February 21, 2017

DMV Rant

So took a couple extra hours during lunch today to get over to the DMV and get my Colorado driver's license (really for no other reason that I'd like to be able to buy a pistol, should I find myself flush with extra cash).

First, the BMV in Indiana is FAR more efficient than the one here.  Back in Indiana, I walked in and walked out with a driver's license in less than 15 minutes: "Here's my proof of residency, here's my old CO license, here's my money... Thank you, ma'am, you have a nice day, too."

Here, I took my number, then stood in line.  And stood.  And stood.

And stood.  For 2.5 hours.

After 2.5 hours, my number gets called, and I approach the counter.

Where I get told that my driving privileges in Colorado are suspended.

Because I did not provide proof of renewal of my insurance in September of 2013.

Which, coincidentally, happens to be ONE YEAR after I moved to Indiana.

To make things better, the form on which they printed the steps for appealing this issue has my name listed at the top...

... right above my old address in Arizona, which I left in 2008 to move here.

When I showed the DMV counter agent my Indiana license that has an issued date of 9/8/2012 as proof that I didn't LIVE in Colorado in September 2013, she shrugged her shoulders and pointed to the appeals form.

Absolutely unbelievable.

I'd make note that Colorado has no trouble taking taxes from my paycheck, but damned if they're going to keep their database current and accurate.

February 16, 2017

The Hits Just Keep Coming

Fort Collins is a very bicycle friendly city.  There are bike paths a plenty all across town -- see this map for more (opens as a pdf file) -- and at most any brewery, pub, or eatery you're likely to find significant bike rack space to lock up your ride.  We've got bike racks on the front of the ambulances in town, so if a cyclist gets hurt, the EMS crew can transport the bike as well as the patient, and the city buses have bike racks as well.

When you consider this, add in the growing bulk around my mid-section from too many beers and not enough exercise, and top it off with a splash of generally nice weather, it's perhaps no surprise to learn that I have been looking around for a used, but still serviceable bike to ride here and there.

Locating a decent bike on Craigslist for a decent price, I drove over yesterday evening.  Took the thing around the block, and liked it.  It's tall enough for me (those who have met me know what that means... Those who have not, I'll simply state that I'm just shy of six and a half feet tall), and all the parts are in good shape.  I handed the man the cash, we shook hands, and I loaded the bicycle into the back of the Heep for the drive across town back home.

And that's when the Heep decided that it wasn't going to start.

For a few months now, it's been doing this strange thing where when the engine is warm, the Heep doesn't want to start easily.  It's almost as if the engine is getting flooded with too much fuel, causing it to fail to start.  Typically, I just have to wait a half hour or so for the engine to cool, then it starts up fine.

But not yesterday.  Yesterday the battery went Tango Uniform.

I called a buddy who came and tried to give me a jump start, but to no avail.  He gave me a lift home, and today during lunch I went to the local auto store, bought a battery -- $172 for a vehicle battery?  Kiss my hairy Polish ... -- and I'll have a co-worker give me a ride to the Heep after work to change it out.

On the plus side, now that I have a bike, I won't need the Heep for anything shorter than, say, a 10 mile trip, of which I do very few.  So it's going to sit in the garage for a while, I'm going to start saving some extra cash to get a down payment put together, and this time next year I'll be looking for a new ride.

Son of a....

February 15, 2017

Barbecue and Beans

Being a bachelor and cooking for one has some unique challenges, not the least of which is portion size.  It's actually a challenge to make a varied, balanced meal for one... Yes, it's easy to cook a single chicken breast or pork chop or steak.  But what about the side dishes?  Ever try making au gratin potatoes without having enough to feed four?  What about the vegetable?  A can of green beans is enough for two at the minimum.  Because of this, I find myself cooking in volume, and using small plastic tubs like these to store extras in the freezer:

The other day, due to an aching back and some lousy weather, I found myself spending a weekend indoors.  Having a bone-in pork shoulder roast, I set to making some shredded pork barbecue and baked beans:

The night before, soak a pound of dry pinto beans in plenty of water in your refrigerator.  Also, make up some barbecue rub if you don't have some already:

Barbecue Rub:
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons granulated onion
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar

Mix them all together in an air tight bag, store in the freezer to keep dry.

Generously rub down a medium bone-in pork shoulder roast with the rub, place the roast into your crock pot, add a cup or two of water, and put on low heat.  Come back in 8 hours or so, the pork should be fall apart tender and cooked.  Remove the meat to a pan, let it cool just a bit, then remove the bone and shred well.  Add your favorite barbecue sauce, and enjoy.

In your crock pot, you've still got the juices from the pork shoulder.  Don't throw that out!  It's going to come in useful shortly...

Those pintos you've had soaking overnight?  Drain and rinse well, then add them to the crock pot with the pork shoulder juice.  Add a quantity sufficient of water to cover the beans, and put the heat on low again.  About 8 hours later, the beans should be cooked.  NOW you can strain off that liquid and portion out your beans.  I like to add some shredded pork to each container of beans, but that's just me.

All in all, this netted me five plastic containers each of beans and barbecue pork.  Each container of pork is about 4 or 5 sandwiches, give or take, depending on how much meat I put on each one.  

I kept one container of each in the fridge for dinners/lunches the coming week, and the rest are in the freezer, which means I've got at LEAST 8 meals out of it.

Making America Nekkid Again!

Less than one month in office, and we get this:

Just a year after Playboy made a radical shift away from its mainstay of nude photos, the magazine will reintroduce explicit imagery in an attempt to reclaim “who we are.”


February 14, 2017

Bravo, Zoo Atlanta

This is beautiful.

Zoo Atlanta has a sense of humor when it comes to Super Bowl LI. They say they had made a bet with the Providence Zoo, Roger Williams Park Zoo and Carousel Village, that the losing side would name one of their baby animals after the winning team's star quarterback.
But instead of picking an adorable baby animal like a penguin or a bear, Zoo Atlanta named a Madagascar hissing cockroach after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Bravo, Zoo Atlanta.  Bravo.

I've Been Informed

That the Oroville Dam in California, the one that has been neglected for decades and is in danger of failure, is only in the predicament it is in because of Trump.

Yep.  It was doing just fine three weeks ago.  But in that time, Trump managed to cause it to erode beyond safety margins, and it's because he hates California.

Powerful man, that.

February 10, 2017

Sure it is...

“It’s harder to get a driver’s license sometimes than it is to get a concealed weapons permit and that just seems a little off balance,” said Kalamazoo Chief Public Safety Officer Jeffrey Hadley

From here.

< sarcasm...>

I can see how that'd be true.  I mean, when I went to get my Indiana Driver's License, I recall having to submit to finger prints, a background check, pay $135 or so in fees, and wait up to 90 days while they processed my request.  

</ sarcasm... >

Back the Truck Up

An open letter to my IT clients:

If you are planning on an upgrade of your company's business application, and you've been planning on this for a few weeks, and part of the upgrade process is to get a full backup of your server, you might want to let your IT Managed Service Provider know about this...

... And do so with more than a 5 minute advanced notice.  Sorry, but no, your on demand backup job won't be ready in the next ten minutes.  Have your software vendor go get some breakfast, come back in two hours or so.

(Before the other IT folks chastise me: We do incremental backups during the week, full backups on Saturday.  So last night -- Thursday -- we did an incremental.  The next full was scheduled for tomorrow.)

February 7, 2017

Hide Your Crazy, Folks

Now that Betsy DeVos has been confirmed to head up the Department of Education (an entirely useless bureaucracy that doesn't do a very good job of... well, educating people... but I digress), I'm hearing people locally call to have our local representative Cory Gardner impeached.

Let alone the fact that the GOP controlled Senate isn't going to allow impeachment hearings against one of the GOP members, I have to ask "Impeached for... WHAT, exactly?"

What crime has he allegedly committed?  What law did he break?

Or do you just want him impeached because he didn't vote the way YOU wanted at the confirmation hearings? 

I'm almost to the point where it's time to shut off any form of electronic interaction with people... The crazy is on full display from the left and the right, and I'm really tired of it.

February 2, 2017

Who? And They Said What?

Here's a blip from an article I came across today:

People are literally losing their minds over the mere thought of him sitting in the Oval Office.
A mental faculty failure that is driven, I fear, by sore loser syndrome.
The protestors wanted, and expected, Hillary Clinton to sweep this ghastly man to crushing defeat in the election two months ago and become the first female president.
When it didn’t happen, mainly because Hillary was a terrible candidate who fought a terrible campaign, they were collectively struck down by Post Trump Success Disorder.
This is an awful affliction that causes victims to lose the power of calm, rational thought and instead resort to uncontrollable, unrelenting outbursts of shrieking, screaming, wailing and teeth-gnashing.
Every single thing President Trump now does, says or tweets or is greeted by instant paralysis of perspective.

I'll let you ponder who wrote it.

The answer, and the link, are after the break...

January 30, 2017

I Really Despise People

The over-the-top reactions and hyperbolic rhetoric that I'm seeing on DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING is making my head hurt. 

Did you know that Trump was going to ship those folks delayed by the immigration kerfluffle this weekend to secret CIA terror camps?  Is troo... I read it on the internet.

Also, Senator Bernie Sanders made the following statement:
"Well. It's not going to happen. The American people are settling in for a long and sustained fight to defend democracy and the values which have made us a great county. No. We're not going to shut up. We're going to resist."
When we tried resisting the acts of the Democrats when they had both houses of Congress and the White House, we were told "Shut up, Racists!" and shouted down.  

All day, every day, it's "Trump's Muslim Ban!", when the reality is that there's no such "Muslim" ban.  There are restrictions placed on people from 7 countries -- 1 primarily, actually -- and that's it.  There Is No Ban.

I am so sick of people spewing shit that they know nothing about, telling me that if I don't agree then I'm racist, and shrieking loudly. 

This sort of shit is why the idea of a small cabin in the back woods is more and more appealing every year. 

January 24, 2017

Sarah Hoyt on Cults

This is worth your time to read.

It is even worse if the cult (as most do) demonized everyone not of the cult.  Because then the kids can spend decades mired in the idea everyone is out to get them.

Read the whole thing.

Time to Thin the Herd

Over on Face Book, which is a cesspool of scum, generally, I'm going to start hiding posts from some folks.

The reason is very simple:  Trump is not Hitler.

I've gotten so sick and tired of the divide between ideologies in this country that I'm done listening to anyone who can't come up with a better criticism of President Trump than "He's LITERALLY HITLER!"

People who use this phrase fall into one of two camps: Either they don't know what the word "literally" means, or they are too intellectually lazy (or incompetent) to formulate a better argument.

Either way, I'm done with them.

I've got enough conflict in my life.  I don't need to voluntarily subject myself to more.

I don't like Donald Trump.  He was not my choice for President, and frankly I'm concerned of the damage he could inflict on America, both domestically and abroad.

There are many positions he has taken, and things he has said, with which I find great disagreement.  If you want to discuss President Trump with me, you'll need do form a logical argument, based on facts, supported by reason.

But he's NOT "literally Hitler!"

When Donald Trump loads 9 million people into rail cars and ships them off to gas chambers, come talk to me -- I'll be up toward the front of the line of people marching towards D.C. to throw his ass in prison.  But unless that happens, I'm done with anyone who uses the "literally Hitler!" argument.

January 20, 2017

An Open Letter to President Trump

First, let me congratulate you on your victory in the Presidential election.  It was a lengthy, contested, and often unsightly election, but you stayed the course and won.

Now it's time to get to work.

I'd implore you to remember that we are a diverse country, and all of the citizens living here deserve your respect and equality of treatment.

Whites.  Blacks.  Men.  Women.  Christians.  Jews.  Muslims.  Young.  Old.  Wealthy.  Poor.  Conservatives.  Liberals.  Libertarians.  Heterosexuals.  Homosexuals.  Broncos fans.  Patriots fans.  People who put beans in their chili.  People who don't.  Those who think that dry spices on brisket constitutes barbecue.  Those who prefer slow cooked shredded pork with vinegar sauce.  

We are all Americans, and if you start singling out any group for persecution, you'll find out that we, Americans, don't stand for that sort of thing.  Stand up for the rights of all, or step aside.

Get the federal government under control, and make cuts where you can.  You're a businessman, start streamlining the business of running the United States of America.  Less government intrusion into our lives.  Less regulation and control.  More efficiency.  Less debt.  More prosperity.  You'll find that if you focus your efforts on making the playing field level for all, and then step back, most Americans will do just fine making their own way.  We're a resourceful lot, and all we need is for the .fed to get out of our way.  Yes, there are some who will take the easy way out, but by and large we're a nation of people willing to work hard to make our way.  Let us do that.

When you are faced with a difficult situation that has no clear answers, I want you to first ask this question: "Will this decision increase or decrease the freedom of individual citizens?"  If the answer is the latter, it's the wrong thing to do.  Above all else, put individual liberty and personal freedom first.  I don't care if you think a law is going to make me safer.  I don't want you to try to make me safer.  My safety is MY responsibility.  Not yours.  I'll take freedom and risk over restriction and safety every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Keep our troops at home.  They've fought enough, and we don't need to police the world.  Let the other countries handle their problems.  We've got no business in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, or anywhere else.  Let 'em fight among themselves.  Our soldiers belong here, guarding and fighting for OUR country.  Promote programs and means of providing assistance to those soldiers who have faced combat and are having trouble dealing with it.  Those men and women put their lives on the line when they were told to... the very least we can do for them is help them when they return.

Fiscal responsibility.  Equality of treatment.  Expanded individual freedom.  Less government intrusion.

Those are my demands to you, Mr. President.

I did not vote for you.  But you are now the President of the country I call home, and I wish you the best.

Get to work.  Don't fuck it up.