cable stations right now...

...and in the process of watching some stupid local late night news channel I usually never watch (CBS Late Night News) they came on with a story about the Imperial Federal Government of the By God United States of 'Merica (IFGOTBGYSOM for short) wants to make it possible to communicate with 911 via text messaging within the next five years.

OK...I understand if you are hiding under your desk while some derranged Muslim Terrorist wannabe is robbing your bank you can possibly pound out a message with your fingers and thumbs you might be able to TEXT the 911 operator rather than risking calling and screaming:


but still...

Anyone but me wonder how much this technological revolution is going to cost the Taxpayers?

And does anyone but me realize that all you have to do to get the police to show up at your door is call 911 a couple of times and hang up and not say a single word?

So why do we need a totally over engineered revision of the sometimes feckless and inept 911 services the cost of which have been shoved down our collective throats incrementally over the past thirty or forty years?

Why not have a few people in each 911 system have an unlimited texting $200 per month cell phone with an existing carrier?

This texting crap drives me crazy any way, as I've said many times before.

Let me restate my position here in the matter of TEXTING.


Call ME...

Don't Text ME...


Bad Weather Predictions

I'm Starting To Get Worried...

This is sort of an off the wall rant/discussion this morning but I hope you will indulge me and take it for what it's worth.

As a result I'm going to feel free to say "I Told You So" within the next six or eight weeks, but because I'm an Injuneer rather than a Meteorologist you will also excuse me if I'm wrong.

Here's the deal.

Unlike the Global Warming/Climate Change Zombies, my understanding of Thermodynamics also allows me to understand that Tropical Weather...specifically Nature's way of re-distributing heat energy from the Equator/Tropical Latitudes to the Polar regions of the Earth.

And this year's lack of any substantial Tropical activity--we're only up to five storms with Emily recently--means that the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean waters are SUPER WARM right now.

All it's going to take is some lower level low pressure to get the thunderstorms going and some favorable upper level jet stream winds which will not blow the tops off of the storms and I think that people living on the coastal areas everywhere from Texas to Virginia had better be on the lookout for one or more exciting Tropical Weather events in the near future.

And the "Cape Verde" season is getting fired up now on the Calendar so you have to look near (the Gulf/ Caribbean) and far (the shores of West Africa) for the source of bad weather developing.

I didn't read this anywhere so you can take it with a grain of salt...but I know what I know and I'd be buying stock in Plywood companies, Tarps, and portable Electric Generators right now if I were you.

Just sayin'...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Picture Me Stumbling Around In My Basement

With Sharp Tools In My Hands...

After lethargically getting mostly nothing done for the past half week, I had a burst of energy about 1 AM this morning and I've been torturing my dog and my girl and my close neighbors with the sounds of power tools and construction crap coming out of my basement.

The air compressor is the loudest thing I own and it insists on coming on every five or ten minutes depending on how much I'm using my nail guns, but I use a little battery powered trim saw and other portable battery powered tools most of the time at night.

The Remington 22 caliber power anchor nail gun might just be a deal breaker so I'm reserving putting down some new wooden pressure treated sections of base plates until after 7 AM when everyone is stirring.

In other news, I just want to go out and bitch slap most of the political idiots on TV these days...pundits and commentators and even FOX News anchors because they are so feckless if not outright liars.

Like I've said before here many times:

"When Words have no meaning, Meaning has no words..."

Monday, August 08, 2011

"The Wizard Of Uhhhs"

Today's Daily Address by President O'blaablaa...

Just in case you were dead or living under a rock or your Internet and Cable connection was down today, our so-called President was out standing in front of TV cameras this afternoon for a few minutes...


I swear this sucker has spent more time in front of a TV camera than Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II...all COMBINED.

In less than four years on the calendar.

Today he was taking the American People and the Standard and Poor's Financial rating service to task in his normal condescending, lecturing tone...telling everyone it once again wasn't his fault that he inherited the management of a country with a AAA rating from George Bush and...

when the rating was AAA it was true...

but now when the rating has gone down to AA+ because of his and our idiot government's mismanagement...

the rating is obviously wrong and possibly politically motivated.

And then John sKerry--that guy that served in Vietnam before he ran for President--had the audacity to come out and blame the Tea Party for the ratings downgrade.


And the people these same fools are electing to office are the most dangerous of all.

Please try not to be a fool yourself while I go get some work done now.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Staring At Stairs

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

Sorry for the light posting recently. It's not like I've been super busy working 12 hour days getting productive things done or something.

I've actually been doing some design work and writing some professional correspondence on and off since late last week, and every time I get fired up I burn myself out in short order because the stuff I'm doing requires such attention to detail that I just can't hold out for very long in the process.

Meanwhile, my current construction project in my basement is the renovation of the existing 48 year old staircase work.

When  we bought the house it had this simple ugly basement stair with open stringers and double 2x6 treads and 1x6 riser boards...all painted industrial grey...

with a vintage 1970's run of carpeting stapled down the middle of everything.

I'd take a picture and post it here but I'm too lazy.

Just picture an UGLY yet functional early 1960's basement staircase and you'll understand what I'm up against.

So now without spending $10,000 and tearing the whole thing down I'm trying to change things into looking like an old vintage formal staircase with a nice short section of ornamental handrail on the open side and a new carpet runner down the middle.

Just in case you have never built a staircase or more importantly...a stair handrail with Box Newels and turned Balusters...let me tell you there is more to it than meets the eye initially.

First of all you have the artistic architectural element of the design.

Then today you have the stupid freaking building code issues regarding Baluster spacing (4" max) and rail height.

And finally there is the structural issues of keeping my 240 pound ass from breaking the entire thing and crashing head first over the side into/onto the basement floor one evening thereby spilling my glass of fine bourbon or vodka.

With all of those considerations in mind, you can understand how one would not enter into such an effort without studying things for a while prior to cutting the first board, couldn't you? I am contemplating the situation.

To be more precise, I'm actually "Paralyzed with indecision" as my College Math professor Caine used to say.

We're only talking something less than 8 feet of handrail, Ladies and Gentlemen--and I've already been to Home Depot TWICE and been fiddling around with AutoCAD drawings for two days now.

Fourteen Balusters and and bunch of white pine lumber and not a single scrap of sawdust has been produced in this phase of the Wee Pub construction project to date.

So I know that you will excuse me now while I go and continue procrastinating a little while further by the Turbo Pup pool...