Saturday, June 27, 2015

4059 Nothing....

Saturday, June 27, 2015

In an age flooded with information people have become so inured to ignorance
that they now fear what they cannot understand.


I don't understand that green statement up there.  I added it to my list of saved quotes simply because it confuses me.  "Inured" means hardened, numbed, very used to it to the point where the condition is simply accepted and ignored.  So how does becoming inured to ignorance cause one to fear what they don't understand?  (I was tempted to say "fear what they are ignorant about", but that's not exactly what it's saying.)  I don't know exactly what it's saying.  It looks to me almost like an oxymoron.  

Opinions, anyone?


Nothing happening around here.  We'd had two weeks of near 90 degree days (with very high humidity), and today suddenly it's 67 degrees out there at 2:30 pm.  I don't understand.

I've learned a bit more about  I discovered that there's always a strong hint as to your location, no matter how desolate the area seems, somewhere up or down the road.  The trick is to find it.  Sometimes it's a road sign, sometimes it's a business beside the road, sometimes it's a clue on the side of a passing truck or bus.  You have to be careful not to zoom past passing vehicles without checking them out.  It's kind of like a road rally.  If you've gone one direction for what feels like miles and miles and have found nothing, you don't have to turn around and retrace your steps.  There's a button on the left that you can click that will take you back to the starting point, and then you can try the other direction. 

It plays with your mind.  When I see people along the road, I keep wanting to pull over and ask them where I am.

(Free hint - If every flat surface in a village is plastered with huge election posters, you're probably in Brazil.  If the land is flat and the soil is thin, and the widely-spaced trees are built like anemic broccoli spears, you are probably in southern Australia. )

Monday, June 22, 2015

4058 They know who I am...

Monday, June 22, 2015

A glorious defeat is better than victory achieved with the wrong attitude.
 – Samurai maxum --


I think GeoGuessr might have it out for me.  I had a run of especially good games lately.  I got 24988 out of 25000 on a game (five maps) a few days ago, then on the next game, yesterday, I got 24367.  That's pretty good.

This evening, the first two maps were in Bulgaria!  The first two!  TWO in a row!  Man, someplace like Bulgaria, there's virtually no way to figure out where in the country you are.  When I get something like Bulgaria, once I figure out the country, I pretty much give up and click randomly in the middle of the country.

The next one was Montana, USA.  Don't know if you've ever been to Montana, but there's miles and miles of miles and miles with few signs, and the few signs I passed were out of focus.  Thanks, Street View.   I saw one clear directional sign pointing to a town, so I just clicked on that town, figuring I had to be somewhere near.  I was almost 50 miles off.  BTW, did you know that Missoula, Montana, has an international airport?  An international airport?  It's a small city, in the mountains, major employers a university and two hospitals.  They must have a good senator.

The last two were Brazil!  Two!  One after the other in Brazil!  I have great difficulty with Brazil, because again, where GeoGuessr drops me, there's next to nothing.

Sometimes I can guess I'm somewhere in Brazil without squinting at signs, just by the highway department.  Those guys are crazy.  Like tonight I got dropped in a tiny hamlet of tiny shacks, maybe seven houses widely spaced, nothing else visible for miles and miles in either direction down the road.  But, there were two bus shelters, on either side of the road, at either end of the hamlet.  (Brazil is big on buses.) The road was marked with barred pedestrian crossing marks at the bus stops.  The speed limit was dropped to half through the hamlet, AND they had two, count 'em, TWO, fancy automated electronic speed traps at either end.  Less than a kilometer apart, mind you.  Crazy.  No route signs, or street signs, or signs pointing to towns, though.  You might get lost, but by darn you aren't going to drive dangerously, either.

Other than tonight I've been enjoying GeoGuessr.  I like when I get to wander around France, or Sweden, or Britain, or Italy, or Japan.  I look at villages and houses.  The other day they dropped me in Lesotho, so I got to learn some new stuff. 

But sometimes it's disturbingly depressing.  Once I was dropped into an area that looked incredibly economically depressed, and the houses scared me.  The buildings were obviously very old, and they looked like they had been maintained over centuries by people who owned no tools and knew nothing about building techniques.  Like an exterior wall (not just one house - it was in general) had been repaired by nailing boards up, but apparently the repairer had no measure and no saw.  The boards were random lengths, so some stuck out past the end of the building, and others stopped short, leaving a hole in the wall.  Like there'd be a two-story house, and the ends of the floor of the second story were not covered by the "siding", floor beams stuck out randomly.  I was thinking, jeeze, these people are scary!  I mean, even if you're poor, you can still figure things out and take some pride in the work.  Ok, a good saw might be expensive when you have nothing, but if everyone in the village chipped in a turnip or a cabbage, maybe you could buy/barter one saw to share. 

That was Romania (a bus went by and I got the name of the bus company), very close to the borders with Hungary and Serbia.  I don't want to go back there, not even virtually.


I guess I owe Romania an apology.  I just went there on my own with street view, and most of the areas I wandered around in are quite nice.  I guess GeoGuessr dropped me into the Romanian equivalent of Detroit (the damaged part), and you can't judge all of the US by Detroit (the damaged part) either.

4057 A week's setback at the country house

Monday, June 22, 2015

" ... the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure.
In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When we think well,
we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy."
--Carl Sagan--


I was so angry earlier today that I actually spoke the full F-word in all its glory when talking to someone on the phone.  I guarantee that was the first time in more than a decade.

I was rushing to get stuff done so that I could drive up to the country house this evening to meet the a/c installers tomorrow.  Then I checked my email.  Not the main id, the one I'd given to the a/c people to use, no, it was my secondary id.  The one I use when I'm afraid I might be inviting a torrent of spam.  The one I used way back when I was checking out a/c companies in general.

The email was from the secretary from the a/c company, informing me that my system installation is scheduled for July 1.  That's not tomorrow.  That's more than a week away.  

Why did I think it was tomorrow?  Because the owner and president of the company, the guy who came out to look at the house and assess my requirements, with whom I had been emailing back and forth, COMMITTED to tomorrow.  He had sent me the contract to sign and send back with a check, but it didn't have any dates on it.  I told him that the installation date was very important to me, and I couldn't send him a down payment  and signed contract without an installation date.  (I don't consider it a contract without a committed date, because if they couldn't do the work soon, I'd have to say no thanks and find someone else who could do it sooner.)  So, in his emailed response to me, he committed to June 23.  

I freaked.

I called the secretary and informed her that the boss had committed to tomorrow.  She (bureaucrat to the core) said that their procedure is that they don't schedule installation until the check for 1/2 the total clears, and tomorrow they've got a different job scheduled, and they can't get to me until July 1.   She just kept repeating that.  She refused to concede that I might have a valid complaint.   I informed her that :
  1.  I don't see how anyone would ever agree to that, no one should send a check without a date, what if you couldn't do the work until August, am I supposed to accept that? or plead for release from the signed contract and beg for return of my check?
  2.  I was told to send a check for 75% of the total, so, so much for your F**KING 50% DEPOSIT PROCEDURE!  Apparently sometimes your procedure is flexible.
  3.  The owner told me tomorrow.   I have it in writing, in the email.  Yes, I am thoroughly pissed, and I want some kind of concession.
  4.  I have already scheduled the furnace company for July 1 annual service.  You guys will be hooking up to the furnace ducts and fan.  Gee, I hope you can work around the furnace guy.  He has precedence because he got that date before you.
The woman needs training in customer relations.  She should have listened to my side, instead of repeating "the procedure" over and over.  She should have said she understood my problem, and said she's sorry, but there seems to have been a failure of communication on their part, and apologized for that failure.  THEN and only then, she could say that there's no way to correct it at this point, and asked if I could I possibly work with a July 1 date. 

I'm still pissed.