Monday, August 31, 2015

A Dog's Portal To The World

Back before I descended into Home Improvement Hell, there was a door on the laundry room.

It was a smallish door, rather appropriate for the mid-century design of this house.

The door had a problem.  It had a giant hole in the middle of it that was covered with Jalousie Windows.

In otherwords, you could have broken into my house by simply knocking out a slat of glass, lifting it up and removing the rest.  They were all held in with clips and those clips were not very sturdy.

But hey, they were security glass because they were FROSTED!

Yeah, that will stop an intruder, won't it?

Now, my girl Lettie moved in the house with me.  When one of the panes broke, I wanted to give her a gift.   I wanted to get clear replacements.  Two to be exact.

I removed the glass from the third and fourth slat from the bottom and replaced them with clear panes.  Then I replaced the broken slat and put in one of the frosted ones.

It was perfect.  At dog's nose height I had a spot where Lettie could go and watch the world.  She did, and so did Rack when he came here.

But we had to replace that door because it no longer was "Up To Code".  We'd have the entire house inspected once the windows were installed and the inspector would point to that door and make disapproving sounds.

It got replaced with a security glass door.  Frosted glass that looks like those old Milk Glass vases your mom would have, but it is 5/16ths inch thick and was rated for "Large Missile Impact", whatever that means.

It also meant that Rack could no longer look out.  The front door was solid steel and due to be replaced.

We got a twin to it.  Only this time, the twin would be clear.

We are adjusting.

We're getting a proper shade for it but for now there is this ludicrous shade there made out of paper.  It looks like that stuff you used to get meats wrapped in at the Butcher Shop, and is fan folded so you have to expect that some Japanese Geisha would be using it to cool herself off in the heat.

But the benefit is now Rack has a view to the world.

I on the other hand have to get used to being in a fishbowl or on display.

I tend to keep that paper geisha shade clipped, per design, about knee high.  There is a wrinkle outside of the shade.  You see, if you can see out, others can see back in the glass.

Last night when preparing for the Dog Walk, Rack was out on the front porch.  I had finished my last minute puttering and was searching for a couple of Dog Bags.  They're Brown for a reason.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see some glowing spots and hear yapping and yipping.  Rack was excited because he knew he'd get his last walk of the day.  I just didn't expect to see two glowing spots, one green, the other yellow, and very little else in the evening gloom.

I'll get used to it.  Just remember, when you're walking across the living room with one light on, make sure you have clothes on when you drop the laundry off in the washer.  Otherwise you'll be giving a show.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Little Mary

Little Mary was not the best student in Sunday School. Usually she slept through the class.

One day the teacher called on her while she was napping, ''Tell me, Mary, who created the universe?''

When Mary didn't stir, little Johnny, an altruistic boy seated in the chair behind her, took a pin and jabbed her in the rear. ''God Almighty !'' shouted Mary and the teacher said, ''Very good'' and Mary fell back to sleep.

A while later the teacher asked Mary, ''Who is our Lord and Savior?'' But Mary didn't even stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to the rescue and stuck her again. ''Jesus Christ!'' shouted Mary and the teacher said, ''Very good,'' and Mary fell back to sleep.

Then the teacher asked Mary a third question, ''What did Eve say to Adam after she had her twenty-third child?'' And again, Johnny jabbed her with the pin.

This time Mary jumped up and shouted, ''If you stick that damn thing in me one more time, I'll break it in half!'' The Teacher fainted.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Three Mice Are Sitting At A Bar

Three mice are sitting at a bar in a pretty rough neighborhood late at night trying to impress each other about how tough they are.

The first mouse pounds a shot of scotch, slams the glass onto the bar, turns to the second mouse and says, "When I see a mousetrap, I lie on my back and set it off with my foot. When the bar comes down, I catch it in my teeth, bench press it twenty times to work up an appetite, and then make off with the cheese."

The second mouse orders up two shots of sour mash, pounds them both, slams each glass onto the bar, turns to the first mouse, and replies, "Yeah, well when I see rat poison, I collect as much as I can, take it home, grind it up to a powder, and add it to my coffee each morning so I can get a good buzz going for the rest of the day."

The first mouse and the second mouse then turn to the third mouse.

The third mouse lets out a long sigh and says to the first two, "I don't have time for this. I've got a date with the cat."

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rocky Road Fudge Recipe For The Microwave

No excuses.

You can make this recipe.

Yes, even YOU.  You know who you are.

After having way too much construction in the house over the week, I had had enough. 

We had windows replaced, all 23 of them.
Then the A/C went out and got replaced.  I'm in South Florida.  You need A/C.
Then the window guy came back for a "Pick List" I am still waiting for him to finish.

Cooking calms me.  I tried doing what passes for work.  I tried hitting some entertaining websites.  I tried installing software on my server. 

After all that, the chocolate chips I bought at the Restaurant Wholesale store were too close to the crock pot when I made Barbecue Pork.  The closest side melted into a solid mass.  I needed to do something with that solid block of fused chocolate chips.

I needed to make a treat.

Let me tell you, this is some of the BEST fudge I have come across, and I have had some of the best that the New Jersey Shore has to offer.  I mean Ocean City, NJ has some great fudge, but it is also 1000 miles away as the crow flies.

Oh, and the trick with this fudge is it is no cooking needed.  Just a good microwave.

Four ingredients:

  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 Ounces)
  • 12 Ounces of Your Favorite Semi Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups of nut pieces.  I recommend Pecans.  I love Pecans in my recipes!
  • 3 Cups Mini Marshmallows. 
  • Optional - A little vanilla extract, or any other flavors you like!


  • Get a large microwave safe bowl to do this in.
  • Add 12 ounces of Your Favorite Chocolate.  It can be any flavor you like.  I used Semi Sweet Chocolate.
  • Add one can (14 ounces) of Sweetened Condensed Milk.
  • Place bowl in Microwave and Microwave on High for 60 seconds while watching to make sure it doesn't boil.
  • Stir the chocolate and milk mixture.  This is the basis for your chocolate fudge.  If you just want chocolate fudge, do not add anything more.
  • If the chocolate has not melted repeat microwaving on high for 30 seconds and stirring until the chocolate has completely melted and is silky smooth.
  • Fold in the Pecan pieces and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Fold in the Mini Marshmallows.  They should not melt.
  • Chill until set in a lined or greased container.  I used an 8 inch square (500 MM) Pyrex container and lined with plastic wrap that I lightly oiled.

Now, the bad news.  This stuff is rich.  But it's also chocolate.  I estimate the entire dish to be 4800 calories.  That means it serves 16 at 300 calories each piece.

But... CHOCOLATE!!!1!!  ROCKY!!! ROAD!!! FUDGE!!!11!!!

Holy Jumpin' Hannah, is this stuff GOOD!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wilton Manors Sunrise

The locals will know exactly where this is.

NE 7th Avenue, NE 20th Street.  Right at the entry to M.E. De Palma Park.

It seems that I pass by there rather a lot.  I also have a reason to take quite a few pictures there.

In this case, the park was still in darkness, but the sunrise was what was so beautiful.

Actually it reminded me of the beginning of Teletubbies.  The radiant baby face rising over the grassy knoll that becomes the smiling sun over the Teletubby Land.

Ok, maybe that comparison wasn't quite as far fetched as it sounds.  Wilton Manors as Teletubby Land.  I can see it on some level.

It was one of those rare mornings that I was sleeping in and not getting up at stupid o'clock.  Luckily that had me up at the right time to see the sun come up and smile over our happy and quirky little island.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Dog Crate Fit For A Man

When we got Rack, our McNab SuperDog (TM), we needed a place for him to call his own.

Some say that "Crate Training" a dog is wrong.  All sorts of negative words would follow.  The reality is that it is more like a Room For The Dog than a punishment.  They are "Den Animals".  Dogs actually like to find corners and semi-enclosed places to go so they can sleep, relax, and even hide.

It isn't always an indication of fear, it's more like a place to go where they can be "off duty".  The duty of being a dog in a human's pack can be a lot of work.

We had a crate for Lettie but shortly after she joined us, she decided it was for lesser creatures and she preferred to sleep in the room with me, next to where I was on the floor, at the side of the bed.  The crate was kept for emergencies and we eventually took it to the thrift after she passed on.

When we got Rack, we needed new.  Knowing that a McNab Dog is a "medium sized" dog, we knew that we'd want a large crate.  Give the dog plenty of room to grow.  The debate of wire or plastic happened, and we felt that a plastic crate would be quieter.  It would be safer since there are fewer places for paws to get stuck.

It joined us in the car on the way to get him and has been a fixture in our cramped little house ever since.  The trip back he spent in the crate in the back of the car and has always found his way back.

But we had joked about how this night stand sized table could fit a person.

Since I am tall, I just rejected the idea that a Full Grown Man Could Fit In That Dog Crate.

We debated that for a couple years until one day...

I want to move the crate.
We don't have any room, it's huge.
We've got plenty of room!
No room until construction is finished.

We've replaced all the windows in the house (except the one) and then the Air Conditioning failed.  Both projects are waiting completion and need inspection by the city or the county or which ever bureaucratic body is in charge of that sort of oddball nonsense in our quirky little island.  At least we will know that it was done "To Code" when that happens, whatever that means.

We can always put the thing in the Florida Room!
Sure, but we need to clear that out.  It's huge.

Here is where it got silly folks.  I was being told...

It's big, but not Huge!
It's huge.  That's where you "Hide The Bodies".  Not me, mind you, but a small child could go in there.
It's not that small, I could climb in there.

I laughed as I saw Kevin wedge his shoulders inside the door of the crate.   I have to do some serious twisting around to get into the thing to clean it, preferring to lift the top off and clean it from above.

Tall guy's priviledge.

It got weirder.  I watched Kevin haul his torso into that grey plastic box.

See!  I fit!

His nose was sticking through one of the air holes before he turned around and pulled his feet into Rack's crate.  Rack came over and sniffed around the commotion.  He sat down next to the crate, gave Kevin's nose a sniff and a lick, then looked at me to say "What's Next?".

If you don't come out of that crate, I'm going to close the door and lock you in.

Empty threat, the door is easy enough to open from either side as long as you have Opposable Thumbs.

Go ahead, close the door!

I did.  Snapped the latch closed.  At this point we were both laughing so hard that Rack began to back away and head off to do Dog Things, whatever they are.

Kevin leaned forward and unlatched the crate - from the inside, and climbed out.

Apparently I was wrong.  You can put a full grown, 5'11" man inside of a dog crate and he can get himself out.

Just not me.  I'm 6'4" and won't fit.

And I'm not trying!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Spider In The Sun

When you are walking along and see a spider that is about as large as your palm, you look.

Ok, you can stop looking at your hand now.  From tip of the leg to tip, it was that big, not the body.

What really caught my eye though wasn't that this creature was so large, but the web.   It looked like spun sugar glistening in the afternoon sunlight.

Spun sugar is one of those things that is fascinating to watch a chef make.  They create a form out of dowels or an upturned bowl.  They then make a sugar syrup that is super saturated and that would harden when at room temperature.  Then they get a quantity of the stuff and pour it slowly out and allow it to harden in mid air over the two dowels.

This video is worth watching just for the chef's glorious accent.

The end result is they get something resembling cloth or this spider's web.

The web itself was spun between two sets of trees about 12 feet apart.  Getting right in the right spot meant your eyes were treated to a shimmering display.

I walked over to the spider web, stopping someone who wanted to disturb the creature, and positioned myself.  As I am standing with camera in the air, arms angled in position, I hear: "Oooh A Banana Spider!"

Impossible to miss this one.  I think it was larger than one of those clown cars in the circus or at least larger than one of the toy cars I had when I was a kid.

The gnats weren't out yet, nor were the mosquitoes, but this spider was positioned to catch them for its evening meal.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time To Rebuild My Skates

I've done this before. 

I have skated 21,000 miles.  Elite Inline Fitness Skater.  I've taken a long break from the sport.  There's practically nobody doing it any more, except us "hard core" group who do it because we enjoy it.

That and your kids.

But it's not like it was back around 2000 when there were races and competitions and you would trip over people trying to get into a shop.

For a brief time I was even sponsored, although that could be stretching it a bit.   I had a relationship with a skate shop in Philadelphia who would give me some gear from time to time to try out and report back how it worked out.  Not too much, mind you.  T-Shirts, of course.  Water Bottles, but everyone had those.  Deep discounts on parts like wheels and bearings.  Some free bearings that I liked so much that I kept them clean, lubed, and used them for over a year and well into the second year.

A year then was 2000 miles plus.  My peak week was a week I took vacation to simply skate. 

204 Miles in 7 days.


I've introduced people to the sport.  Served as a coach and trainer for others.  Even got paid to train people which was a serious ego boost.  Enjoyed Skating more than just about any physical activity that you can do in public.  Had a resting heart rate of 42 BPM as a result.

But lately I've come back.  Skating in Florida is different.   There is no park here like the Schuylkill River Trail.  I've skated from the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Valley Forge and back a number of times.  That is 20 to 30 miles of "Black Ice".  Smooth asphalt complete with regular Water Stops.

There was one trip that I came around a bend in Valley Forge and spotted a Buck.  A Deer.  Pointy things on its head.  He spotted me and trotted beside me for about a half mile at my speed.  We looked back and forth at each other enjoying the workout and parted friends.

That sort of thing doesn't happen often, does it?

Here I find myself going to Pompano Airpark in Pompano Beach.  Meh.  Better than most, at least it is safe.  4.5 mile loop of table top flat asphalt with a water stop at start and middle.  Not exactly exciting but ... well it works.

After a while though, you find yourself thinking it's time to rework things.  The wheels get flat spotted.  In the 94 degree heat and direct sun, the polystyrene compound breaks down on the black pavement that you could cook an egg on.  Where I got 50 to 200 miles on the wheels in the cooler conditions of Philadelphia, I am lucky to get 10 out of them here.

Swap the wheels out, especially the all important rear wheel - the Push Wheel that wears out on your power stroke faster than all the rest. 

Look at the bearings.  Wipe off the dust and road grit.  Hold the center spindle in your fingers carefully and see if they spin free.

Nope.  I thought so.  I was out with my dog Rack skating around the neighborhood the other day and thought I was being held back by the bearings.  Takes too much effort to move forward, may as well skate with a parachute.

Take a pin to flick the C Spring clip out.  Then spin the shield around that looks like an aluminum pancake with a hole in the middle and pop it out of the bearing.  Flip the bearing and repeat.  Spin the bearing and see if it is free spinning.  Drop it in a plastic container for later.

Repeat for each wheel.  10 wheels for the racing skates.  8 wheels for the cruising skates.  Two bearings per wheel plus a speed kit in the middle to hold it all together.  36 bearings, 72 O Rings and C Clips.

Do a few extra in case there will be a problem.  Throw out all the sealed bearings because they can't be rebuilt.  It all comes out in the wash.

The Wash is when you pour Citrus Degreaser on all bearings and shake vigorously for about a minute.  The degreaser goes from a pale orange to black.  All those miles melt into the bottom of the plastic cup.

Triple rinse the bearings in water to loosen more grease, grit, and degreaser.  Bang them out on a paper towel to par-dry so they don't rust.

Then take them to the hair dryer that everyone has hidden in the back of the cabinets.  Don't have one?  Stop off at the thrift store and get one for this purpose.  It has to have a metal mesh on the air outlet.  The mesh has to be flat.  Put as many bearings on the mesh as fit.  Turn it on full blast and get the bearings as hot as you can.  That will boil off the last of the water.

Repeat for 36 bearings.

Reassemble the bearings.   One shield, one C Clip.


Lay it out on a paper towel and drop 3 drops of Tri-Flex Teflon Lube on the bearing. 

Repeat for 36 bearings.

Put the other shield and C Clip back on.  Spin to test. 

Ahhh, silky smooth!

Each wheel gets one bearing per side, and a speed kit.

Slide the wheels in the skate "truck" that holds them to the boot.

Now, you are good.  Another 200 miles per bearing rebuild if the conditions are average.  If you can hear them get loud, rebuild them. 

Two and a half hours of rebuilding, snapping, lubing, and reconstruction.  They're not doing this sort of thing any more.  Want to know why? 

Skating is still fun.  Even in 94 degree 75% humidity Florida heat.

Gliding over Black Ice at up to 15 MPH.  4 Minute Miles.  Slower when the wind comes in off the ocean.

That makes that afternoon well spent.  The knowledge that I will be able to go out and have the park practically to myself flying free in the sun.

Feel like a workout?  I'll slow down for you.  I'll even give you some tips.  There was this time where I was at mile 20 when I burned through all my breakfast and needed a rest and there was the most beautiful sunrise over the city of Philadelphia.

You'll be surprised what you will see on 8 wheels.  10 wheels if you're lucky.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Man Died At The Local Coffee Shop

A man died at my local coffee shop this past year of a heart attack before the paramedics could arrive.

Strange things were reported by employees shortly after.

Weird noises were heard from the back room.

Staff working later shifts would complain of items falling off of shelves, cabinets opening and closing, and even seeing shadowy apparitions.

Worst of all since his death, customers reported the coffee having an odd taste.

Trying to fix the taste of the coffee, the management thoroughly washed all of the equipment.

When that didn't help they replaced all of the coffee makers.

Still the problem with the coffee's taste was not resolved.

It's believed that the grounds are still haunted to this day.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Philosophy of a Glass Of Water

  • Optimism: The glass is half full.
  • Pessimism: The glass is half empty.
  • Realism: The glass is filled halfway with water, halfway with air.
  • Skepticism: Does the water even really exist, anyway? And what about the glass?
  • Nihilism: It's neither one nor the other. I mean, what difference does it make, anyway?
  • Existentialism: The water must decide for itself whether it fills or empties the glass halfway. It exists before its viscosity does.
  • Solipsism: The water is really the only entity that truly exists - the glass that surrounds it is but a projection of its consciousness.
  • Fatalism: Whether the glass is half full or half empty, there is nothing we can do about it.
  • Theism: Someone put the water in the glass.
  • Atheism: The water is in the glass as a result of a series of naturally occurring causal events.
  • Deism: Someone put the water in the glass, but does not care what happens to it.
  • Polytheism / Paganism: The water and the glass emerge from Chaos and are represented by a respective personification.
  • Agnosticism: It is not known how the water got there or if the glass is half full or half empty.
  • Non-cognitivism: the question cannot be answered until we properly define the terms "glass" and "water".
  • Behaviorism: To properly answer the question, it is imperative that we observe how the water behaves.
  • Consequentialism: To see if the glass is half full or half empty, it is necessary to use a system defined by the implications of our actions.
  • Positivism: We can only know the truth by tasting the water.
  • Impressionism: The details are not important. What counts is the general atmosphere of the glass of water, and that it is painted outdoors.
  • Expressionism: We must represent the glass of water in a strictly subjective manner.
  • Symbolism: Dreams, imagination and spirituality are what favor an accurate representation of the glass of water.
  • Dadaism: Where were the avocado sandwiches during the Second World War?? Garage door, albatross!
  • Cubism: We must represent the glass of water from a multitude of viewpoints.
  • Postmodernism: The ontology veritably promulgated through the epistemological reality of the individual suffering from the Kierkegaardian concept of "Angst" indubitably demonstrates the truth as per experienced by the water perched almost precariously in its nondescript receptacle.
  • Astigmatism: We'll never know whether the glass is half full or half empty so as long as we don't put on our glasses.
  • Advaita Vedanta: The water and glass are one and the same.
  • Asceticism: One must separate oneself from the material world to uncover the truth. The water and the glass always give a temporary and illusory happiness.
  • Scholasticism: The school of thought that combined what the Church Fathers believed about the glass of water and the Platonic and Aristotelian frameworks regarding glasses of water.
  • Catholicism: The water turns substantially, though not materially, into blood, via the process of transubstantiation.
  • Anglicanism: We demand the right to separate the glass from the water.
  • Reformism: We believe that our previous authorities have become corrupted. They teach that the glass is half full, which is contrary to what our Lord taught! In addition, they practice simony, selling water in exchange for land!
  • Relativism: Whether one believes that the glass is half full or half empty, everybody is correct, even when two beliefs contradict each other.
  • Antinatalism: It is immoral to pour water into the glass.
  • Extremism: The glass is either completely empty or completely full.
  • Capitalism: It is the one who fills the glass who can drink from it.
  • Communism: Everyone in society is entitled to an equal portion of the water. Glory to Mother Russia.
  • Fascism: The power of glass of water is in the union of its individuals.
  • Anarchism: No one has the authority to force his neighbor to decide whether the glass is half full or half empty.
  • Non-conformity: If the system wants us to believe the glass is half full, we will insist that it is half empty, or vice versa.
  • Liberalism: The water has the right to practice any activity that does not interfere with the glass's freedom, and vice versa.
  • Epicureanism: All that matters is whether the glass of water will make me happy.
  • Rationalism: Bibo ergo sum.
  • Dogmatism: Whether the glass is half full or half empty, the answer is already given to us.
  • Utilitarianism: The water must satisfy the thirst of the greatest possible amount of people.
  • Kantianism: The way we observe the glass is not necessarily equivalent to how the glass truly is.
  • Feminism: It is important to eliminate the patriarchy, which poisons the water, by bringing society to a balance, thus allowing the water to quench the thirst of everyone, regardless of gender.
  • Humanism: The water should quench the thirst of humans above all.
  • Pacifism: It is important to question the state of the water in the glass without ever resorting to violence, no matter the circumstance.
  • Monism: The glass and the water are made of the same substance.
  • Dualism: The glass and the water are made of two different substances. It is not clear how the two interact.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Meal Fit For A Monarch

I had to take Rack out back.  If I didn't I'd probably get dragged there by him, to the door.

Breakfast was done, it's our way.  We go out back, do a perimeter search and poke around.  It gives me a chance to fret over my gardens.

My normal limit for working with the garden is dependent on my flock.  Flock of Mosquitoes, that is.  If they follow me around, I usually blow off staying in one place for very long. 

This was a morning where the winds were calm so I was very mobile.

I have a spot in the back of the yard where the hedges have stopped growing.  The Night Blooming Jasmine that was so perfect when we moved in here 9 years ago is now looking rather scruffy and there are holes in it where parts of the plant had died back.  One of the plants is pretty much gone.

Going into the shed and retrieving the clippers, there was work to be done.  

Before going back to the corner, I was going to trim back some of the Mexican Milkweed in the last pot on the irrigation chain.  That particular pot has one, and only one plant in it.  I can't get anything else to grow in it, and I can't even get a second milkweed seed to root in it.  Passive aggressive pot.

But there it is.  It goes through cycles.  Once the flowers come out, it gets discovered by the Monarch Butterflies that shuttle from here to the M.E. DePalma park.  I get to see them often, and any day I don't see at least one Monarch, it's a bit strange to me.

Of course it's shredded.  The plant, if you could be generous enough to call it that, is mostly sticks with a few leaves.  One Monarch to Rule Them All was on it.  It isn't that there weren't multiple eggs, it is that the plant never gets large enough for more than one Monarch to grow past the size of a thick hair.

Darwin would be proud of this battle of the fittest, because that is all that ever make it past Caterpillar stage.

There it was dutifully eating away the last few leaves that were on the plant.  The next day the leaves, and the Caterpillar, would be gone.  I prefer to think it found a place to turn itself into a Jade Green Jewel of a chrysalis, but who knows.

I vowed to take the seeds out there and try to start another plant, but I doubt it will succeed.  Each time they get past a few inches, something comes along and eats it.  That would be why I put the stuff there in the first place, food for Monarchs.  If they don't let it grow, well, that's their choice.

At least this one had its chance. 

Maybe in that back corner.  The Jasmine doesn't seem to like it, and that will be gone back there as soon as I get working on it.  It was one trash can full of dead limbs this time alone.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

But... You Have Food! The Dog, The Moose, and The Pretzels.

I'm a soft touch.  I'll admit it.  But it shows someone is coming out of his shell, at least where food is concerned.

That someone is my own little furry puzzle.   Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM).

His PTSD from the dark days when he was a puppy are slowly fading.  As best as we could figure, some moron decided that a McNab should make for a good hunting dog.

If you need to hunt to put food on the table, do it by yourself.

If you need to hunt to prove your manhood, I have a suggestion that involves surgery originally popularized in Denmark.

Much simpler than putting that nonsense on a dog.

Rack still doesn't eat well on his own.  Some day he may allow himself to be the beta-dog in the pack.  For now, he only eats when I nag him to.  I have to nag him because his food has to be wet due to a missing pre-molar.  Wet food goes bad fairly quickly when the house is kept at 78 during the day if someone is home.

80F if nobody is.

Tapping on the bowl to insist that he pays attention to it may or may not work, and mornings are easier to get him to eat because this all happens before the sun is up, sometimes by as much as two hours.

I did say that I am an early riser.

There are exceptions to the rule.

Pork and Pretzels.

You see, I've gotten quite good at making Barbecue Pork in the crock pot.  Cook on low until the interior temperature is 140F.  It takes about 3 1/2 hours.  One cup of sauce to 3 pounds of Pork Loin.  Since Pork is currently $1.89 a pound, it means we have a lot of it here.

That recipe works with chicken and beef at 165F, as well as vegetarian alternatives although they are a bit more forgiving with temperature.

Rack will actually get within an inch of the plate while I am eating.  Pretty bold for someone who doesn't like his own food and considers himself at the Back of the Pack!

If he doesn't eat his food by the time I finish mine, he doesn't get any.  He's starting to realize the pattern and is actually beginning to eat his dinner.   One mouthful at a time, he will shuttle between his bowl and my table.  Nose sniffing the air, just under my elbow.  Then back to the bowl.

At least I'm not having to hand feed him any more.  He was THAT shut down.

But after dinner and dog walk, we have a routine.  Bad sitcoms from times gone by in the last century, mostly.  I'm in the big green chair.  Rack's got his mat by the chair and the little "dead area" by the wall.  He tends to ignore the mat, wadding it up into a pillow. 

I guess 78 is a little warm if you're wearing a full length black fur coat when you're a dog.

The tiles are much cooler than that mat.

Eventually, after dessert doesn't fully kick in, I get up and have a small cheat.   Lately it's been plain unsalted pretzels, but it can be anything.

Twin Brown Laser Beamed Eyes.  You can practically hear the relays click into place.

"No, Rack, Not for dogs!". 

It doesn't work.  He knows it's for dogs.  He continues.

I go back to watching Arnold the Pig snort around Hooterville.

I won't give him any if he gets too pushy and so far that works.  I'm working my way through the small handful of pretzels.  If I have to use a bowl, then my own "Trainer" discipline kicks in and I start obsessively counting calories.  After all, this is "Snack" after "Dessert".

Yeah, I'm a soft touch for myself too.

The handful of pretzels are dwindling.  Rack's interest hasn't waned.  He's walked to the other side of me and is trying to stare me down.

"No, Rack.  Sorry!".

He doesn't believe me.  Don't lie to your dog.  It doesn't work.  You always let yourself in for a disappointment if you do.

Two pretzels left.  Rack is down in the corner again.  One ear erect, the other one cocked over at the top.  He's calmed down but one eye is still open and watching me.

I put the first one into my mouth and look down at him.  He immediately perks and looks back.

I hear from the peanut gallery "You know you're going to, just give it to him!".

I do.  He takes it gently from my hand as if I am handing him the greatest gift in the world.  One small, bite sized, unsalted, store-brand, pretzel.

CrunchCrunchCrunch and it's all over.

Until tomorrow night.  We've got three bags of the things sitting around in the cupboard.

I'm thinking maybe Nachos.  We did get some tortilla chips at the market too!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Windows 10? Not Yet.

I've been holding off on this one.  The computers I have run adequately fast on what ever operating systems I use to get my own personal and professional work done.  It is a mix of Windows 8.1 and Debian Linux - primarily Linux by proportion of use.

I've been told that I need to adjust my "Tinfoil Hat", that I'm overreacting.

No, I haven't drunk the Kool Aid and I don't have to.

Here's the deal.  A month or so ago, people were given the option to download a copy and install a "Free upgrade to Windows 10 Home".

Microsoft doesn't give anything away for free.  There's always a hook, even if you have to look deeply for it.

In the case of Windows, it's best if you remember that "If you aren't the customer, you are the product".  I am directly quoting one of my friends who is one of the biggest critics of Android.

I have no doubt that Android is a case of Google simply watching everything you do, and using it to build a profile of you, personally.  It may be to serve advertising.  It may be for future use.  It may be for a friendly or not so friendly government.

Android costs money to make.  Those people have to be paid.  They're doing it by selling that information to a shadowy "someone" who could be as "innocent" as an advertiser. 

I hate ads.  Did I say that?  I have never clicked on an ad in all the years that I have been using computers intentionally.  Have you?  I doubt it.

Anyway, that free version of Windows 10 Home is exactly the same thing.  Every time you do something, you're being watched.  Even on the Pro version of Windows 10 you have to go in and turn that garbage off.

Thanks, I'll pass.  Windows 8.1 has a bit of life left in it.

It might surprise you to hear that if you read this blog at any depth.  I use Windows 8.1 Pro with a program called Classic Shell to give me back a Windows 7 look and feel.  Any time I have to go back into that ugly block land called "Metro" or Modern Interface, I'm jarred with just how hideous and inefficient it is. 

But I'll stay right here.  I don't use any Modern programs and for that matter, everything I use on Windows is Free or Open Source.  The GPL License seal of approval.

You can tame the evil kitten called Windows 10 Home but then you have to do without the Microsoft Store. 

Just one example of one issue of many that I have with Windows 10 Home.  It has been shown that your personal typing style is distinct enough to track your self to your specific computer.  Microsoft wants you to help it improve its typing recognition.

Per Lifehacker:

Send Microsoft info about how I write: This feature improves text completion suggestions when you handwrite or type (presumably on the touch keyboard, though it doesn’t say. That’s very broad, and we’ll talk about it more in a bit. I recommend turning this off.

If you want to play Solitaire because you got hooked back on Windows 3.1, you can do so with ads.  Same thing with Freecell. 

There is an advertising ID number that basically stays with you.  If you didn't like the idea of an advertising company tracking your every move, why would you want Microsoft to do so?

Actually, you can find it on your old Windows 7 machine, copy it across, and I'm told it works.  I don't know first hand since I've got too much to do than to play Solitaire on a computer.  That's the kind of thing I'd do on Hold with a Client, and I don't stay on hold long if I'm there.
So to those of you who don't like the prospect of being watched, you can pay the $100 or so and upgrade to Windows 10 Pro and then look into locking it down.

For me, I'm staying put.  The other machines I have are happily on Debian Linux.  I know Linux well enough to make it do what I need it to.  No ads, No spyware, and it's all free, including Freecell.

One of those rare cases where you don't have to worry about evil software getting involved on your computer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunrise at The Shoppes

Getting up at Stupid O'Clock has it's own set of ups and downs.

You get to see your own town at a completely different light, completely different circumstances.

Those flowers that look so cheery in the sunlight fade to darkness in the orange glow of the street lamps.

The people creeping along in their cars could be anything.  Newspaper Deliveries are the most likely here.  The usual route of the police cruiser patrolling the area. Don't forget to wave hi, they know you anyway.  The leftover "vampires" from the night before.  Creatures of the night.  You never really know.

Fast forward to just before sunrise.  More people are up.  The city begins to sputter to life. 

People are getting in their cars to begin the morning commute.  The bakery has put out the morning cookies, cakes, and other baked goods for you to break your fast on.  Some of the shops are even opening and the overnight cleanup has just about finished.

It's a more pleasant and decidedly less creepy time of the day.  While I'm up at 5AM as habit, I have to say this one particular morning that I managed to sleep in was a rather beautiful one.

I saw my neighbor and her dog.  A big husky dog yodeled his "WoooooWooo!" at me as he got shushed.  The old dog barks because he can.  I find out that my neighbor and her husband are moving away as he found his life taking him to a city up the coast.  We will miss them, they were very nice people.

But as we were getting caught up on our lives and their divergent paths, she stopped me and gushed about the sunrise.  We both stood in front of my house, looking down the street toward the ocean, two miles away.  The sun hadn't quite come up over the tree line, but the back lit and under lit thunderstorms that march their way North up the coast every morning looked dramatically beautiful as they lumbered past.

"You have got to see the view of the sunrise from The Drive!". 

As it was, it looked like someone stuffed some cotton candy in the skies.   But she was right.  My bubbly friend told me to go up to The Shoppes on Wilton Drive and watch from there.

It was still a few minutes to Sunrise.  I made it there at the right time for a change.

Standing in the expanse of the littered tarmac, I turned East, toward the sun and still didn't see it.

It turns out I was at just the right spot.  The light perked through the trees and came up over the Italian American Club's roof.  In a gap between two trees there was a jewel, the sun.

Lighting the clouds up from the bottom, it turned them into gold. 

Just a bright start to the day for a change.  No vampires or creatures of the night.  I will be missing my friends, but I did thank her for the time we had together and the reminder of the show.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mint In Bloom - Or How To Survive Boiled Water

I remember taking a trip to Tijuana Mexico with a good friend, Tim, once.

After hearing horror stories about never drinking the water in Mexico for years, I went all weird and paranoid.  I have no idea whether the Agua Potable was really Potable but I didn't take a chance.

After driving down from Los Angeles in his Blazer, parking in a rather pretty neighborhood and walking to the downtown area, I needed something to drink.  Eventually I did what every traveler does, I found a bottle of soda and stopped fretting.

Finishing the bottle, my friend told me that the water was fine here in "TJ" and I shouldn't worry.  Then he drank a sip from a fountain in the Woolworths.

I think it was a Woolworths.  At least.

We both survived.

Just like I survived the boil water order.  Actually everyone was hammering me about not drinking the water despite the fact that we double filter the water that comes out of the refrigerator, blah blah blah.

But it gets boring drinking boiled water and so forth.

When I walked outside that morning for a romp with Mr Dog, Rack the Mc Nab SuperDog (TM), I spotted my crop of Mint.  The stuff is spilling over the pot and trying to attach itself to the garden where it will grow Borg Like and assimilate the yard, the island and all of South Florida.  For now, I keep it "reasonable" by growing it in one pot only and cutting great fist fulls of the stuff and boiling the heck out of it.

Hence the Boil Water angle. 

Oh sure, I could make mountains of Mojitos, Glaciers of Gelato, and Bazillions of Baked Goods, but I chose not to.

One goodly sized container of Mint Iced Tea, thank you very much.

But I noticed, the little thing had a flower on it.  It's getting ready to attack.  Actually, if my Botany serves me well, that's not strictly a Flower but an Inflorescence.  Assuming the inflorescence is only one seed per tiny blossom, it will put out a bazillion of seeds per head.

Oh sure, my garden will be a carpet of mint, but it will smell great.  Want something different?  Come on out back with an oil drum worth of boiling water.  Sure, it will look like we're storming the castle, but that will be what we need when the Mint Overlord takes over and swallows up my 2 bedroom 1 bath house here on my quirky little island.  The neighborhood will be carpeted by a pleasant scent of spearmint while people are swallowed up and little dogs no longer yap because the mint has grown over them. 

Dining on a carpet of mint to keep the windows clear means that you will no longer need scented soaps and deodorant as the natural oils will leech out of your skin and you slowly turn green due to the chlorophyll that keeps you healthy and minty fresh.

Or I could just go out there with the scissors and snip!

Someone check in in a couple days.  If I'm missing, blame the mint.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Story Of The Spoon

A family is eating in a restaurant and as the waiter is refilling their drinks the dad drops his iced tea spoon.

Not missing a beat the waiter puts a spoon back in his glass.

Curious, he asks "how did you know I was going to drop it?"
"I didn't. Studies show that the most dropped utensil is the spoon and when waiters have an extra one handy, we're faster and more productive."

"That makes sense but now I'm curious about that red yarn hanging out of your zipper." The dad says puzzled,

"well" the waiter replies "it's tied to, you know, and when I have to go to the restroom this saves me time because I don't have to wash my hands."

 The dad thinks about this and says "That makes sense too but how do you get it back it?"

to which the waiter says "I don't know about everyone else, but I use my spoon."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

I Was Having Trouble With My Computer I called a neighbor, Joseph, to help.
Joseph clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

As he was walking away, I called after him, "So, what was wrong?"
He replied, "It was an ID ten T error."

I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, "An ID Ten T error?
What's that? In case I need to fix it again." Joseph grinned, "Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?"
"No", I replied.

"Write it down," he said, "and I think you'll figure it out."
So I wrote down: I D 1 0 T

Joseph and I are no longer friends.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Rack Hates It When I Sleep In

Every so often you just get a little tired.  You think to yourself, boy it would be great to sleep in a little tomorrow morning.

The schedule allows it, so why not, right?

Not so fast, sunshine.

See, I'm used to getting up at 5AM.  I'm not sure why, most likely it's because I was getting up in Philly to get to Fairmount Park on the weekends to train on my inline skates in summer.  It would get me to the park by sunrise, maybe a little before, and I could get in the workout before the charity walks would start. 

Charity Walks plus "regular park use" do not mesh well.  I gave up on that at one point and went out to the Schuylkill River Trail starting at the City Line and skating past Valley Forge to Oaks at the Perkiomen River Bridge. 

Even now, I'm up earlier than I really have to because it's "normal". 

As we all know, Normal is just a setting on a dryer.

This particular morning I slept in.  6:30.  Oooh, such a slacker!  Up only 30 minutes before Sunrise!

The result is that things just got pushed later, including breakfast.

Rack doesn't like that.  You see, herding dogs are creatures of habit.  Even more than I am, Rack does things in specific orders at specific times.  By 9AM, he's sitting in his crate becoming one with it until pretty much Dinner Hour.

If you ever wondered what your dogs do while you're gone, it's probably very little with a few exceptions.  People at the door and the UPS truck.  Both of them make my boy Rack grow a pair and let loose a tirade of barking that sounds like a cross between a Yodeling contest and a Machine Gun.

Fearful Dogs can bark too.  Yodeling barks usually mean fear.

A bit late, I wandered into the kitchen and started making breakfast and the second mug of coffee.   I'm beginning to master the art of standing in one place and reaching over the dog to get things done.  I am joined in there by 45 pounds of mostly black fur and two twin brown laser beams staring me down.

Why?  Yogurt.  He loves my yogurt to the point where it effects how much he will eat of his regular food.  I know that because when I stopped feeding him yogurt, two things immediately happened.  He began to eat more, and got more insistent in wanting yogurt.

Candy for dogs is bad, yogurt good.  Go fig!  Moderation in everything is best, little guy.

The kettle begins to scream for attention.  Looking down I see Rack less than a foot from my foot.  I step over him, get the kettle and pour the hot water into the French Press.  Give it a stir and I'm able to finish breakfast.

Until I open that 2 quart Mason jar of plain yogurt that finished brewing the other day.  He's up begging.  Playing it cool, I ignore him until there's only a tablespoon left in the bottom of the bowl.  Of course I had to make sure that all the Mango was gone from the bottom.  He hates Mango.  I must have the only dog in the world that does.

I'm back at fussing over the coffee and cleaning up the morning spills.   I hear padding feet back and forth pacing furiously.

It's his way of saying Damnit Let's Go! 

I get the rest of the things done, turn around away from the sink and I notice that my left side is smoking.  Smouldering from the twin brown laser beams vying for attention.  Intensity, thy name is Rack.

I say one word only.  "What?".

He gets up and trots to the back door.   "OK, let me get my coffee" I say as I see the tip of the tail wagging in the distance in response.

Open the door.  Two steps forward and he freezes.  There was a trash truck over at the businesses a block

"Oh fer!  Come on Rack, come on out."  He doesn't really go very far.  I had to do a perimeter search anyway.   Getting to the far side of the property, Rack is still sitting at the door.

"Come on over here, boy!".  Head down, he comes around the pool and visits.  The truck had moved on and we are all clear except the FEC train going North out of Miami blowing its whistle to get people off the tracks a mile or so away.  That never bothered him before.

I ask him to Show Me and he trots back to the house.  I give up.

You see, what it is is that at 5AM it's a very different world out there, no matter where you are.  The world is still asleep.  It's quiet and restful.  Cotton candy clouds and stars like jewels sparkling in the skies and precious little else.  That's what a fearful dog needs.  Just a little bit of excitement.  Too much is like putting too much pepper in the soup - it won't be right.

Oh well, life moves on and adapts, little pup, and you're getting stronger too.  Some day, little guy, you'll be fine.  Until then you will just have to come to me when that big bad trash truck scares you. 

Ok, lets go back inside.  I think there's some yogurt left in the bowl.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

33 Year Old Air Conditioning Compressors Do Happen

I'm amazed it made it this long. 

Some idiot installed it wrong.  One of the sides was "too close" to the house.  There was a concrete block wall within a foot of the one side and you could never get to it. 

Fins on the compressors are what do the actual work of moving the heat from the hot side of the air compressor to the air that gets pulled through by the fan.  If you can't keep them clear of dirt, the whole thing gets much less efficient.

33 years is a long way to go without being maintained.

That was one of two sides that got blocked.   There was a small section of wooden security fence next to the second side.  A whole two feet away this time.

Roughly, of course.

It basically means that we ended up paying more to keep the Box of Rocks that is this house cooler.

The new one wasn't put so close to the house or the fence, and the small section of fence needs to get removed anyway.

We knew it was getting tired anyway.  The fan would kick on and the bearings would grumble.  You could hear it inside the house one or two rooms away.

More amazing was that it kept going, rust and all.

The new one has four sides full of compressor fins and promises a much higher efficiency, 16 SEER if that means anything to you.  I had to look that mess up.  You want more SEERs than fewer.  14 is the minimum in the South of the US, More is better.

Mind you, my inner tinkerer was running wild.  Copper tubing to make radio antennas.  The fan that was dying would make a great fan for the back porch.  It would be fun to push the mosquitoes over into the next yard for a change.

I mean, we can't use the pool without a fan pointed at it some nights.  Oh No!  You moved out of the fan and now the mosquitoes carried you off! 

But I was warned.  "You don't want that stuff!  You don't have the room!".

Spoil sport.  A tinkerer can dream, can't he?

Oh and that new compressor?  Cools the house off a degree each 30 minutes when the temperature is 90 outside, and it actually seems to be keeping up with the heat.  That old compressor would struggle and then fail to cool the house.  In the hottest days of the year when it would get to 96, but never hotter if we had a sea breeze, the compressor would run constantly until dusk.

That Box of Rocks that I live in gets warm and stays warm.

Bye Bye Compressor, there's a new kid in town!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Old Florida Heater

According to the almanac, which ever one it was that I saw it in, we do get a "winter".

It is all of two weeks long.

Or as a good friend of mine is fond of saying:  We do get all of the seasons here, just not the ones that stink.

Change that last word to something maybe a little more harsh for accuracy.  Four letters, still starts with an S.

Yeah, that one.

But it is two weeks long.

My own Cherry Hill, NJ would descend into Fall somewhere around mid October, Freezing temperatures in December, but sometimes not until New Years.

Give or take a bit.

It would warm up to spring in late April, and by June we were in the mid to upper 80s.

If Memory Serves Me Right.

With Global Warming, that may be shorter, you'll have to ask someone who stayed behind.

Yes, there is Global Warming, No, being a Republican does not excuse you from that.

The weather up there gave me a lot of time to be indoors.  After all, you didn't really want to be out in all that cold slop did you?

We had a house with a gas heater.  It was about as tall as a full grown man, so to my childhood size, it was big.  There were six large burners in it that ran front to back, and were about three feet long.  Just shy of a meter.

When it kicked off, it would FWOOMPF! and light up solid from the back to front.  There was a port hole that fascinated me as a kid because Bright! and Hot!, Daddy! 

To me a heater should be that big.  Especially something meant to heat up a split level home.  Those houses weren't all that efficient to heat or cool.

But down here I hear rumors of some hearty souls that brave our long two week long Winters and month long Spring and Autumn, yes, you guessed it, Without A Heater!

Hey, it gets all the way down to 34 here!

When they replaced our heating and cooling the other day, I took the chance to take some pictures.  The pictures came only when I looked in and was surprised just how little things were.

That picture is actually my entire heater. 


It's about six inches square.  Look at the palm of your hand and spread your fingers as wide as you can get them.  About that big.

That's all.  Two layers of "resistance heating". 

I think I have had floor heaters that were larger.  You know, those things that women would stash under their desks in office buildings because they have already put on three sweaters and it's cold in there will youturnupTHAT DAMN HEAT!

Those women.  Five minutes later and they're complaining it's too hot.

But here, that dinky little six inch square of wires?  That's it.  That heats my house.  1200 square feet, a whole 110 square meters.  Two bedrooms, 1 bath. 

I was fascinated by it like a Great Dane would be with a Kitten.

A KITTEN!????  Awwwww!

Yes, a heater, er a kitten.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Goodbye Old A/C

Have you ever had one of those lifetimes?

The roof, the windows, and now the Air Conditioning?

Seriously, lets take a breather.

After the windows got removed from the house, and yes I mean all of them, we thought we could rest.  There is still one window from the old set to be done, there is still caulking and patching to be done, and the sills are not yet in place, but for the most part we're there.

Just not inspected.

Then, wandering out to the laundry one day, I spotted something.

A Puddle.

Under the air handling unit there is a box.  The water was dribbling out from the air handling unit and ponding under the box.  I have since learned that ugly plywood boxes are the way of doing things here, and that kind of makes sense since the stuff is common and easy to work with.

They just don't like getting wet.

The Air Conditioning in this house was installed some time around 1982, give or take a bit.  The air handling unit "gave out" about two years ago and the insides were replaced.  We were warned it wouldn't "Hold Water" much longer, so I guess Two Years is Much Longer.

The thing basically rusted out. 

I guess you simply can't get every last bit of the water out of the air when you live in a climate where clothes can get wetter by removing them from the clothes dryer.

The Air Handling unit basically has a collection bin that feeds into a plastic water pipe that drops down and out of the wall of the house to the carport.  It's routed out into the garden and creates a little puddle where it waters the orange tree with the water that we "made" in cooking, cleaning, and showering.

Now it will be a new air handling unit, compressor, and thermostat.  Maybe some duct work. 

All because you really can't live in a climate like this without it.   Air Conditioning is what made South Florida inhabitable.  Sure, they drained the swamps - which was not completely the best idea in the world, but the population didn't boom until Air Conditioning became reasonably priced.

Proof of that is walk around any given neighborhood from Key West to Jupiter, Florida at the dinner hour and listen.   You will hear compressors.  It is never silent.

Except my house, today.  No compressors.  Just construction.

Monday, August 10, 2015

My First Boil Water Order

I'm pretty stoic about some things.  I tend to overprepare, but that is what you'd expect from someone with my career history and path.   Plan things out as far in advance as you can see and you will be fine.

So this particular morning when I woke up, I was surprised to hear everyone panic.  I mean You Do Prepare Don't You?

In reality, a Boil Water Order can be a pretty important thing to worry about, if you haven't planned.

My Freezer had a full tray of ice, and I know that would last me a solid week.  I slid the switch on the Ice Machine to Off.

I heard about it very early in the morning so Coffee and Tea were safe.  I simply poured off all the extra water in the kettle to a pitcher and refrigerated it.  There's extra Mint Tea made, since I had to boil the water anyway.

Mind you, the dog waters the Mint too so I never have that "right out of the garden" without really washing it well.  If you think your produce hadn't been watered by wildlife, a dog, or even a person, you are most certainly fooling yourself.

The Dog?  I'm not worried.  I see how he says hello to other dogs, and he cleans himself doesn't he?  He'll be fine.

Then I got to thinking.  Has this ever happened before?

Probably.  In the day of Social Media, we hear everything seconds after it happens.  Think back to things that you saw just last week online that you might never have heard about.  Anniversaries of a fire that happened back in the 1970s in Cherry Hill NJ when the Garden State Park burned to a twisted wreckage.  That was the first time I heard about it in years, but it came instantaneously.

The reality is that if you go back to pre-social media days, a Boil Water order would come out and you would hear about it hours or even days later if you happened to miss the "Six O'Clock News".

That just meant you were drinking tainted water for an extra couple days.

In this case my Boil Water Order was caused by e coli coming into the pumping station.

E Coli?  I can remember swimming in the Delaware River south of Stroudsburg PA at the Water Gap more than once.  Maurice River in the Pine Barrens in NJ.  Atsion Lake in the Pines too.  I'm sure there was some e coli in that.

Drank Well Water?  Directly from the source?  Yeah, me too.  I doubt people on well water boil that every day.

The Pioneers certainly didn't and they used to poo right into the creeks.

My own irrigation well?  I wouldn't drink from that, but I have gotten blasted full strength in the eye and in the mouth more than once. 

That gator is definitely not smiling.  It's thinking "You Look Tasty"!

Mind you, I wouldn't swim in a river or a lake here in South Florida.  The gators would have you for lunch.  Definitely not safe whether there is e coli or not.

So it boiled down to "In Me or On Me".

In Me gets boiled.
On Me I take my chances.   After all the water is still getting treated.

My coffee and tea are safe, as are the drinks I make from them.
Iced tea from a mix?  I'll use that extra pre-boiled water.

When I got finished with the morning routine, I made some rather nice Rye Bread Rolls from the Wonder Bread Clone Recipe I found a while back.  Just substituted Rye flour for Semolina and it turned out fine.   The water was from a case of bottled water we had bought for Hurricane Season.

We made some bow tie noodles later on.  Water was from the tap, but it got boiled for a good 10 minutes anyway. 

The rule is bring the water to a full boil and hold it there for 1 minutes and you are safe.

After all, burgers are considered safe if cooked to an internal temperature of 165 and allowed to rest for 3 minutes.  "Muscle" meat is typically 140F or warmer for at least 3 minutes, internally.

Then I got a little paranoid and rethought things.  If I rinse and reuse a plate what happens?  That's technically "In Me", I set it in the still hot oven.  That should make sure it's sterilized.

That brought me to thinking about the dishes in general.   Baking fills the dishwasher.  Run it or not?  We decided that since the water is heated close to boiling, and the soap is basically Lye, then the air-dry cycle afterwords fills the house with steam.  I'm good.

We just don't hand wash anymore anyway.

Showers?  "On Me".  Lather Rinse and Repeat.  Just don't drink the water.

Toothbrushes.  Use bottled water, or rinse it out with a little Hydrogen Peroxide or Vodka afterwords.

Vodka?  In times of trouble, field hospitals use Vodka to sterilize instruments.  The Russians, where autoclaves are not available,  used Vodka to sterilize their instruments.  They also used it to sterilize wounds.

I just hope we don't come to that. 

Don't use rubbing alcohol on anything that goes "In Me" because it is poisonous.  Vodka is safer.

So basically it's a week of annoyance here.  It will take a while for the pipes to get flushed, and Fort Lauderdale was planning on flushing their system with Chlorine to make things cleaner this week, anyway.

Now if they could do something about their speeders coming through town.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

God Will Save Me

A man is living in a house when a dam breaks and a violent flash flood happens and hits his whole neighborhood. The water begins rising higher and higher every moment.

He's standing outside knee deep in water when some people on a canoe show up, they say to him "Hurry, get onto our canoe and we'll save you!"

 The man shakes his head and says, "There is no need. God will save me." The people in the canoe shrug off and continue paddling down the street.

The water gets higher, and the man has to retreat to his second floor balcony, some people in a sailboat pull up next to his house, and they say to him, "Hurry, get onto our boat and we'll save you!"
The man shakes his head and says, "There is no need. God will save me." The people in the boat shrug and sail away.

The water level rises so high, that the man has to climb onto the top of the roof, and waits, when a helicopter from the National Guard shows up. They toss a rope ladder down to him and say "Hurry and climb aboard our helicopter, and we'll save you!"
The man shakes his head and says, "There is no need. God will save me."

The man dies in the flood.

He goes to heaven, and God is waiting for him there.
He goes up to God and says, "God, why didn't you save me?"

God replies, "I sent a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter. What more did you want me to do?"

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Guy Walks Into A Bar - Parenting 101 - Marriage and Superglue

A Guy Walks Into A Bar... he walks in he notices that there are pieces of meat hanging from the ceiling.

He sits down on the bar stool, and as he orders a drink asks the barman; "what's with all the meat hanging from the ceiling?"

The barman replies; "Oh, that's a little promotion we have going on. Anyone who can jump up and touch the meat gets free drinks all night. But, if they miss, they have to buy everyone else's drinks all night."

The guy looks intrigued. "So" says the barman, "want to give it a shot?". "No thanks", replies the guy; "the steaks are too high."

 Parenting 101:

  1. Pour milk on floor.
  2. Ask which kid did it.
  3. Send them to their rooms when they don't admit it.
  4. Enjoy peaceful evening.
What do Marriage and Superglue have in common?

They both form a bond in seconds, last (ideally) forever, and are dissolved by alcohol.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Firefox Security Hole Is Why You Need An Adblocker And An Update

  • When I clicked "Help" then "About Firefox" it immediately downloaded the patch.  
  • Click on the "Restart Firefox To Update Button"
Linux (Debian)

Assuming you have "real" Firefox installed and the sources in place.
  • Open Terminal as Root.
  • Smile because you have Root.
  • apt-get update
  • apt-get upgrade
  • Restart Firefox when you click on the button that appears.
Other Linux Distros will vary, of course.

Mac apparently does not have the problem.

What happened?  Hackers.  Simply put, a Hacker exploited a hole in Firefox so that advertisements could push some code onto your machine to take it over.

Now, this business about ad blockers.

I run one and I use it very aggressively. It is for this reason.  It is also that I truly hate being pandered to and watched.

The latest trend is to watch what you are doing via "tags".  A 1 pixel "dot" of a picture will be pushed to your browser as an anchor for them to watch what you are doing.

The best thing for you to do is to run an ad blocker.  You tell it what to block, and yes, it gets very technical because you have to take responsibility to block these things.  For the most part, an ad blocker with (free) subscriptions will block most, but never all, of these nasties.

When you run an ad blocker you will also notice that your browser runs much faster since it isn't trying to paint all those ads for all those products that you will never use.

Lets be honest, have you ever actually clicked on an ad intentionally?

Me neither.

Heck, I don't even see youtube commercials because I run an ad blocker.

The easier one to use is Ad Block Plus.  It is controversial because they allow certain advertisers to pay *them* to be allowed past the blocker.  I would recommend this for basic users because unless you want to learn how to use it, it's pretty simple.

The one I am using is called uBlock.  I'm still learning how to use it.  It removes the ads, but I haven't figured out how to make it remove the blank space the ad created.

It's up to you.  Ads and Hackers, or a better browsing experience.  I know what I chose.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a browser to restart.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Angry Bee, Look For A New Home!

I don't like Bees.

I have never liked Bees.

I can handle spiders, scorpions, snakes, lizards of many sorts.

But I just have never learned to like Bees.   I can respect them, and see their worth, but I don't want to be anywhere where Bees are.

So basically, I try to avoid them.

That is to say someone who is 6'4" and 225# and looks like your High School Football Coach runs screaming at the sight of a bee.

It's always been that way, and I suspect the only way it will change is when I can't run any more.

About 2 weeks ago, we did battle with the Mosquitoes.  The windows were removed, pretty much all at once, and the great outdoors came to visit. 

Then the great swatting began. 

At one point each of my arms was being bitten by a separate mosquito.  Then they died. 

We have an apparatus that looks like a tennis racket where the strings are parallel wires.  Press a button and the wires are electrically charged.  Wave it through the air and any mosquitoes, and other smallish insects, that it comes in contact with are vaporized with a flash of blue white light and a satisfying "snap!".

One point we waved it and killed 21 in one pass.

The house was completely clear of mosquitoes yesterday for the first time in two weeks.

But that didn't stop the wildlife from starting to find ways into the house.

When they removed the front windows, about a month back, separate from the great Re-Windowing, they removed a metal track for the hurricane shutters.  Since I now have 5/16th inch thick impact glass on all of the new windows, they're overkill.  

The tracks were held in place by some rather beefy wood screws sunk into the roofing joists.

Most of them were.  Some only went into the plywood that the ceiling is made out of.  You know, the stuff you paint white, then another color? 

The bees found those holes and began to colonize the space.  I saw one of them fly into the hole.  Then exit, then back.  It was clearly building something up there.  There isn't much room since the space is stuffed with insulation.

They don't need much space.

But I didn't like that so I got brave.

I found the Instant Bug Death In A Can that has a long straw just so you can feed it into the opening.  Then I filled it with spray.

Immediately the bee came back, this time with a small fraction of magenta bougainvillea flower in its feet.

Sorry, Miss Worker Bee, you're evicted.

It knew something wasn't right because it came right back out and hovered around the opening.  Then it went back in and came out without the bougainvillea blossom.

I filled the rest of the cavity with more Bug Death, and went looking for caulk.

While that worker bee was out looking for more bougainvillea blossoms, I have plenty and she's welcome to those, I got to work.  Each of the holes were caulked solid with white rubbery goo.

Then the fun began.

The worker bee wasn't terribly bright, but she did know that she wanted back in the roof space.   For the better part of an hour it was hovering around the holes and trying to find a way in. 

We went after it with the tennis racket but merely turned it into a game of badminton.

Finally, I decided we'd all had enough "fun" and went after the bug spray again and fogged the porch.  It left and didn't come back.

So the moral of the story?  If someone leaves a hole in your house, fill it immediately.  You don't want Bees Colonizing your house!