Saturday, February 09, 2013

3697 Eh.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds."
-- Malaclypse the Younger --


Well, the "blizzard" left me underwhelmed.  At the country house a normal "biggish" snowstorm would leave a foot of snow or so with a layer or two of ice to make the shoveling or throwing interesting.  (More than once I'd had to go down the 300+ foot driveway with a coal shovel chopping the layer of ice on top of the snow into squares and removing the squares before I could use the snow thrower.)

Here, there was about 9 inches on the roof of the van, but by the time I got outside it was heavy and wet.  I got about 1/3 cleared from the 2-car-length driveway when my little electric thrower couldn't handle it any more (sticky heavy snow kept clogging up the chute).  Daughter cleared the town plow plug across the end of the driveway, neighbor George used his big thrower on the lower half, and I still have to clear around the van with a shovel.

Daughter and Nugget did return from DC yesterday morning.  I had called her to say that if she wanted to stay at a hotel, I'd reimburse her, but as it turned out it was mostly rain and the roads weren't bad.

I was amused by the following comments on a Yahoo e-news storm report:

Big Momma  •  16 hrs ago
I 'm watching, as the snow reaches 3 feet in depth, my husband staring at the window. If this keeps up I may have to let him inside.

critters_r_me  •  6 hrs ago
There are hundreds of cars stranded on the Long Island Expressway. Gee, I bet they wish someone had told them a storm was coming.

WilliamH  •  19 hrs ago
First you were finding NEMO, now you're tracking NEMO.
You're going to make that poor little fish paranoid.

I know that some areas really did get slammed, and the constant break-ins on the TV with officials warning of doom were justified there (but those areas are used to winter extremes!), but around here fear-mongering crap like that is just going to cause people to wave warnings off, even when it really is serious.

P.S. What's with the current trend for naming storms?  Like, we don't know what to call it without a name?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

3696 Crap.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Absence makes the heart grow fungus.


I have a very sore throat.  I called the doctor (strep?), and they called in an antibiotic prescription (which involved three screw-ups and six phone calls, and took six hours).  I have an appointment with the doctor on Monday.

I wanted to get ahead of my throat because we're expecting a major storm starting tomorrow morning.  Rain, snow, torrential rain, ice, sleet, plunging temperature and more snow, possible loss of power, possibly up to a foot or more of snow tomorrow overnight after it gets colder.  (I love that "up to xxx or more".  Like, "up to" no longer has any meaning, I guess.)

What's upsetting me the most is that yesterday Daughter and the Nugget drove to the DC area to visit a friend, and plan to drive back tomorrow.  I suggested to Daughter that she might want to delay her return a day or two, and she refused to even consider it.  "If it's bad I'll just drive slower."

Yeah.  A normally five hour drive under the best of conditions, on a Friday, with a 21-month-old in the back seat.

I can't seem to get through to her that you can have loads of confidence in yourself, but can you have confidence in EVERYONE else on the road with you? All of them?

She will be furious with me if I call her tomorrow morning and offer to pay (reimburse her) for a hotel room, but I think I'll risk it.


When the sky is cloudy at night here, it's not black or gray, like at the country house.  It's pink.  Light pink.  Faded flamingo pink.  On all sides.  I find that disturbing.  Ominous. 

I don't like it at all.

3695 Begone, ye winter blahs!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

You're worth only the bail amount people will pay for you.


I am going to do this to my stairs:

Or maybe a little less colorful, like this:

See for inspiration.

I haven't yet settled on the color scheme, but I am leaning toward jewel tone gloss colors on black.  Or maybe on cream, since the walls are tan. 

I've bought some stencils, five different Moroccan tile patterns, more geometric than the ones shown here. (Search for "(moroccan,geometric) stencil" on eBay; yes include the parentheses, not the quotation marks.  You can find the stencils in online retail stores, too, with a better selection depending on what you're looking for, but you also pay more.  Like two to three times more.  My cheap is showing here.)

(I've got my eye out for a beat-up chest of drawers that needs painting.  Can you see the drawers decorated like this?)

They recommend that you cut 1/4 inch  plywood to size, paint, then apply the strips to the risers with finishing nails or small screws or glue.   I plan to use theatrical canvas, sized, painted, and applied like wallpaper, because it will be easier to cut, and leave more room on the tread.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

3694 Comment verification

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

If you owe me money, every unnecessary thing you buy
from the time I lent you money to the time you pay me back, is mine.
If you don't have money to pay me, you don't have money for that.
--  Hellhathnofury  --


The "verification words" provided by Blogger are getting more and more difficult.  Too often the numbers portion is a blur, and/or the letters run together and overlap, so you can't figure them out - "rn" often looks like "m", for example,or "ob" looks like "do".

There are several ways to avoid robot spam comments.
  1. Don't allow comments at all.
  2. Let all comments be immediately posted, and then delete the spam. 
  3. Monitor comments.  The blog owner gets the comment by email and has to approve it before it is appended to the post.
  4. Require that the commenter pass a word verification test, and then the comment is immediately posted.
  5. Require both word verification and moderation.

#1, block all comments, is ok if you don't care what anyone else thinks.

I tried #2, allow everyone, for a while, back when Blogger started the current generation of ugly word verification.  It was ok for a few days, then the spammers found me, and I was getting a dozen spam comments a day.  (You know when you get spam because Blogger sends the comment in an email, but having to go to the blog a dozen times a day to delete them is a pain.)  I had to go back to word verification.

#3, moderate all comments, is no fun because people reading the blog don't get to see their comment until the blog owner gets around to accepting the comment.  Worse, they don't get to see the comments of others until later.  Robot spammers can get comments through to the moderation approval stage, so the need to refuse those comments, sometimes dozens a day, can be annoying to the blog owner.

#4, word verification, is the method I've been using because the comment gets posted immediately once the commenter passes the verification test, and commenters also see the comments of others.  Since the comments are "real time", they can even have conversations.   However, a lot of people have great difficulty with that.  HINT:  Anyone having a problem with the word verification, don't attempt to guess if you aren't sure.  That way lies frustration and wasted time doing it over and over.  Instead, next to the rectangle where you type in the numbers and letters, to the right of that rectangle, you'll see a circular arrow.  Click on that circular arrow, and the verification will change.  You can keep clicking and asking for another until you find one that's easy to read.

I flat out hate #5, requiring both word verification and moderation.  It has the same problems as both #3 and #4, especially if the blog owner takes a while to get around to moderation.  Requiring both is needless and painful overkill.  I mostly avoid commenting on those blogs.

Sooooo, that's why I use word verification.  It's the best of bad choices.

3693 Stolen jobs and transsexual horses

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tall people with tons of nose hair should not make fun of short people.


I'm here.  I'm fine.  I've been pretty busy, and blogging is not high on the priority list at the moment.   I think of or notice something, and I think, "Oh, I could write about that when I have time", and I make a note of it, and then later I look at the note and think, "Ho hum.  Boring."

Scary things are happening in Africa and in the Middle East.  The US and world economy is all over the place.  The country is becoming more and more uncivilized.  So I've been reading a lot.  One link leads to the next.

You know, when people look for someone or something to blame for unemployment, they all seem to miss the obvious.  Many if not most of those jobs will never come back.  They've been taken over by technology and robots.  People worried about that a few decades ago, when the first robots appeared on factory assembly floors, but they were soothed by the platitude, "Well, the jobs just change.  Somebody still has to make the robots."  Uh uh.  Now robots are making the robots.

Technology is nearing the point where it can not only replicate itself, it can improve on the previous generation all by itself.  Even in the service sector, where growth was predicted to replace lost manufacturing jobs, jobs are disappearing instead.  Does your local grocery store have those self-checkout scanners?  Uh huh.  Those jobs are gone forever.  An effect we are seeing now is that employers can dictate the terms of employment as never before, so the salaries for remaining jobs will be lower, leading to the demise of the middle class.

I've never been a big fan of unions, and there seems to be a huge groundswell to kill unions off - but we may need them in the future even more than in the past.  (One of my biggest complaints is that people seem to forget WHY things like feminism, social security, financial regulation, medicare, unions, etc. exist.  Those movements fixed severe problems and inequalities, and people look around and don't see the problems any more, so they want to want to blow up the dam.  Idiots.  Funny how the people who wanted to privatize Social Security shut up when the market crashed in 2008.  Oh, yeah, that's why....  Oops.)

Look up "technological singularity" some time.


I had the Super Bowl on in the background Sunday.  I wasn't interested in the game or the halftime show, but I wanted to watch the commercials.  Unfortunately, my mind is trained to ignore commercials, so I didn't see much.  Oh well, they're on YouTube.

I did catch the Budweiser Clydesdale one on Sunday. That's always been my favorite.  Again, it was pretty good, but it annoyed me.  Budweiser cheated.  Apparently the starring horse had a sex change between birth and joining the hitch team. 

The horses that pull the wagons are always male, because they are larger and flashier than the mares.  They are gelded, so they tend to be calmer in crowds than mares.  When foals are born, they are raised and trained, and if they pass the appearance and temperament tests, they "join the team".  Some are not gelded, and stay at the breeding farms.  Young males who flunk out are sold.  Amazingly, their price is unbelievably low.

The best of the young fillies stay at the breeding farm(s).  Excess are sold.

My complaint is that the baby in the commercial was female, but ends up on a hitch.

Uncool Budweiser.  You could have pretended it was male.  Like, no one was going to look under its tail.