April 25, 2017

Random Musings

I need to quit asking people "How f#%@ing stupid can you be?"
  • Some people are apparently taking it as a challenge. 
Every computer system I design is, by nature, quite nearly perfect.  
  • Until I let other people start touching their computers.  Then it goes to hell in rapid fashion.
No, ma'am, in point of fact, I do not have the ability to change a route in AT&T's routers.  That's something they're going to have to do.  
  • Yes, I already asked.  
  • No, I don't know when it will be done.
  • Well, that's because you're too cheap to purchase your own DNS server.  
Some customers you just have an instant kinship with the first time you meet them.  
  • Or so I've heard.  
Despite all of the above, there are times when your planning, careful attention to detail, and meticulous documentation pays off.  
  • When another sys admin says "This is a thing of beauty... I've never seen anything so perfect before..." is when you know you did the job right.  

April 21, 2017

BAG Day

So I don't know when the official Buy A Gun Day is for 2017, but for me, it was today.

Thanks to a post over at Tam's View From The Porch, I just ordered a Sig P250 from CDNN.  It's chambered in .22LR, but according to Tam (who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the innerdes of guns) the fire control unit is the same as the fire control unit for their centerfire pistols.

Which means at some point I can change out some parts and turn it from .22LR to .45ACP and back.

This is something I've wanted to do for a while with my Glock 19... Get a .22LR conversion kit, so I can send more rounds down range during range sessions -- and really dial in my mechanics of grip and trigger press and such -- at a cheaper price.

At any rate, I've got a new gat on the way!

Thanks for the link, Tam!

April 15, 2017

The Dane Geld Is Paid

Got my tax returns done, and sent off in the mail today.  Yes, technically I have until the 18th, but it has been a JB Tradition to do the returns and mail them off on the 15th for, well, a while now, and who am I to break tradition, right?

At any rate, I had to pay the Dot Fed a bit, and I'm getting a bit of a refund from Indiana and Colorado, so all said and done it doesn't come out terribly bad... I got my withholding just about right, as I came out of it owing $27.

Still and all, it's truly amazing how much of my money I never get to see.  

Having paid the Dane Geld, I opted for a bit of 'Murica Freedom today, and took the dogs for a good walk today, then ducked into one of the local breweries for a couple pints.  I'd finished my weekend chores by noon, so I figured I'd earned a cold beer.  

Tomorrow, I'll take a walk to the home brew store, get ingredients for a cirtrus-y American Pale Ale, and brew that either tomorrow or next weekend.  

Routine daily life at Chateau J Bro.  Hope you and yours are well.

April 11, 2017

This Won't End Well For United

Try as I might, I can find no way this recent kerfluffle works out well for United.

The facts, as I have been able to ascertain, are as follows:

* United had a fully booked flight, but needed 4 passengers to give up their seats so the airline could shuttle a flight crew to Louisville.
* The man purchased a ticket for the flight.
* He cleared the Thousands Standing Around security theater.
* The passenger was allowed to board the airplane and take his seat.
* When nobody volunteered to take a later flight in exchange for airline credits, four people were selected to be removed from the airplane.
*This man refused.
*The cops physically removed him from the airplane.

Now I'll point that the airline has the right to refuse to allow a person to board the airplane.  That's in the contract that comes with the ticket (I've read the contract... I flew weekly for business for some 4 years, so I took the time to read the contract.)  But that's not what happened here... They let the man board.  At that point, the airline is not covered by the "refuse boarding" clause in the contract.

While one can argue that passengers are required to follow the instructions of the flight crew, that only applies once the airplane has left the terminal.  That hadn't happened yet, so that doesn't apply either.

What *SHOULD* have happened is United should have continued to raise the offer for giving up the seat.  If nobody bites at the $400 offer, then raise it to $800.  Then to $1200.  Then higher and higher.  I assure you that sooner or later people will take the offer.  For $2000 and a night at the O'Hare Westin, I'd gladly give up a seat (barring special circumstances like needing to get home to a sick family member.)

But having the man physically assaulted -- and make no mistake, that's what happened -- and removed forcibly from the plane is wrong.  The airline is wrong.  The cops are wrong.  There's no way this works out well for them.

United could have chartered a private jet to fly from O'Hare to Louisville for $15,000 or so.  How much you want to wager that United's CEO and PR staff would pay $15,000 for all of this to go away?

United's CEO should get in front of the cameras, make a profound and sincere apology to this man, admit they screwed up, and give him one free airfare per month for a year in First Class.

The cops need to be fired.  And charged with Assault and Battery.

What's worse is that is this tweet from the Chicago Police Department:

That's a special kind of stupid.  "He fell"?  YHGTBSM.

I hope the passenger sues the daylights out of United and the police department and wins big.

I used to fly United when I was a business traveler.  Fortunately I don't have to fly for work anymore, and despite Denver International being a United hub, I'll do everything in my power to never shade the door of a United aircraft again.

April 7, 2017

Apartment Life and Gardening

One of the challenges to living in an apartment instead of your own house is the limits you have on what you can and cannot do.  For instance, since I don't own the yard around my apartment, digging it up and planting a garden is frowned upon.  

Quelle surprise, right? 

I'd like to can some pasta sauce this coming summer.  For that, I'll need some tomatoes.  Roma tomatoes, preferably, as they have more "meat" and less juice than, say, Beefsteak tomatoes.  A couple pounds of Romas, some onion, green pepper, olives, herbs and spices, simmer it down a bit, fill jars, waterbath to preserve... There's nothing better.* 

At any rate, since I can't plant a garden, I'm contemplating planting in a few buckets.

Get some 5 gallon buckets from your local hardware store.  Paint 'em pretty colors, if you wish.  

Drill some 1/2 inch holes in the sides of the buckets, near the bottom, all the way around the bucket.  Space these holes a couple inches from each other.  You're making a drain, should the plants get too much water from a rain storm. 

Put a layer of fairly large river rocks in the bottom of the bucket.  Make sure the rocks are larger tahn the holes, or the rocks may get wedged in the holes, negating the draining effect.  I use rocks that are about the size of racquetballs.  Next, add a second layer of rocks, these can be smaller, like golf ball size.  The two layers of rocks should be about 1/4th the depth of the bucket.  

Now start adding your soil.  Personally, I like to use a mixture of top soil and compost soil or manure, mixed well.  If you don't have access to compost or manure, mix a good measure of plant food with the plain top soil.  

Plant your tomato seedlings, water, and place in an area that gets lots of sun.  

Couple months later, you've got fresh tomatoes for pasta sauce makin'.  


* If you don't want to fuss with the onions, peppers, olives, etc., I'd recommend Mrs. Wages pasta sauce mix.  You can get it at most stores that sell canning supplies.  It's quite tasty, but has more preservatives and such than just using fresh ingredients.  Still better than anything made by Ragu or Prego or any other commercially made crap.  Mrs. Wages also makes a solid salsa seasoning packet.  

April 6, 2017

As You Reap, So Shall You Sow

In 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) managed to get Senate Rules modified so that future Senate Rule changes would only require a simple 51-vote majority.

They did this as part of the process to pass the Affordable Care Act.

Back then, I said that this would come back and bite them in the ass, because, like ANY change you enact to get your way, there's always the chance that "some day, people you don't like are going to be in power, and you've just set a precedent they will use against you."

I hate to say "I told you so," but, well....

I told you so.


March 31, 2017

Falcons Memorial Highway?

A fire caused part of I-85 in downtown Atlanta to collapse, and you can find pictures and video all over the internet.

Atlanta hasn't seen a collapse like this since the 4th quarter of Super Bowl LI....



March 27, 2017

A Fine Weekend

Spent the weekend doing fun stuff for me.  As you know, I've been working hard to be frugal, but I decided that every once in a while, I need to do something fun for me.

Saturday, I borrowed my friend's vehicle (a very nice 2011 Toyota Tacoma that I might purchase from him) and ran a few errands that needed done and needed a vehicle to do them.  I took a bag of empty aluminum ans to the recycling center, picked up a bed frame and headboard, and ducked into the local home brewing supply store for a few things.

Then I just went for a drive.  I drove north of the city, amid the foothills and rugged, sparse, ranch country.  My goal was the Cherokee Park Wildlife Area to  scout for deer and elk for this coming fall's hunting season.  I'd misjudged the time and distance, however, so I didn't quite get there.  At least now I have a better idea of how long it would take me to get there for future scouting trips.

Coming back into town, I stopped at Pateros Creek Brewing Company, which is one of the 22 or so craft breweries here in Fort Collins.  They are, unfortunately, going to be closing up shop on April 1st, as the space they occupy has become far too expensive to rent and they have yet to secure alternative space.  I had a pint of the Stimulator Rye Pale Ale, and it was quite pleasant.

I swung back to the apartment, then returned my friend's vehicle to him.  We hung out at his house for a while, watched the first half of the Gonzaga/Xavier men's college basketball game, then I took my leave and walked home.  Took a short nap, then walked over to Otto Pint for a pizza and another beer.

Sunday, I woke at an incredibly late hour for me -- 7:45 am -- and made a monster of a breakfast, including corned beef hash with green chiles, two eggs, and toast with my sister's home made strawberry jam.  Then I commenced to brewing some beer, making an apricot wheat beer.  It has Northern and Mt. Hood hops, and I mashed up a can of apricots and added them to the carbouy with the beer.  I'd have preferred to use fresh apricots, peeled and mushed, but there were none to be found at my local grocery.  I figure I'll give it a week, then rack it over to secondary fermentation and bottle after another week.  Next beer, by request of a friend, is going to be a Marzen (although, technically, it won't be, since I won't be able to brew it until April 1st... Aprilzen?)

After the beer was in fermentation, I slid over to the local sports pub, watched a bit of the Florida/South Carolina basketball game, then returned home.  In order to apply for a hunting tag, in Colorado, if you're born after 1949, you need to take a Hunter Safety Class.  Fortunately you can do most of it on-line, then finish the class with an in-person shortened version (basically, live fire exercises to prove you can hit the broad side of a barn at 25 yards and know how to clear a malfunction in your gun.)  While I understand the need for hunter education, some of the parts of this on-line class are just foolish:

*sigh*

At any rate, I finished the videos, and Wednesday afternoon I'll be taking a half day to go do the live fire part.  The good thing is that this is a one-and-done thing... I'll never need to take the class again.

We also got some rain on Sunday afternoon, and much needed at that.  At the moment, Colorado is drier than a popcorn fart, and the risk of wildfire is quite high.

Wrapped up the weekend with dinner at home Sunday, a nice bottle of my own Java Porter, and some television before turning in to bed a whole hour before I normally do.

T'was a fine weekend indeed.

March 23, 2017

The Death of Civility

I've had it with people.   Civility and politeness in debate and discussion appears, for the most part, to be dead.

I'll admit that I've struggled with this in the past, but I'd like to think that, for the most part, I am able to articulate my differences with people of other political views with civility and reasoned discussion.  I don't have to agree with you to respect you, and I don't have to like you to be polite to you.  It's rare, I hope, that I am impolite.

Sadly, I don't see much of that today from people on the political left.  To be fair, we didn't see much of it from people on the political right between, say, 2008 and 2016, so they don't get a pass... Mind your own house, right?

But this?


Painting President Trump's face on the wall, using a urinal for his mouth?

That's beyond the pale.  That's not civil discourse, that's not reasoned dissent, that's not a political statement.

That's just disgusting.

I can only imagine the outrage we'd hear from the same people who did this if Mrs. Clinton had won and the painting was of her, not him.

I'm done talking to people of a different political mind if this is what they find funny.  Yes, you're entitled to your free expression, and no, I don't want anyone to be penalized legally for this sort of thing.

But I damn sure don't have to show my support for it, and I damn sure don't have to talk to you if this is what you believe.

Disagree, debate, converse, and have conversations.  I encourage the talk, I do.  But have some fucking class and dignity.





March 19, 2017

Wants and Needs

It's now the end of the third week without a car/vehicle, and I can't really say that it's been much of an inconvenience.

So far I have to admit that my needs are being met on foot.

My needs are quite simple: I need to be able to get to work, I need to be able to get food.  That's pretty much it, really.  Most of the rest of things in our lives are "wants", not "needs."

I want to go uptown for a sandwich and a couple beers at Coopersmith's, but I don't NEED to.  

I need to deposit my paycheck at the bank every other Friday, but I don't NEED to go to the bank to do that (my bank's mobile app allows me to take pictures of the check and deposit it that way... I haven't, because I can walk to the bank branch.)

I want to get busy improving my pistol work, but I don't NEED to go to the range to do that... Dry fire practice with the MantisX system I won in the Kilted to Kick Cancer contest will suffice for now.

I want to continue making home brew beer, but I don't NEED to go to the local home brew store to get the supplies, as I can purchase the items on line and have them delivered.

I want to spend more time outdoors, but I don't NEED to drive up into the mountains to make that happen -- There are paths, trails, and parks here in the city.

I want to continue making food at home to save money and have healthier meals, but I don't NEED to drive to the grocery store, as I can walk across the street.  (Yes, it does make for a bit of a challenge, trying to figure out what I can buy and carry home, and rather than make one trip every 10 days or so, I'm going to the grocery every two or three days, since I can't carry as much as I could in the cargo area of the Heep.  But again, that's want vs. need.)

My phone has an app that tracks my walking, if I choose to, and I've logged over 6,000 steps every day -- save one -- since I started tracking on March 1st.  Some days are closer to 12,000 steps.  One day I walked over 4.4 miles, just doing regular stuff (convenience store for a pack of smokes, grocery, went to see a movie, went to a new brewery in the area, etc.)

At any rate, I'm finding that I can make do with less and less and it doesn't bother me a bit at the moment to not have a vehicle.  I'm giving serious thought to holding off as long as I can, perhaps until September or so, in order to have as much cash as possible to put towards a vehicle.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to walk over to the Gilded Goat Berewery, because I want to meet my friend for a beer on the patio.  When it's 73 degrees in Northern Colorado in March, you sit on the patio and drink beer... it's what we do.