Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hurricane Prep Is All About Wishing It Hits Your Neighbor


 I moved into this house a year or two after Hurricane Wilma.

I heard the locals moan and whine about the after effects and how bad it was to be in a modern house without any electric for one to three weeks. 

Then I realized THEY were right and I was not.  I started preparing by bullet-proofing the house.  It took me about 10 years.  I now don't worry about weather.

First generator would power either the refrigerator, the Air Conditioning, or the "rest of the crap in the house".

Replaced the leaky Jalousie windows with Hurricane Glass.  It's "near bulletproof" literally.  Makes the place nice and quiet.

Insulated the roof.  Added sheetrock and insulation to the Florida Room that had zero insulation.

Stood back and noticed that we can hold 76F on a very hot day of 96F in full sun and not worry.  It used to be that the AC was on full blast all day.

Replaced the AC with high efficiency unit.

Got a Propane based generator.

Remodeled the kitchen with a Propane stove, computer controlled electric oven.

Point of use water heater using Propane and no electric except the striker.


Finally a new roof.

Sure the order is mixed up but we are prepared for anything up to a Category 4 Direct Hit.

I won't wish that on anyone.

Hurricane Irma the other year was an annoyance and a dry run.  Sure getting up every four hours to run the generator was a major bother, but it worked.

None of that will help when Hurricane Ian does a direct hit on the West Coast of Florida.  It is a Category 4 at the moment, 150 MPH winds.  The standards for "Miami Dade Hurricane Building Code" would have the roof peel off in that.

Well maybe but it is also why you don't want a house that is more than 1 floor or wood frame in South Florida.

So good luck to Tampa, Sarasota, and Port Charlotte.  It's going to be a mess.

Here... we are making Baked Ziti, the storm never got closer than 150 miles away and the winds knocked over my tree in a pot in the back yard.

I'll have to scoop out the pool this afternoon but I think we're fine.

Call your relatives on the west coast of Florida and make sure they're OK but Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Palm Beaches seem to me MOSTLY fine.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

What are the strongest days? Saturday and Sunday; the rest are weekdays.

It's Sunday.  I can commiserate with the guy in the story.  I just went for a 20 mile plus bike ride and am melting into a puddle in a big green comfy chair.  But I did not forget to hydrate and in about an hour I will be having what I have been told is the British Lunch Of Champions - Curried Chicken on Chips.  Fries to us Yanks.

 

 
My wife reminds me everything

My wife reminds me every day before I leave something I forgot and wanted to leave.

Sometimes the car keys, sometimes the watch, sometimes the house keys, sometimes important documents, sometimes my mobile, and it makes me feel old and my memory is weak. So I decided to put a limit on my forgetfulness so that I don't get told that you are forgetful anymore.

Today, when I woke up, I took a small book and a pen and wrote down everything that I think, don't forget, take it forward.

While my wife was in the bathroom, I put on my work clothes and happily took my notes and left for work feeling accomplished.

A few minutes later my wife called me and I said: "Don't interrupt my work, I haven't forgotten anything today."

She replied: "Come back today it's Sunday"

Saturday, September 24, 2022

What do you call hen that knows to count their eggs? A Mathemachicken!

This is leaning a bit towards "Boomer Humor" but it's a cute story so I'll live with it.

Humor has changed over the years from when suggesting spousal abuse was "funny" (Trip to the moon, ALICE!)  to now where it's difficult to know where to tread.

In this case, it's fun with kitchen appliances so who knows who I might offend.  The germ of any story/joke is the shock value of the punch line.




Jealous wife and the Food processor

A jealous wife, while on a road trip with her friends, would call her husband everyday to check on him.

Her: Where are you?

Him: At home hun.

Her: Don't trust you. Can you run the food processor for me so I know you are home?

Him: Sure Hun .

Whirrrrrrrrrr

Him: There you go.

Her: Ok. Talk to you later...

This went on for a few days. She would call him and ask him to run the food processor, which he would do.

One day she called her children and asked : Where is dad?

Kid: No idea. He leaves early in the morning and comes back late in the night. But he takes the food processor along wherever he goes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Running VNC or Other Program at Startup on Linux Mint 21 or other Linux Using Systemd

Linux Mint Screenshot from their page
Note:  If you are just trying to get "your" program to run on boot as a service in Linux, skip to the instructions at the bottom.  I expect these steps to work on any systemd based machine, and I will continue refining this to work on my own Debian laptops.  For now, it works beautifully on Linux Mint which is derived from Debian via Ubuntu.

...

Between power pops and other instabilities here in South Florida’s own FPL, and their abysmal service, I managed to build a server.  We literally had one power outage and multiple "pops" over the last week and the weather has been gentle recently.

No, really, FPL is the Comcast of electrical services. You need a generator, Battery Backup, filters and so on.  I lost two desktops before learning this and luckily laptops are better suited to take Utility Company Mishaps.

I need the server.  I was given a list of hardware, specifically a desktop server from about 10 years ago.  Acer Aspire Easystore H340.

Immediately I got a cable that terminated on the motherboard and turned my widescreen analog VGA monitor into an older style 1080 by 768 Square by stretching pixels.

Removed all drives and installed a laptop boot drive.

Turned off the Bios for booting from anything but USB Sticks and first hard drive.

I installed Linux Mint 21 Xfce from the ISO.

Since this machine is an appliance, I installed it completely stock – taking the most “normal” choices under install.

When it is installed, turn off all screensavers – my machine would be a headless server.  The password protecting screensaver that "came up" when it timed out as a security measure would crash the machine when you were connected with VNC.  My own machine is in my house, behind a firewall, and only turned on when I need it.  If it had Wake On LAN enabled it would be perfect for the task.  Apparently the original software from the discontinued M$ Windows Home Server product had it so it's a matter of proving it can be used.

The hardest part of headless is getting VNC to work on startup.  I went through a long list of distributions and a long list of software “tricks” to try to get it to work when you sign on it.

The answer is this link - https://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/2334

I will reproduce its text literally from before.  Reason is that forum documentation often will disappear.  I use this blog as a scratch pad so I want this to be here 10 years down the road.

Secondly at time of writing, I could not find a “cookbook” of how to add VNC protocol to the machine except for this one.  The hang up was getting VNC to start as a Service at boot.

Thanks to Linux Mint and their excellent documentation, it works.  Mind you it was written for version 18 and mine is version 21, hence my leaving it here for me to see in the future.  As of today, this original is a 5 year old posting derived from something older.  I want to make sure I have it because it should work with any systemd based linux machine.

As I go onward, I will add the next steps – configuring a /etc/fstab to mount a drive optionally at boot, and the samba configuration.

For now, here is Linux Mint’s documentation on how to make a service start at boot.  I am presenting it literally as of my date of publishing, and I recommend that you find it there. This is really just a note taped to the underside of my keyboard for all to share.




HOWTO: Setup VNC Server (x11vnc) on Linux Mint 18


This tutorial was adapted from here.

1. Remove the default Vino server: (Note, LM 21 did not have vino)

sudo apt-get -y remove vino

2. Install x11vnc:

sudo apt-get -y install x11vnc

3. Create the directory for the password file:

sudo mkdir /etc/x11vnc

4. Create the encrypted password file:

sudo x11vnc --storepasswd /etc/x11vnc/vncpwd

You will be asked to enter and verify the password.  Then press Y to save the password file.

5. Create the systemd service file for the x11vnc service:

sudo xed /lib/systemd/system/x11vnc.service

Copy/Paste this code into the empty file:

[Unit]
Description=Start x11vnc at startup.
After=multi-user.target

[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=/usr/bin/x11vnc -auth guess -forever -noxdamage -repeat -rfbauth /etc/x11vnc/vncpwd -rfbport 5900 -shared

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

6: Reload the services:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

7. Enable the x11vnc service at boot time:

sudo systemctl enable x11vnc.service

8. Start the service:

Either reboot or

sudo systemctl start x11vnc.service

Sunday, September 18, 2022

When don't you disturb a broom? When it's sweeping.

Ok, this one is long, but it is really well told.  If you are just looking for a punch line or a giggle, skip to the end.

I will say my vote is on Civil Engineer.  I've seen too many systems built that were inherently flawed.  Those undersea mounts in the middle of the Atlantic near the Azores that threaten to flood the entire east coast of Los Estados Unidos if a well placed earthquake hits are a good example.

 

What kind of engineer is god?

At the bar the other week, I overheard an interesting conversation between three engineers discussing religion. Specifically, they were debating which type of engineer God was.

"I'm telling you," the first one said, "God is a mechanical engineer. It's obvious! Have you ever studied the human skeletal structure, the way our bones fit together, our padded joints, all working together in tandem with our muscles to provide optimized power delivery? 

We even have built in water cooling. Sure, there's wear and tear on the body as time goes on, but that's the nature of the field, and increasingly, our parts are replaceable, even the padding between our bones! I am telling you, God knew what they were doing when they built us - not only a mechanical engineer, but a mechanical engineer par excellence!"

This made the woman sitting across from her laugh very hard, but the man sitting to her left only cocked an eyebrow. "Are you serious?" he said. "'The mechanical engineering of the human body,' that's what impresses you? Knee replacements? 

Tell me, have you ever studied the complexity of the human eye, how signals are transported down the optical nerve to the frontal cortex, where they're processed, synthesized with the rest of our sensory data, and converted not only into an image, but a descriptive understanding of our surroundings? 

As if that weren't enough of a marvel, it's all part of a feedback system, where that information is used to make decisions, and feed the brain more information - a contained, self-sustaining electronic marvel. Your mechanical spine is nothing more than a support structure for the complex nervous system which governs everything you do. The brain is the true miracle of the human body, I'm telling you. God was an electrical engineer whose talent we can only aspire to."

The first engineer frowned at that, and for a moment was deep in thought, trying to come up with a retort. But the engineer across from her was laughing again, even harder at this story than the first one. "Just what is so funny?" she asked. "Whose side are you on here?"

The third engineer struggled to regain her composure, her laugh only trailing off slowly, with effort. Wiping a tear from her eye, she said, "I'm laughing because you two clearly haven't been in this job long enough yet, you have no perspective. 

'God's a mechanical engineer par excellence!' 'Oh, we can only aspire to be electrical engineers as great as God!'" She started laughing again, but regained control over herself. 

"You want to know what kind of engineer God is? Don't look at the propaganda, the 'miracles' of the human body, the pamphlets and blue prints they show the investors to get approval. Look at the as-built documents, the messy, ugly reality of what it all really amounts to in the end. That's how I know God is a civil engineer - who else would put the sewer drainage point in a recreational area?"

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Why did the dog cross the road? Because someone left the door open.

 Actually, none of my dogs were "bolters".  Not the kind that would run off out of the house unless they knew that it was time for a WALK! and we were going somewhere.

If yours is, the problem is in the mirror.

For that matter, come to think of it, neither is my parrot.  I have had the cage outside and he just calls to me through the window.  Silly bird, you know how to open that door!  This is the same bird that would sit inside and call to people with a wolf whistle and confuse them.

They do that sort of thing from time to time.




So this woman got a new job a short walk from her house.
On her way to work her first day she walks in front of a pet store with a parrot in a cage out front.
As she walks by the parrot they look at each other and the parrot says "damn girl you are uuuuglyyy".
She is seriously offended and thinks about this all day at work.

She thought on her way home if the parrot says anything to her again she will go inside and tell the owner about his rude parrot.
So sure enough on her walk home as soon as the parrot sees her he says "damn girl you sure are ugly".
She gets pissed off and goes inside to tell the owner.

The owner is very apologetic and assures her it will not happen again.
She is satisfied and goes on home.

Then next day on her way to work she notices the parrot outside again and walks slowly by him, they both lock eyes and the parrot looks at her and says "you know".

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

How Do Dogs Learn This Stuff Or A Self Taught Dog Genius Has Learned Me

Picture it.
South Florida. 5 AM. Almost every morning.

I have a routine.  I just don’t know how I’ve been manipulated this way.  I will say that as far as “bad habits” go, this is a pleasant one.

You see, I have a pattern of things and in order to get my things done, I have to do his things.

His is Rack.  My McNab SuperDog(TM).  Oh I’m fine with it but he’s learned these behaviors so well that I didn’t realize how much he twisted me around his little white paws until I went on a drive.

I don’t drive often, it’s probably for the best.  When I do, it’s rarely very far.  Out to the park frequently so I’m the little old dude from Pasadena.  In the Jeep Wrangler.  

This particular day I had to go far.  “OTP” it used to be called.  Over The Turnpike.  It’s slang here for West Side Of The County.  West of 95.  Not somewhere I usually go.

My inline skates need a new liner and I thought I would go look in a shop for a new pair.  They didn’t have what I am looking for and since I am a VERY high end inline skater, I have to think twice about what I do.

This trip OTP gave me an excuse to think about things.  In this case about what I have to do to do my workouts.

I open my eyes at 5AM.  Pull the earplugs out of my ears and in the gloom I notice that I am being wagged at.  Even in the dark I know I have to pet Mr Dog.  He always is on the little mat that I keep by the bed, rolled on his back, wagging his tail, he is expecting tummy rubs.  Always gets 100 rubs plus about 10 or 20 pets on the head.  

I’m a soft touch.  But he knows if he has to use the back yard tree, to say something.  A wee little whine is enough.  Not today, I can go about my own paces and come back into the bedroom.

Now, being an athlete that works out every day of the year, I watch my weight.  Down to the fraction of a pound on the digital scale.  Rack has figured that out and expects that he will be weighed too.  I was putting on my cargo shorts and looked down and he was sitting on my toes, staring up, with one of his feet on the scale.  As if to say My Turn.

He is underweight and I need to watch that closely.  I’m fine, according to Scale and Trainer.  

He’s teaching himself to get on the scale so he stands up and puts weight on the one foot.  Scale turns on and I lift his remaining feet.  “38.4 Pounds, we have to watch that!”.

Next he walks to the kitchen and stands by the sink.  I get the food out and over-feed him to help him make weight.  It’s a long haul but someone has to do it.

When the food comes out of the microwave, he walks over to the mat where I put the food down and waits.  

He knows the routine.  Since this is a Bike day, I prep my coffee while he eats, get the light, pepper spray, leatherman’s tool, and 3 “dog bags” for the walk.

He finishes, walks to the door and looks back.

Next thing he’s figured out “Time to get dressed!”.  Collar is easy.  He then stands up to put his head in the harness.  Without asking he puts on the harness.  Foot flies through the air into the chest strap.  Tail wags, looks back.  I snap the harness closed and we step on the porch.

The thing is that all these behaviors were self taught.  When I tell people that My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student, I mean it.

I go for a drive, could not find any of the parts I was looking for and come home.  While we go through the food thing again, he gets three meals just like I do, he hears something he doesn’t like.  “Go Look!.” as he walks to the front door and surveys the damage.  Why bark when you can just look?


I had a siesta today and there were workers across the street on the property there.  Instead of him losing his cool and freaking out, he let me know by putting a paw on my chair.

Who does this?  Who taught him this stuff?  I am frankly amazed at this.  

If we could get him to stop barking at delivery trucks I’d be happy!

He’s not perfect but he’s learned me.  I guess that’s the most you can hope for.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Handling a Karen is like handling a crocodile. They're only dangerous if you let them open their mouths.

See, I knew plenty of good women named Karen.  Settled, Kind, Solid, help you out in a pinch.

But hey, I'm not doing serious stuff here on a weekend am I?

No, I'm doing Yo Mama Jokes... the return!




Yo Mama is so fast that she was arrested for speeding on the Autobahn
Yo Mama is so nasty that she bit a dog and gave it rabies.
Yo Mama is so old that her biography starts with “In the Beginning”.
Yo Mama is so old that when she hears people talking about the dinsoaur extinction she said, "I remember that.".
Yo Mama is so poor that she married young just to get the rice.
Yo mama is so poor that she could only go to the dollar store when it's having a half-off sale.
Yo Mama is so sick that they named a COVID variant after her.
Yo mama is so slow that it took her 9 months to make a joke.
Yo Mama is so stupid that when she heard the weather man say it would be chilly out today. So she went outside with a bowl and spoon!
Yo Mama is so stupid that she threw a rock at the ground and missed
Yo Mama is so stupid if brains were dynamite she wouldnt have enough to blow her nose.
Yo Mama is so stupid that she tried to climb Mountain Dew.
Yo Mama is so stupid that it takes her 2 hours to watch 60 minutes.
Yo Mama is so stupid she was scared to drive after drinking water.
Yo Mama is so Ugly that she walked into a haunted house and came out with a job application



Wednesday, September 7, 2022

A Pre-Dawn Dog Directed Walk With Rack

Two hours before sunrise, I grab my phone and pull the covers over my head.

I haven't even pulled my earplugs out of my ears, I don't want to wake anyone in the house.  A Parrot greeting the dawn is just a bit too much some days!

I'm sure I have already woken up Rack the McNab SuperDog(TM).  I hear his ears flap in the breeze.  I guess he's stretching and waiting.

Checking the weather, there's nothing for "a couple hours" of distance nearby so I can do whatever I like in this predawn morning.

It's time to get out of bed oh-five-too-early AM.  Stupid o'clock.


Feet on the floor, my faithful sidekick is wagging his tail against the blanket and the bed frame. 

"Of course I will pay attention to you!".  I whisper to Rack.

He rolls over onto his back and wants belly rubs.  I swear he's made of a collection of loosely assembled parts. 

In the gloom, I give him a couple minutes of belly rubs and then get prepared to go and greet the day.   Rack gets his fresh water and food and finishes it while I am brushing my teeth.  Those few seconds under the covers checking radar told me I needed at least that.

We get ourselves together and I say "Start Strava" after having strapped myself into the heart rate monitor I use to gauge my workouts and we walk out the door.

Brilliant starshine, or at least what passes for it here in the big sprawl of Suburban Fort Lauderdale Area.  I see the streak of light glowing grey-blue in the south western sky from the Hard Rock Casino, down in Hollywood.

Stepping toward the hedges, Rack trots over to them and waters them as I look up at Orion and it's belt.  Everywhere I have lived, I have noted where that constellation is.  Three stars in a line and the twin trapezoids forming a familiar sight.  When I had a house in Philadelphia, it showed itself as soon as I stepped off the porch.  Here, it's behind the house and up over the ocean.  At least in late summer.

Rack has a very strong opinion of where he wants to go, whether I am awake enough to appreciate it.  At this point he pulls me across the deserted street to the house, and insists we go in.  

I unlock the door and we're in.  Removing his leash and set it on the floor.  He trots to the back door and looks back.  "Ok, I'm coming" as I lock the front of the house.  

I didn't feel like being social with the neighbor and her overly friendly love sponge of a pitbull at this time of the morning.  All muscle, that sweet dog would knock me over trying to express love!  The yipping of too overly social dogs will wake the dead!

Rack and I go out to the back yard and I inspect things.   We've been away for most of the summer while work happens on the house.  My prized plants are overgrowing, pots have been knocked over in a stray overnight storm.  I think that I will have to go back during the daylight hours and really look into what is going on.

He's back in the utility easement again "watering things".  That will keep the wildlife out of the yard at any rate, they don't seem to like the scent of a dog all over the plantings. 

We gather ourselves together, go back into the house.  He's already at the front door, he looks back at me.  Crunching construction debris I make my own way.  Attaching his leash, we step out.  


Once I get to the bottom of the property, I get more insistent walking instructions.  He starts dragging me down the block.  Our pitbull friend is gone and the morning is beginning to shine.  Orion is beginning to fade.

As we get back to the house, he spots a neighbor who is asking "Where's the running shoes?"  Rack is trying to greet him across the street.   "Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!" I respond.  My chest strap flashes a green LED at him.  I look like a demented dog walking robot.  

I may as well be since the coffee has yet to be brewed.

Amusing.  Pivot to another sport for a bit and the neighborhood notices.  At my size, I would tend to fill up the sidewalks anyway, and add the dog and it's full.  "Is that why you don't run with Rack?"

Yes, the world is not ready for a football player sized man and an overeager herding dog running down a narrow sidewalk!

Well once the sun comes up, it gets hot fast.  Florida.  It's just past Labor Day, there is a change in the air.  Temps at Sunrise are below 80F so High Summer has ended.  Just wait for the water to cool for Hurricane Season to end.

We all hope for that.  Dodging storms here unfortunately means wishing weather on someone else!  Stay Dry!

Sunday, September 4, 2022

I’m not superstitious, I’m only a little stitous.

I'm not sure that putting animals in cages so humans can gawk at them is a completely good idea, but on the other hand, they are educating children and some adults.  That and I have heard of breeding programs that have aided in reestablishing some depleted populations. 

*shrug*  Since I am willing to say that a Zoo is somewhat better than neutral if done right.  Its a bit above my pay grade and I just got back from a workout so on to the story.



 
A man built a zoo..

He made the entrance fee $60 but no one enters his zoo..

He reduced it to $40 but still no one came.

He made $10 for the entrance but no one still enters..

What the man did, because no one was coming in even though the entrance fee was very low, he just made it FREE.

As a result, many people entered the zoo and it was filled with people. More than 4000 people came in.

He then quietly locked the zoo gate, freed the crocodiles, lions and tigers and then made an exit fee of $100.

Everyone paid immediately just to get out!




Since that one was a bit on the short side, here's another one that's a bit on the short side!



A man walks into a museum

He sees a dinosaur skeleton and asks the tour guide “How old is that skeleton?”

The tour guide says “65 million and 3 years, 5 months and 12 days.”

“Wow” says the man, “How do you get such a specific measurement?”

The tour guide replies “Well it was 65 million years old when I started working here. I’ve been here for 3 years, 5 months and 12 days.”