Friday, May 13, 2016

5063 Ticketmaster

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war."
– Norman Mailer --

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(Eek!  Friday the 13th!)

I got an email this morning saying that as a result of a class action suit against Ticketmaster I was eligible to get a certain number of $2.25-off coupons on future tickets.

I hate Ticketmaster.  They charge ridiculous fees in addition to the ticket prices, that often total another 50% above the cost of the ticket.  If you download the receipt, print it yourself using your own printer, ink, and paper, then take the receipt to the venue, and stand in line at the ticket office to pick up the actual ticket, Ticketmaster still charged you significant "delivery", "convenience", and "service" fees (separate fees, in addition to others).  That's what the suit was about, that the fees do not reflect the actual costs of any of their services, they're just pure profit disguised as costs.  And what pissed me off the most about Ticketmaster is that for a lot of events, they were the ONLY way to get tickets!  They were a monopoly.

So, anyway, the resolution to the class action suit is that you have to buy MORE tickets on which you can use your $2.25 coupon.  And in all the online articles I have skimmed, nowhere do I see any indication that Ticketmaster has been required to halt the ripoff fees.

I really don't think the plaintiff attorneys on this case earned their millions.

Thoughts?
.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

5062 Corporate Conscience?

Tuesday, May 2, 2016

Fifty is the new forty for men. Fifty is still sixty for women.
– 30 Rock --

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I had written a post on the demolishing of IBM Kingston Bldg. 025, at http://thesilkentouch.blogspot.com/2016/04/5068-bldg-025.html.  Rocky's comment was about contamination at IBM Endicott, and Becs commented on a pharmaceutical company.  You know, I suspect all large companies (and some small ones) dirty up their grounds.  It's cheaper and easier that way, and you know what any company's main concern is.  Sigh.

Anyway, I did a little internet research.  IBM fouled Endicott, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Fishkill, four NY plants that all worked together.  The Fishkill one was new to me, and when I'd said that Jay had been out of Bldg. 025 for a few years before his cancer, well, surprise, he'd worked that time at Fishkill.  

The most surprising thing I found out was that IBM was aware of the groundwater pollution plume in Kingston back in the late '70s.  They built Bldg. 025 smack on top of that plume after they found out about it.

Surprise.

.

5061 Waterloo

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it
 – Osho --

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I've managed to make it up to the Hudson Valley house every weekend lately.  Not that I manage to get much done every trip, bit every little bit is a step ahead.  That doesn't leave a lot of time to fool around here.

The weekend of April 29, as I was leaving on Monday, I decided not to leave my notebook (notepad?  mini laptop?  whatever the heck it is) there.  I had planned to leave it, since that's pretty much the only place I use it, but I carry an overnight bag every trip not because I need anything while there, but in case something goes wrong and I have to stay at a hotel.  I hate ending up at a hotel without my toothbrush and toothpaste, and something to sleep in.  Since my phone is useless for anything but calls, I decided maybe I should carry the notebook all the time, too.  Just in case.  I'm less likely to have an emergency if I'm prepared.  That's just the way it works.

So I packed it up and put it on the porch next to the front door so I could grab it on the way out.

Naturally, I forgot it.

I didn't notice until I was unloading the van here.  If I had realized I'd forgotten it at any point on the highway, I'd have turned around and gone back for it.  So I called the Hairless Hunk and asked him to take care of it for me and I'd collect it this past weekend.

He hid it behind some junk on the porch.  Sigh.   Oh well, it didn't get wet and was still there....

This past weekend's trip, I managed to clear out almost all of the pantry closet, producing four bags of very heavy garbage and one of containers to recycle.  It was all stuff from before Jay's illness, so everything in there was like 16 years old.  All kinds of mixes, spices, varieties of pasta, all kinds of rice, five kinds of flours, just a lot of stuff.  I was really good about dumping it all.  There was about 10 pounds of sugar, and I hesitated, thinking even though I won't use it maybe Daughter could, but then I shrugged and dumped it, too.  I suspected she'd be mad at me for not tossing it.  We had a lot of trouble with mice, so almost everything was in glass or heavy plastic containers (many of which I kept, dumping just the contents), so there was nothing wrong with it but age. I was amazed that the three kinds of brown sugar was even still soft.  Tossed it all.

I finally lost my determination, met my defeat, when I found the three unopened bottles of Pickapeppa Sauce.  I love that stuff.  It's made in Jamaica, has always been a bit difficult to find, and is impossible to find around here.  I can buy it on Amazon, but only by the case, and very expensively.

I brought them home.  I won't tell Daughter how I failed.  I'm cooking a pork chop for dinner, just for the Pickapeppa.
.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

5060 Bureaucrats

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
– Socrates --

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Today I called and asked for a check from my 401K.  The real estate taxes are due next Monday (although the grace period extends it to the 10th), and having the RMD from the 401K will make it easier, so I don't have to shift money around to pay it.  I meant to make the call last week, but forgot.

The rep said the check would be cut tomorrow, and would arrive by US mail "in a week to 10 days."  However, for a $25 fee, they will send it by UPS and I'll get it Monday.

????? Huh?  Overnight mail is cheaper, 1/3 the cost, and I'd get it Friday, or at least Saturday. 

Nope.  They don't "do" overnight mail.

I don't understand.

(I guess I can't complain too loudly.  I don't "do" automatic deposit, either, for equally arbitrary reasons.)
.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

5069 Earthquake

Saturday, April 16, 2016

In case you haven't heard, the island at the southern tip of Japan has been hit with three earthquakes in the past few days, the latest and strongest at 7.1 a few hours ago.  In addition, Mt. Aso volcano in the same area started erupting today.  Worse, torrential rains are expected this weekend, with major flooding.  (Remember when the tsunami hit, and within days they had a blizzard?  Those people can't catch a break.)

Taiwan was also hit by earthquake today.

Taiwan having also been hit would indicate that this is a very broad plate movement, so who knows where more epicenters might happen?  Anyone worried about tsunamis?

Sheesh.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

5068 Bldg. 025

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jen White: "We'll export democracy so flipping far we'll have to leave the country to find it."

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Last trip up river, my daffodils were just getting started, so I figured by now they'd be in full glory, so this weekend I made sure I took the camera.  It was pretty sad.  They'd had snow sometime last week, and the daffodils were devastated.  All lying down every which way, broken stems, they looked like a bulldozer had run over them.  Poor things.

But since I had the camera anyway, on the way home I went past the old IBM Kingston campus.  I'd heard Building 025 was being demolished, had driven by it on my previous trip but didn't have a camera then.  (My phone is an old flip clamshell.  It does take very bad photos, but I can't then get them off the phone.)

Here's what's left of Building 025:

The pile is much larger than the photo shows.  We're looking at the northwestern corner of the heap.  It extends a lot farther to the south and east.  What amazed me is that the heap of rubble is as large as the footprint of the building, and about a story high.  Which seems like a lot of rubble for  building that started out three stories high.

This is what it used to look like, seen from the parking lot, southeast corner:
I forget whether it was an "L" or "T" shape.  "T", I think.  It was one of the newest buildings, built in 1982ish.  My product area moved into the building in 1983, I think.  That's where I met Jay.  It was nice inside.  As with many IBM buildings of that era, there were no offices with windows.  None.  All the offices were on interior aisles, so although you didn't have a window, as you moved around inside, you could always see outside.

The building was occupied only until about 1995ish (I'm foggy on the exact date) when IBM, after having fired or retired about 11,000 people in the Kingston and Poughkeepsie plants, consolidated what was left in Poughkeepsie, and sold this campus to a developer who had grand plans.  Poor guy.  He's been unable to sell any of the buildings, and has tenants in a few, but even that hasn't worked out all that well.  Building 025 has office space for 200-400 people, but there's nothing in this area that needs that much.  BOA used it seasonally for processing NY tax returns, but that was for only a few years.  Mostly, it's been empty.  Not just this building, the whole complex.  So now they're demolishing it, this one being the first of five or six buildings that will disappear this year.  I guess the guy thinks he might have better luck with naked land.

The other buildings to be demolished are all much older.  Most people writing articles seem surprised, because this one is still in good shape.  Those of us who worked in that building since the construction are breathing a quiet sigh of relief. 

There was something very wrong with that building.

Shortly after we moved in, people started complaining.  Unfortunately, the complaints were vague and individual.  Some skin problems here, digestive problems there, breathing problems, vague weakness, inability to sleep.  Nothing specific, but a lot of people claimed they felt much better when they left the building.  Finally IBM brought in some environmental firm that tested the air and so on, and found no problems.  

After two years or so, people started getting seriously ill.  Bone cancer.  Brain cancer.  Serious endocrine problems.  Pancreatitis. All kinds of weird things.  Again, IBM had some group look at it.  They decided that it was just a statistical anomaly.  A "pocket."  What management offered us as "proof" was that many of the cancers and conditions were not of a variety that happens suddenly -- they take time to develop, and we hadn't been in the building long enough.

This was never considered back then, not that I know of, anyway, but I now wonder if it might have been magnetic/electrical, EMFs or something.  Almost the entire second floor was a computer raised floor, many mainframes and large peripherals, and we worked directly over and under them.  If something was wired wrong, or not properly shielded, heck I don't know the terms, but what if?  Is that possible?

(No, I don't think Jay's brain cancer was due to the building.  He had been out of the building for four years when it hit, and his was a very fast, very aggressive, tumor.)

So, those of us who know the building are not sorry to see it go.
.

5067 Quick trip north

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Abraham Lincoln: "It has been my experience that folks who have no vices
have very few virtues."

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I had intended to drive upriver to the old house last Saturday, but I started the day with a complaining back, so I cancelled the trip.  Then on Sunday I got an email from the Hairless Hunk.  He had made one of his usual inspection trips around the outside of the house, and found that one of the basement windows was open, and the screen had been removed.  That worried me.  There are copper thieves up there.  (HH doesn't have a key to the house.)

So I drove up late Sunday evening.

That window had been used by the guys installing the A/C last summer.  They said then that the window wasn't latched when they opened it.  I never checked whether they'd latched it when they were finished.

Nope.  It wasn't latched, and they had apparently not replaced the screen.  It probably blew open in a storm or something, had swing in at the bottom, just a few inches.  There was no sign that anyone had been in the house, although it was obvious rain had come in.  So I latched it.  That latch does take a little convincing.  HH had put the screen near the front porch.  I took it inside, but didn't replace it in the window (mostly because it was awkward).

I drove back early on Monday.

A while ago the Nugget and I had been in a Pier 1 and she fell madly in love with a Papa-San chair - those huge round pole rattan thingies.  She requested one (right now!  this one!) for her birthday (some months off), and I told her I didn't need to buy one, that I had one in my old house that I could bring down for her.  The last few trips up I had driven the little car, and every time she met me in the driveway on my return to ask if I'd brought the chair back for her.  She hadn't forgotten!

So this trip I took the van (that chair is HUGE), and made a special point of loading up the chair.  It's now in the dining room, but it will have to go somewhere else when I bring my furniture down.  I don't understand why this house is supposed to be larger in square feet, but my furniture simply isn't going to all fit.  I have one more small bedroom here, but every other room is smaller than in the old house.  I don't understand.

The Nugget doesn't want to use the chair like a seat, you know, with the round part and cushion tilted forward.  She wants the rattan cup and cushion set straight up.  She looks like a little bird in a nest when she's in it.

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Nutella.  It seems like every so often I have to learn about it all over again.  Every few years I buy it with high hopes, having forgotten the last time I guess, and every time I end up throwing it out.  That stuff doesn't improve anything you add it to, it's thick and dry and it glops up my mouth.  It sticks to the roof of my mouth and my gums, but unlike peanut butter, no amount of tongue action loosens it.  I dislike the taste and the texture.  Maybe it might work heated and poured over ice cream --- but I doubt it.

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I'm hearing and reading that "(adjective)er than the next" construction a lot more lately.  I wish people would think about the meaning of what they say.  Sheesh.  If "each one is weirder than the next," that means the first one is the weirdest, and each one following is less weird, right?

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Bloggers are dropping like flies, so I've been wandering around trying to find new ones (that don't think they're hot stuff and should be paid for blogging, you know?)  I came across this guy: http://darwinfish2.blogspot.com.   About half of his posts are sports-oriented, which would interest mostly only Pittsburgh and Baltimore fans, but he also gets into social commentary, meme-destroying, and political rants, and those posts are great.  Y'all gotta just wait for them, and the wait is worth it.
.

Friday, April 01, 2016

5066 Trip North

Friday, April 1, 2016

[A] computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things, 
while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to do incredibly
stupid things. They are, in short, a dangerously perfect match.
– Bill Bryson, in I'm a Stranger Here Myself

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I went up to the country house Tuesday, returned Thursday.  I actually managed to get some stuff done this time.  I cleaned out the little desk in the living room, and started on the kitchen pantry.  Man, I'll never have to buy another envelope in my entire life!  I can't believe how much stuff was in that tiny desk!

The pantry also revealed some surprises.  I guess once upon a time I actually cooked.  There was some delicious-looking stuff in there.  Unfortunately, it all probably predates Jay's illness, so even if it escaped the mice, it's probably no good.  There's like six different kinds of dry pasta and several types of rice in glass containers, and I seriously considered just bringing it all home, but Daughter says that even macaroni has a bit of wheat oil that would have gone rancid, so no.  It might not kill anyone, but probably would taste "off".  So I dumped loads of dry stuff into a garbage bag and set the containers aside for recycle or reuse.  I brought home four boxes of roasting bags, five in each box, gave two to Daughter.  There are several bottles of flavored vinegars still there.  I wonder if they'd be still good.  Vinegar never goes bad, right?

That pantry is wonderful.  It has sliding doors like on a very large closet, and there are six or seven shelves on each side, packed solid.  I managed to clear two and a half shelves.  I'm going to have to get faster.

I had taken the little car, so I was limited in what I could bring back, but I met my goal of two large bags of garbage, one bag of paper and containers for recycle, and two bags of "keep" stuff.  I'm still overwhelmed by the amount of work, but at least I'm making progress.  And with real A/C, I'll be more likely to get some real stuff done this summer.

(Damn Daughter.  She doesn't think I am capable of making decisions.  She met me when I pulled into the driveway and helped unload the car.  She took the recycle and garbage bags away from me, said she'd put them in her cans.  She thinks I'm unaware that she's afraid that between now and garbage collection on Monday (recycle on Wednesday) I'll go through the bags and save stuff.  Sheesh!)

Oh, speaking of summer and A/C, the country house is expecting snow this weekend.  I keep saying that our last snow had always been the first week of April.  True again.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

5065 Taxes done, sort of.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

America's laws should reflect Christ's teachings. (Except for
forgiveness, charity, and selling everything you have and
giving to the poor. F—k that commie s—t.)

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Well, I got my tax packet together and sent it off to The Angel.  He charges $450 to do my taxes, but that has been paid every year by Piper, who has committed to pay this year, too, since I was his client through 2015.  But for the 2016 taxes, I'm going to have to either find my own accountant locally, or pay The Angel myself.  

Is $450 reasonable?  I don't know where to start to find someone else.  The agency that handles my house insurance advertises that they do taxes, too, but somehow I just don't find them .... credible?  I'm half tempted to wait until after April 15th and give them the packet as a test and see what they do with it.

By law, companies are supposed to mail the 1099s by January 31, but I was getting documents all the way through February and into the second week of March.  I have some Freeport-McMoran stock, and I never got the dividend statement from them at all.  Luckily I was able to reconstruct the total from my deposit record in my checkbook register.  This happens every year - there's always one or two things missing.

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It has been so warm here the past two weeks or so that I haven't needed so much as a sweater when I went out, so I put all my warm coats and jackets away.  Today it's in the low to mid 30s, and we have snow flurries.

Sigh.  So much for spring.
.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

5064 Resolution

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Maybe this world is another planet's hell.
– Aldous Huxley –

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Wouldn't it be interesting if Trump supporters turn out to be the same folks who accused Obama of "dividing people"?

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I need to get organized.  I think I have a bad case of internet addiction.  It's not unusual for me to spend the entire day online, reading articles, following links, looking stuff up, watching videos.  I get nothing else done.  

There are two classes of things I'm not getting done:
A.) Everyday household stuff like washing dishes, laundry, paying bills, vacuuming, sorting, filing, whatever, and 
B.) Things in furtherance of long-term goals, like getting out of the country house, rearranging things here so I can move furniture down, refiguring the budget so I don't need to depend on withdrawing principal now that I can (am forced to) use the IRAs, and so on.

I think the way to get moving is to commit to two from column A every day, and one or two (depending on complexity) from column B every week.

We'll see how long I can do that.  Having made the resolution on the drive home Thursday, I already failed yesterday.  

Sigh.
.

Friday, March 11, 2016

5063 I can't win

Friday, March 11, 2016

Social media has raised writing to a new low.

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I'd been trying to get up to the country house for the past three weeks, but there was always somthun....  I was all ready to go this past Tuesday, but a big chunk of metal fell out from underneath the van onto the driveway.  I think it's the thingy that you're supposed to use for placing a jack, but until I find out how badly rusted things are under there, I don't trust the frame not to break in half on the NYS Thruway.  So I drove up Wednesday morning with the little car, and returned last night.

Didn't get a damn thing done up there, but that's ok.  I had a late lunch with Piper.  I fired him.  It's ok.  I think he's angry, and he thinks I'm making a mistake, but that's ok.  (What bugs me is that he seems to think he has done a wonderful job with my investments.  What he doesn't know is that I've kept track of my "pre-Piper" portfolio online, and if we had never touched that stuff, left it as it was, it would be 50%+ higher now, even considering what I have pulled out over time.  The trouble, the reason I went to him in the beginning, was that it was all oil companies, mining companies, technology, and chemicals.   I felt a need to diversify.  I guess I should have left it as it was.)

I got a late start returning, I knew I'd hit the end of rush hour traffic on the Garden State Parkway, but that's ok.  I wanted to be home by 8 if possible to catch Big Bang Theory, but if not I could watch it today on CBS.com (which I did).  The GPS predicted an arrival time of 7:32. 

BUT!  There was an accident on the GSP.  After 25 minutes of creeping in the middle of the three lanes - 3mph for 3 car lengths, stop, wait, 3mph, stop, wait, repeat - I finally got to the point where I could see all the flashing lights way ahead.  By then there was no way I'd be home by 8:30, let alone 8, but at least I knew that my clutch foot would finally get some relief soon.  The BMW does NOT like moving at idle speed.  It took a lot of coordination between the clutch and gas to keep it from stalling.  My left foot was getting tired.

So, at one point I stopped after creeping at the usual 3 mph, and within less than a second after stopping, I got hit from the back.  Bonk.  The car jumped a little.

I had to move over through the right lane bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to the shoulder and find out what my bumper looked like, and that maneuver left me more shaken than getting hit did.  Amazingly, the huge white pickup who had hit me followed me over.  We couldn't see a damn thing, it being dark, but we started to trade info when a cop showed up out of nowhere and shooed us back into our vehicles.  He took our documents and info, said I could get an accident report at a certain website, and sent us back onto the road.

(And then, I got lost when I got off the Garden State onto what was supposed to be Rte. 9.  The GPS lady kept telling me to bear right on the exit, but I was still distracted and my left-right confusion kicked in so I very carefully went left and ended up on the NJ Turnpike headed north, exactly the wrong direction.  I ended up wandering through city streets to get back to route 9, near Newark, of all places.)

Today, in daylight, I got a look at the bumper.  There's a smear of white paint, and a star of hairline cracks all of maybe 2.5 inches by 2 inches.  It's near the backup sensor, so I don't know if that got messed up or not.

I called my insurance company today, I'll get some kind of appraisal on Monday, and then whatever comes next.

I'm almost embarrassed to make any noise about this.  If there's no hidden damage, then it's almost nothing.  On the other hand, it's NOT nothing and not my fault.  On the third hand, I know from an earlier incident that BMW doesn't like to repair plastic bumpers, and a replacement bumper will be over $1,000.   And the guy was so nice to follow me over to the shoulder.  He says he was hit from behind and pushed into me.  Whoever hit him just kept on going, and remains unidentified forever.  He could have done that, too.  This is NJ.  I'd almost expect him to have kept going.  I'd hate to be the one to make him regret pulling over.

Oh, well. 
.


Monday, March 07, 2016

5062 Not a Big Wheel

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties."
 – Doug Larson --

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This has been a weird winter.  The kid cleared my driveway only once.  I put boots on only once.  I wore socks only maybe three days, and that was when I had a head cold.  I never even bothered to locate my gloves, and never took the really warm coats out of the closet.  The upstairs thermostat has needed new batteries since fall, but I haven't replaced them yet, which means I have no heat upstairs beyond what floats up the stairwell, but I never missed it.  Not even in the bath or shower.

I wonder what summer is going to be like.

------------------------------------------

I've been looking at the "old lady" 3-wheeled cycles online.  They're not at all expensive.  Of course, they don't have gears, either.  I don't know why not.  But then it's not like I'll be hill-climbing or racing, either.  They come with a nice big basket, too.

I'd love to get one, but I really don't have anywhere to conveniently store it here, and I know I won't use it unless it's easy to get out.  I guess I need a storage shed in the back yard first.

I have a (very! expensive!) bicycle with electric assist at the country house, but I'm not going to bring it down here.  I loved it.  There was a long hill from the main road up to the house, and the driveway was ridiculous, so although I could use it to go almost anywhere, I wouldn't be able to get back home without the assist.  The electric assist kicks in only on hills, to add power to pedaling, and it had a dashboard that would tell me when to shift.  BUT, even on the rural back roads up there, I was never comfortable, always a little bit afraid of falling into a ditch, or getting hit by a car.  And because of the fancy battery stuff attached to the gears, there was no way to add a big basket or trailer to the back, so it wasn't convenient for a run into the village.  So I used it a bit one summer just to tool around, and then it got parked in the garage.  I suspect the battery won't ever take a charge again, and it's probably too old now to get a new battery.  It weighed 70 lbs, but you never felt the weight while riding.  It was nice.

I won't have that fear of falling with a tricycle, and there aren't any real hills around here.

----------------------------------------

The Nugget has a bicycle, with training wheels, but I don't think she rides it much.  Maybe her mommy is afraid to let her on the streets.  I don't know.  I don't know if she's even learning.

I didn't learn to ride a bike by the usual means - where a parent runs behind holding the kid up.  That wasn't going to happen with my family.  I learned to ride a bicycle on a tricycle.

When I was in second grade, all the other kids were getting bicycles.  All I had was a big old tricycle (back when they had the high seats and metal frames).  I was able to keep up with the other kids on my trike --- until the day one of the rear wheels fell off.  (I even remember, it was the right rear.)

I didn't let that stop me. I didn't want to be left out completely.  I tilted the tricycle over sideways, and rode it on two wheels!

It wasn't that difficult, and when I finally got a real bicycle, two real wheels, straight up, were easy.

-------------------------------------------

Ok.  Trump.  People are either worshiping him or making fun of him.  There's nothing in between.  But I've been wondering howcom nobody's making fun of the things that tickle me?

Like, they comment on the Cheetos-tanned skin, but howcom nobody mentions the heavy white concealer around his eyes?  That's not from wearing those eyecups in the tanning bed, those cups are tiny and cover just the upper and lower lids.  That's white concealer.  No, it doesn't make you look younger.  It makes you look like you're trying to look younger.

They comment on the outrageous things he says (and then denies saying), but howcom nobody noticed that he says everything with duck lips?  I can't watch him talk.  His mouth makes me cringe.

Jay and his father never went to a barber or hairdresser.  Jay's mother cut everyone's hair, then when Jay went to college he simply didn't cut it between trips home, and then Jay's ex cut his hair, and then I took over.  When Jay's mother died, his father cut his own hair himself, by combing it all to the back of his neck and cutting with scissors straight across the back (sometimes a bit too high).  One cut.  Done.

People make fun of the front of Trump's hair.  Howcom nobody mentions the back and sides?  Trump's hair looks just like Jay's father's hair did, like he combs it all to the back and cuts straight across (and a bit too low).  He has millions; surely he can afford a stylist?  He has a fashionable wife; she has no input?

He, or his business ventures, have declared bankruptcy several times.  When asked about that, he insists it's no failure, bankruptcy is a legitimate business tactic, a tool he has used.  Everybody says, oh, yeah, um.  Howcom nobody has pointed out that there's something unethical about screwing people out of money you owe them just because you can, just because of bookkeeping technicalities, when you are personally capable of paying what is owed?  Even if it IS legal to screw them?

Sigh.  This is what it has come to. I'm nasty.  Tsk.
.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

5061 How to be Lucky

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Scars tell better stories than tattoos.

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On a scale of lucky to unlucky, where would you say you fall?   Do you know people who seem to have lots of luck?  Do you know people who seem to have the worst luck in the world?  How would you describe the personal attributes or characteristics of lucky people?  Of unlucky people?

First, how do I define lucky and unlucky?  Very lucky people seem to get all the breaks.  Good things seem to just fall into their laps.  They find themselves always in the right place at the right time.  Things usually go right for them, and when things go wrong, they're not usually terribly wrong, they are recoverable.  Very unlucky people seem to fall into every hole in the road.  Good things zoom right past them.  Every time goodies are being handed out, they are somewhere else, wondering what the heck happened.

I've known many people, socially and at work, who seem to fall at both extremes.  You look at them, and wonder why.  Why do some people seem to get all the luck, and others who seem just as deserving, get no breaks?

The lucky people seem to be happier and more relaxed, enjoying life more.  Of course they are!  Unlucky people seem to be more tense and unhappy, and despairing of things ever getting better.  Of course they are - they're still cleaning up the last mess and wondering what's next - they're waiting for a piano to fall on them!

But which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Are lucky people happy and relaxed because they are lucky, or lucky because they are happy and relaxed?  Can you make luck?  Is it possible to drive luck away?

Can you learn to be luckier?

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, decided to find out.  His article is at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/3304496/Be-lucky-its-an-easy-skill-to-learn.html. It's not terribly long, and quite fascinating, although I hope this is just a brief summary, and there was a lot more involved.  Anyway, his conclusion is yes, being open to lucky happenstance can be learned.

One odd thing I took away from the article is that hyper-focus on a task at hand is not beneficial.   He has one example, but I can see where it would apply to almost everything.

Another thought - did the unlucky people really become luckier, or did they just learn to see the good stuff more clearly, and be more relaxed about the bad stuff, so they felt luckier?  

Thoughts?  Are you lucky?  Unlucky?  How so?
 .

Thursday, February 25, 2016

5060b Repeats from 2006

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"If the human mind was simple enough to understand,
we'd be too simple to understand it."
-- Emerson Pugh --

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Repeating an old post, from March, 2006:

#607 Billion

The next time you hear someone in the government use the word "billion" casually, think about it.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend.
One advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its releases:

A billion seconds ago it was 1959. [Edit, since that was 10 years ago, make that 1969.]

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

A billion days ago no-one walked on two feet on earth.

And a billion dollars lasts 8 hours and 20 minutes at the rate our government spends it...
 
Scares the living daylights out of you, doesn't it?  

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Repeating an old post from  April, 2006

#633 Natural Highs

Got this off a Mensa site. Now I know why I'm generally happy. I get most of these things often, and I appreciate every one.

Natural Highs

1. Falling in love.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
3. A hot shower.
4. No lines at the supermarket
5. A special glance.
6. Getting mail
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.
8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.
11. Chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla or strawberry!)
12. A bubble bath.
13. Giggling.
14. A good conversation.
15. The beach.
16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.
17. Laughing at yourself.
19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
23. Laughing at an inside joke.
24. Friends.
25. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
26. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
27. Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner).
28. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
29. Playing with a new puppy.
30. Having someone play with your hair.
31. Sweet dreams.
32. Hot chocolate.
33. Road trips with friends.
34. Swinging on swings.
35. Making eye contact with a cute stranger.
36. Making chocolate chip cookies.
37. Having your friends send you homemade cookies.
38. Holding hands with someone you care about.
39. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
40. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you.
41. Watching the sunrise.
42. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.
43. Knowing that somebody misses you.
44. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.
45. Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people think.

-------------------------------------------------------------

When I originally posted the above, in 2006, I did in fact experience a lot of that frequently.  Not so much these days, though. Just memories.  If it weren't for the Nugget, I'd have a lot less to celebrate.
.

5060 It could be worse

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Nescience is not understanding something you have no way of understanding; 
ignorance is not understanding something you should understand; 
stupidity is not having the ability or desire to understand.

------------------------------------------------------

It has been raining here for days.  Yesterday was a downpour most of the day, and last night Mother Nature got nasty.  We had thunder and lightning and heavy rain with wind that blew it sideways and brought down branches. The power went out for three brief periods arond 7:30 pm, and then went out for about a half hour or more at about 7:50-ish.  I'm not sure how long it was out, because I gave up and went to bed.  It's raining today.

Can you imagine what we'd be dealing with if it had been cold enough to snow?

It's been a very strange winter....

--------------------------------------------------

Oh, by the way, lots of people are remarking that they'd never heard of lightning in February.  Bull.  I've often experienced thunder and lightning during snowstorms.  It's really not that unusual.
.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

5059 The Great Chair Search

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You can't convince a believer of anything, for their belief is not based on evidence;
it's based on a deep-seated need to believe. 
-- Carl Sagan --

---------------------------------------------------------------------- 

The folks across the street and up one have put out two metal chairs for garbage pickup, the kind of chairs you'd use with a patio set.  They didn't get picked up yesterday.  I think they might have to make a special call to have them picked up.  In the meantime, I'm surprised they're still there.  I've been looking at them (not close up), and mildly tempted.

That got me thinking about the marble and metal table in my breakfast area.  I want chairs to use with that, but they must meet certain requirements.  They should be visually small, and physically small; there's not a lot of room there.  I'd like black, I'd much prefer metal, to match the table base.  The base is curvy and swirly, so I don't want seats with straight, stout legs.  I don't want the chairs to overpower the table.

I started out actually looking for stools, as being the least intrusive, but couldn't find anything right at a decent price.  I considered going an entirely different direction - using African and mid-eastern drums.  Turn them upside down, the heads on the floor (that wouldn't hurt them at all), and putting cushioned wooden  seats on the "bottoms" - but none of them are exactly the right height for seats.  I spent hours searching for something a long time ago, and finally gave up.

Now, the Nugget is outgrowing the kiddy table in the kitchen, and I'd really like to start using the marble table.  I need to find something, now.

Today I realized what would be perfect!  The old iron wire ice cream parlor chairs!  Small, visually and physically light, curvy, perfect!

I spent hours today searching online.  Apparently they are no longer being made.  Any out there are from the '50s, considered antique or at least vintage, and at least $100 each.  (They're all over Etsy and eBay, for example, but no one will ship them, even if they were affordable.)  Plus, I wanted three or four.  I don't much care about the appearance, since they can be sanded and painted and re-seated.  I finally found a few on Craigslist (my last choice of sources).  There were only a few, mostly in New York and Pennsylvania.  Nothing much in NJ, except for four (two pairs of different styles, but that's ok) only about a half hour away, for $119. 

I sent a note to those folks asking if they were still available.   ---And then I expanded the search area, and found five matching!  For $100!  Near the country house!  Where I intended to go this weekend anyway!  So I sent them a note, too.  These five are in much worse condition, but they can still be painted. 

Flash!  While I was typing the above, I got a response concerning the first set of four.  They are still available, and I'll be picking them up tomorrow at noon.

Whoop!
.

5058 More Bits

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value."
-- Arthur C. Clarke --

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Back in June, 2012, I mentioned in post 3542 that I'd visited, on maps.google street view, the house I had lived in 40 years ago (I'll put the address in a comment) in the St. Louis area and was shocked to find that not only all the trees, flowering shrubs, and window boxes I had lovingly planted were gone, but the bare lawn now had a 20' totem pole smack in the middle of the front lawn.

I visited again this morning.

Now the totem pole is gone.  There's a stump-looking thing where it had been.  What trim had once been painted red or white is now a putty-tan-gray, and the shutters on the living room and upstairs windows are gone.  

The house looks so cold and bare.  I feel sorry for it.  Poor little thing. 


------------------------------------------------------

Daughter came home from school one day, 2nd grade I think, and asked, "Mommy, what's a spanking?"  I asked her where she'd heard about spanking, and she said one of her friends had said she couldn't do something or "she'd get a spanking.  So, what's a spanking?"  

So I turned her over my knee and swatted her bottom twice.

She gave me a look that said "What the #$%^&??!!"  
Me: "That's a spanking, but it's usually harder and a lot more swats.  Remember when you were little, and I told you that if you ever ran out onto the road, you wouldn't sit down for a week?"
She: "Yeah?"
Me:  "Well, that's what I was talking about."
She: "Oh.  I thought you meant you'd take my chair away." 

So I asked the Nugget (she'll be 5 in two months) the other day if she knew what a spanking was, and she said yes, and described it exactly.  I asked her if she'd ever had a spanking, and she said no.  I asked how she knew about spankings, and she just shrugged and said everyone does.   I told her that I wouldn't ever spank her, except for one thing.  If she ever ran out into the road when a car was coming, I'd give her a spanking.  "And do you know why?"  She said no, so I explained that a spanking would hurt a lot less than getting hit by a car, but she'd be alive, and she'd remember it long enough that she'd always think of it before running out onto the road again.

So, yeah, I'd spank.  But not in anger.  It's more like assessing a huge fine on an adult who breaks the law.  You let them know that doing that thing carries huge costs they don't want to pay, so they are less likely to do that again.  Monetary fines don't work with little kids, and taking cherished things away from them, or withholding love and approval, banishment, causes longer psychological pain which I don't see as being any better than a few swats on a covered bottom, that they knew ahead of time was the exact price of that act.

Nugget thought about that a while.  Sometimes (well, actually often) when she wants to do something that I know her mother would not approve or might be dangerous, I'll say no, we can't, because if your mother finds out she'll be mad at me, or if you get hurt, she'll kill me.  (Usually these are things that are just fine with me, like sharing a root beer float after Daughter had said "No sugar.  She's had enough already today.")  So somehow Nugget decided that I'd spank her if she ran in front of a car because I was afraid of her mother.  She struck a deal, "Tell you what.  If I run in front of a car, I won't tell Mommy, then you don't have to spank me.  Ok?"

Our final deal was that she'd try extra hard not to run in front of cars.  We shook on it.

--------------------------------------------------------- 

The pregnant mares are back, at http://www.marestare.com/fcam.php?alias=pacificpintos.  If you go to that link, you'll get a photo of a pinto for a few seconds while the cameras load, and then you get real time video of four mares in stalls.  The little lady currently in stall 4 is overdue.  I noticed they've wrapped her tail, which means she's showing all the signs, so it could be any time now.  If you're lucky, you might see the delivery.

These are miniature horses, not ponies.  They're about knee-high to an average person.
They sleep a lot, so if they're not moving, check the ears.
If nothing is moving the feed might have dropped.  Just reload the site.
The stalls are cleaned often, so if there's no mares visible, just wait.  They'll be back.
.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

5057 Cold

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."
-- Sir Francis Bacon --

------------------------------------------------------------------

We got spoiled earlier last week.  Balmy weather.  Several days I left the house without a jacket.  Thursday we got shocked back to winter.  It's been cold, overcast, and windy.  The widget on my desktop says it's now 18 degrees F and with the wind feels like -8, but that's in Hazlet, down the road a bit and further inland where there's a weather station, I guess.  Here next to the bay I'm sure it's colder.  And windier.

The folks across the street have a gas grill in their side yard, and they seem to cook dinner on it almost every night.  She's out there right now, a few minutes to 10 pm, in a cold wind, cooking something.

I don't understand.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

5056 Coming out

Thursday, February 11, 2016

"No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why."
-- Mignon McLaughlin --

---------------------------------------------------------------

Today is my next-younger brother's birthday.  I think he's 67.  Dear Big-Little Sister and Daughter are in close touch (I'm a social slob, I leave family contact to them) and Sister told Daughter that Brother has throat/oral/mouth? cancer.

I don't know what to think about that.  I haven't seen or spoken to him in more than 35 years, and I don't want to.  The last contact I had with him was when we (Ex#2, Daughter, and I) were living in the DC area, and for some undisclosed reason (Mom later hinted at his being in trouble with some drug cartel or something) he had to get out of Florida and hide for a while, so he came to live with us.  It was not a good experience.  He may or may not have done something unforgivable while he was living with us, that's murky because Daughter was only 3 or 4 then and didn't tell me about it for many years, so I don't know, but given some things my late baby sister said I believe in the possibility if not the actuality, anyway he was very disruptive while with us and then he disappeared with no notice, leaving me to deal with phone calls and threats from very scary people looking for him.  And he never explained what was going on or said thank you (or paid back the money I lent him).  He just disappeared.  So, it's like he's a stranger.  I have no feelings.

I had more of a reaction to the news about Evan Morris, the "Word Detective" guy.  He's been battling progressive MS for years, and has now been diagnosed with Stage 4  cancer.  He and his wife and a herd of adopted ex-feral cats live way out in the sticks, and their 19-year-old car died, and they have no means to buy another.  I really feel for him.  The link above goes to a letter to those of us subscribers who have been enjoying his column for years.

Sister has given rides to Brother to his treatments.  I admire my Big-Little Sister.  She has even greater reason to write off Brother than I, but she is capable of more compassion and forgiveness than I.

----------------------------------------------

I've been reading old posts in this blog.  You know, memories are not always very accurate.  I loved the country house, loved the countryside, all the things to do there, all the friends and acquaintances.  I went out for lunch or dinner with friends at least three times a week, and there was something interesting going on almost every weekend.  I remember all the good stuff.  In fact, I was so deluded as to think that I never felt cold in that house.

Wrong!

The winters were brutal!  The house is on a ridge, higher than surrounding land, so I got more snow and wind.  The 300 foot driveway was constantly buried in snow, ice, slush, a horror, and it was not always easy to find someone to clear it.  If the snow was soft enough that I could run the snowthrower, it took hours to do it myself, and the snowthrower was constantly breaking down.  We were constantly losing electricity because of downed wires, which meant no heat, no water (no well pump).   And even though the house was technically tight and the thermostat said the temperature was constant, every time the sun went down, I felt so cold. 

In the spring and fall, there were storms, ice storms and wind storms, that took out branches and whole trees on my property.  One year I lost more than 23 trees.  I don't know how there's any trees left in my woods!

In the summer it was the weeds, and raspberries, and wild roses that threatened to overrun everything - a constant losing battle.  Then there was the yellow jackets, who built nests in, on, and under anything that held still for more than a few hours.  I had to be careful every time I opened a car door, or filled a car gas tank, because there was likely a nest in there.  And then there were the ground-nesting hornets that made it dangerous to walk across the lawn, let alone mow.  And the chipmunks who undermined the driveway, causing cave-ins.  And the mice who rampaged in the attic, and died in the walls.

Old blog posts remind me that it wasn't all that idyllic.  At my current age and physical state, I'm not sure I could handle it.  Well, maybe I could, but I absolutely don't want to anymore.

I've about decided the only thing I really miss are the daffodils.  And Jay.

I think I'm finally ready to do something about it.
.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

5055 Lawn

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity."
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe --

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last spring I got aggressive about the front lawn. It was full of dandelions.   I sprinkled a weed killer and fertilizer, and some grass seed, and for most of the summer it looked almost decent. 

Then in early fall, some kind of weed started growing.  It has continued to spread, even through the winter.  It's now covering most of the upper half of the lawn.

It's "Creeping Charlie".  You know what?  I'm going to let it take over.  It's low, it's green, it's evergreen, it has tiny leaves and tiny purplish flowers, and it laughs at most weed killers.  It's edible, and smells nice when mowed. I can still spray or sprinkle for dandelions and crabgrass without apparently hurting it. 

Sounds like it's easier to keep than grass, and needs less mowing. I can't think of any reason one would prefer grass.
.

5054 Retreat

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find
outside an advertising agency."
-- Raymond Chandler --


-------------------------------------------------------------------

I saw the first robin in the front yard this morning.

-------------------------------------

As I mentioned, I've been reading my blog posts from 2006,7,8, and I think I am finally cured of wanting to move back up there to the old house  The winters were BRUTAL!  I don't think I would be capable of handling that driveway any more.  I do think it's time to let go, and be glad of it.
.

Friday, February 05, 2016

5053 Got the blahs

Friday, February 5, 2016

First you have to figure out who you are.
Then you have to like who you are.
Then you have to be who you are.
That's where strength comes from, and all else follows.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yesterday it was very warm, close to 50 F.  Nugget came to visit, and we went to the town hall (pay taxes), the bank (deposit some checks), post office (buy stamps), and a sub shop (feed Nugget).  She was wearing a light jacket, I wore no jacket or sweater at all.  She tried to get me to put the top down, and I might have, except that I'm still full of phlegm and don't want to tempt fate.

The snow from the previous storm had been steadily melting, and yesterday the last little bits disappeared, even in the shade.  It was a nice feeling.

So this morning I was surprised to wake to the sound of a snowplow going down the street.  There's a manhole cover near my driveway, and when the plows hit it, they make a loud bang.  That's what woke me.  I got up and went to the window and found about three inches of snow on the ground.  What?  Oh, come ON!

But it's near 50 again, and it's melting fast.  That means ice overnight, but it should all be gone tomorrow.

-------------------------------------------------

I've been reading this blog, and adding tags.  I started near the end of 2006, I think, and I'm now into late 2008.  I can't believe how much has changed.  

Before I moved to New Jersey, I was going out for lunch or dinner with friends three or four times a week, sometimes more.  I went to performances, fairs, shows, movies, auctions.  I read a lot.  I walked a lot.  I was, in short, very active and social.  I was involved with Mensa, and Meetup, volunteer groups, and the dance stuff.  I had a lot of opinions, some even passionate opinions, which became blog posts.  And, of course, there was The Man.  I really really miss the fun we had, back when it was fun.  I miss that version of him.

Then I moved down here (late 2010, early 2011), and almost immediately had the kidney thing, which put the skids to so much for so long.  The local Mensa bunch, the folks within travel distance of my current location, anyway, isn't to my taste.  Local meetup groups seem to emphasize booze and bars, which doesn't interest me, plus I don't understand most of the people I'd met at the few functions I'd attended.  They seem so, uh, New Jersey shallow.  And racist.  (Becs, resist the urge, I have enough negativity of my own right now...)  There are no auction houses.  I checked into volunteer organizations, and they don't do anything much around here. There doesn't seem to be any easy way to find out about activities, lectures, happenings, and the few public events I have discovered --- the crowds and traffic were discouraging.

So my world has been getting smaller and smaller.  I go nowhere, talk to no one.  I'm turning into a hermit.  As to opinions, I almost never turn the TV on, except for a very few shows I watch and then immediately off again, and I never watch the news.  I resist exposure to the news because a.) they never cover important stuff, and b.) what they do cover tends to just anger me.  And there's no point in saying anything about it, because nothing will change.  Nothing will ever change.  It's about to where I don't care anymore.  What will be will be.

So, reading old posts is reminding me that once life was fun.  

 But the elements that contributed to the fun don't seem to be here.

----------------------------------------------------

The Aberdeen township sent out an email saying that ALERT! a pit bull who had bitten three people has been diagnosed with rabies, so they need to know of anyone who had contact with the dog.  If you or anyone else blah blah contact blah blah immediately.  A very long email, detailing what rabies is, mentions of past animals in the township with rabies, what animals to avoid (raccoons, stray cats, skunks, etc.), blah, blah, blah.  

Nowhere in that whole screed do they describe the dog other than that it was a pit bull, nowhere do they mention what neighborhood, and this is a long narrow township.  They also don't advise anyone to check their cats for damage, most of which run loose and are not taken in at night.  (That's where some indication of neighborhood might come in handy.)

Around here, about every fourth dog is a pit bull.  Nobody trains their dogs.  They might try, but they don't know how.  People seem to think that their dogs speak English, so yelling "Hey, you, get over here!" should have meaning to the dog, and they get mad when the dog doesn't obey  I suspect few people get the immunizations.  I know just by looking that almost nobody neuters male dogs, especially the pits.

What does surprise me is that you almost never see dogs running loose.  Too many guns around, I guess.
.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

5052 Iowa and groundhogs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Trumpster has been surprisingly calm about the Iowa loss to Cruz.  Not that it matters a whole lot; Iowa is not a predictor.  On the other hand, Cruz's showing freaks me out.  He really scares me.  I don't like the way he fights, by throwing dirt without bothering to find out whether it's even remotely true or not.  Worse, he doesn't seem to care whether it's true or not as long as it sticks and hurts his opponent.  And --- this is totally inconsequential and shallow and I know that --- many of his facial expressions remind me of Bill Murray, and I despise Bill Murray, which is also shallow, but there it is.

I think The Donald better get used to this.  I've been saying all along that the polls and crowds don't mean anything other than that people find him supremely amusing and want to encourage him to be even more outrageous.  It's a great show, and yeah, let's go to his rally, it might be fun!  None of which is any indication of how people will actually vote.  Oh, yeah, he does have supporters who are serious, but not as many as polls imply.  You don't have to be as serious in a poll as you'll be in the booth.

Speaking of Bill Murray, what did the groundhog say?  We'll have an early Spring?  Oh, ok.  Does that mean Spring will be in full swing by the first week in March?  The alternate six weeks would put it mid-March.

I've never really understood those numbers.  Most of the places I've lived, we HOPED the groundhog saw his shadow so we'd have ONLY six more weeks of winter!  In the mountains of Pennsylvania, when I was growing up, our first snow fell in October, and those flakes were still on the ground (under six to eight more feet of snow) in early May.  At the country house, snow started in mid-December, we'd have a tiny teasing taste of spring in late March, and our last major snow storm was the first week of April pretty much every year.  So six more weeks of winter as of early February?  Spring arrives in mid-March?  Great!  We'll take it.  Only six more weeks is good!
.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

5051 Brush fire 6 - eBay

Sunday, January 31, 2016

"As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand."
-- Josh Billings --

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have no idea what was going on with the laptop yesterday, but when I started it up this morning, it was perfectly fine.  All my icons and widgets and bookmarks are present and functional. Google, Feedly, and Firefox all recognize me.  Everything was exactly as it should be.

I'm not going to question it.  Just accept and tiptoe away.

--------------------------------------

EBay has this new thing where they want you to link your eBay account and your PayPal account.  I ignored it and didn't do it, because I don't like the idea of eBay knowing my PayPal password, but now I'm beginning to see sellers who won't allow bidders whose accounts are not linked.  So finally I gave up and attempted to link them.

Nope.  For some reason, eBay refuses to believe I even HAVE a PayPal account, and wants me to open a new one.  After multiple attempts, I went to eBay help chat, and was told that it's a bug that some people are hitting, and they're working on it.  Another eBayer (a seller) told me that many people are hitting that wall, and there doesn't seem to be a fix.

I'm starting to think that maybe it would be a good idea to go ahead and open another PayPal account, and never use it for anything other than eBay.  That way, eBay would have a password only for the new account, and if anything gets screwed up, I still have the "real" account for other online shopping.  (Yes, I do use it everywhere shops will accept it, because that way I can pay for stuff without giving credit card or bank account info to strangers.)

So, that was another brush fire because it consumed time, energy, and emotional reserves.

--------------------------------------

 It isn't that I don't trust eBay with my PayPal password.  Well, actually, I don't, but not because I doubt their honesty --- I doubt their ability to protect it.  Their coders are a bunch of incompetent screw-ups.

There have been a lot of small changes in the checkout procedures lately.  One is that they will fill in your eBay userid and your PayPal userid on the form (yes, they know my PayPal userid, the one they claim I don't have when I try to link it, you know, that one...).  I don't remember when eBay started, but Jay jumped right in from the start, so it must have been the late '90s.  After he died, I took over the eBay account, and I changed the userid.  That has to be at least 13 years ago, probably more.  That old userid has not been used in like 13 years, and yet, sometimes, not every time, but sometimes, eBay fills in the checkout form with that old userid.

I'm thinking that when I attempt to link the accounts, the code is using that old userid instead of the current one, and that's why they don't see a PayPal verification.  PayPal didn't exist back then.

Shall I tell them?  Sellers are starting to get angry because they are missing bids from people who are unable to link the accounts.  Maybe if they get angry enough to revolt, eBay will give up on this "link" idea?
.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

5050 Sick, both me and laptop

Saturday, January 30, 2016

So, let's see, I've got almost a week to cover. 

I don't remember much about Monday.  See?  That's why I have to update frequently here, or I just lose days.  The week before, my back had been bothering me a lot.  A few days I had worn the back brace, but by Saturday I was just carrying it up and down stairs with me in case I needed it.  By Monday there were just a few ouches when I moved wrong, and that's about all I remember about Monday, --- except that Monday evening, late, I started coughing.  A dry cough.  Every few seconds. When I went to bed I was afraid the cough would keep me awake, so I put Vicks Vapo-Rub on the soles of my feet under socks, which is supposed to stop coughs, and has always worked before, but didn't help this time.  All it did was keep Jasper off the bed.

Tuesday, Daughter, Nugget, and I went to a nearby Peruvian restaurant, Inkanto, on route 35 in Hazlet, for an early dinner.  It was very good, I recommend the place.  I was still coughing.  I didn't feel sick.  I described it to Daughter as feeling like there was a popcorn husk stuck far back on the back of my tongue.  That tiny spot of irritation that just won't go away.

Tuesday night, my soft palate got that hot burny feeling.  Uh oh.

Wednesday I woke up to body aches all over, hot dry throat, stuffed up nose, pounding headache from side to side above my eyebrows, and sneeze sneeze sneezes, in between the coughing.  A lot of phlegm, but it was nicely clear.  From coughing so much, my belly and ribs hurt when I coughed.  Maybe a slight fever, not enough to worry about.  Still, the worst part was the feeling of impending doom.  I can't emphasize that too much.  It was obviously just an ordinary cold virus, a head cold, but I felt like I was going to die.  It wasn't in my chest, but I was so afraid I was headed for pneumonia.  Doom!  Doom!  Morbid doom!  Tomorrow I will be dead!

I filled the bathtub with the hottest water I could stand, climbed in, and read a book.  Did that in the late morning, and again in late afternoon.  I figure if the purpose of fever is to kill invaders, I'd help it along.  I did feel better for a short time after each soak.  But still, doom!

Bed early.  Slept well, because the sneezing and coughing seemed to have lessened. 

Woke Thursday feeling a lot better.  Still headaches, still stuffy, but my body felt a bit better, and the hot spots in my throat had cooled down.  Spent the day wandering the internet and reading stuff.

Friday, just yesterday, I felt absolutely wonderful!  I was going to live!  My back was not only all better, but I'd never before been so pain-free all over, an unusual state for me.  I haven't felt this well in ages!  No stabs, no aches, no burning spots in my thighs.  My legs were even listening and obeying when I spoke to them.  My nose was running, lots, that thin stuff that dribbles down your upper lip and drips on everything before you can get a tissue up, but hey, I'll take that. 

Today, I woke to a very dry burning nose and throat.  Sigh.  I guess this is the second phase.  Friday was just a tease.  Lots of phlegm in my throat, thick, nasty pale yellow-green-gray greasy grimy gopher guts.  I've spent the day snorking and choking to get it up, down, and out.  Dry coughing a lot again.

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As if that wasn't enough...

I rarely shut down the laptop.  Every night I disconnect from the wifi and then just close the lid.  In the morning, I reconnect, it asks me for my password, and then torques back up to where I left off the night before.

This morning, I opened the lid, and nothing happened.  Light blue screen. 

I waited.

Nothing.

I waited some more.

Nothing.

I closed the lid, waited a few seconds, and opened it again.  This time I got the hardware Toshiba logo, and the spinning circle. 

I waited.

Nothing more.

I made breakfast.  Ate breakfast.  Made instant coffee.  Drank coffee.

Still nothing more.  Spinning circle on Toshiba screen.

I pressed the off button, the laptop turned off, I waited a few seconds, then pressed it again, and it started.  Got the Toshiba screen, then my usual sign-in screen asking for the password, gave it my password, then, slowly, gradually, a windows screen came up --- but it isn't mine.

It's acting and looking like it has never met me before.  Half the icons on the left side are missing, and there's no rhyme or reason to what's left.  My widgets on the right are missing.  There was an icon for Firefox, so I started that up, but Firefox acted like it had never heard of me and wanted me to set up a new account.  When Firefox started, all my bookmarks are missing.  All my settings are missing.  Same with Goggle. 

I was able to get to my Yahoo and Gmail email accounts, so I'm not dead in the water.  There's that, anyway.

I don't know a lot about how PCs work, but if this were big iron, I'd say my directory has been corrupted.  I'm beginning to suspect that after I closed up last night, Windows decided to update itself, and got interrupted partway through.

Back to the friendly service guys on Monday, I guess.  I still have my little notebook, or note pad, or whatever that thing is, but it's annoying to type much on, so if I disappear for a while, it's the laptop that's in the hospital, probably not me.
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