New Machine Arrived

It’s always a pain in the ass setting up a new computer the way I want it, with the software, including utilities, that I want.  Sure, firing it up and configuring the basics for Win10 only took about 10 minutes, but the rest takes longer.  Microsoft already had an OS update for it.  The damn thing came with McAfee, which I can’t stand, so I had to nuke that after I got Norton 360 installed. No point to nuking Edge, since Microsoft will just keep reinstalling it, but at least I got my browser of choice installed with the extensions I wanted, and made it my default.

I think it’s mostly done, but I’ll probably find something else I forgot to download and install over the next day or two.  As much as I can’t stand dealing with Dell employees who lie to me about why they can’t fulfill my custom “build-your-own” order (no it wasn’t my payment method, as claimed), or tell me they no longer build ones with optical drives, I did manage to order a Dell from elsewhere that had all the features that were important to me — lots of memory, loads of HD space, and a CD/DVD RW drive.

In the end, and cost me a few hundred less than the one I originally tried to have built to my specs.  I like Dells inasmuch as they’re usually good for 5+ years before something like the fan, hard drive, or wifi card shoots craps and needs to be replaced.  I never got that sort of reliability or lifespan out of any laptop HP my employers would issue me.

Screw Dell

Tried to order a new laptop from Dell last night.  For the last 20 years, I’ve always ordered my computers directly from Dell so that I could configure them the way I wanted.  It looked to me like the transaction went through, but today I got a call from a guy with a very thick Indian accent telling me they could not process my order unless I paid via check, which sounds like a crock because the website accepts American Express, and Amex even gave me a security code to verify that the transaction was legitimate, so I told him to cancel the order.  Aside from that, Dell claims it no longer puts optical drives in their laptops, which I wanted.  That is also a lie.

Then, I went online to order one from elsewhere.  Found an electronics store in Colorado that had a brand new Dell with the specs I wanted — Win10 Pro, loads of RAM, huge hard drive, i7 processors, and an optical drive.  It also has all the same ports this old machine has, in a slightly different configuration, but so what?  It also cost me ~$400 less than the one I tried to order from Dell, with shipping included.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about it being touch screen.  This one is, too, but I’m not in the habit of using that feature.

Here’s what I think is going on.  The vast majority of microprocessors are manufactured in either Taiwan or China, and supply is tight, which also affects the automotive industry.  Since the computer I had tried to order from Dell had not yet been built to my specs for me, they gave me a song and dance about not being able to process my order, although they falsely blamed it on my method of payment.  If they didn’t want to fork over a 5% fee to Amex to process my payment, they shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place.

The only downside to this, is that since the shipping cost  was included in the purchase price, it’s probably going to get shipped via mule train, given the estimated delivery date.  Oh, well.  In the meantime, this old box still works.

Poe

Our next door neighbor’s goat head butted in the bottom glass window of our front door’s storm door.  I heard a thump, thump, thump at our front door. At first, I thought it was the car dealer returning my car after inspection, but it seemed odd that the guy didn’t ring the door bell instead of banging on the door.

When I went to investigate the noise, my neighbor showed up with the goat on a leash, and their dog running around free to bother ours, which I had grabbed by his collar.  She apologized so profusely, and told me they’d fix any damage done.  I looked at the panel that Poe had knocked in.  There was no damage to the glass, frame, or to the clips on the storm door that held it in place.  Took two minutes to reinstall, but I love it when neighbors take responsibility for any damage their livestock does.

Anyway, I love neighbors like that.  Poe’s a fun goat.  Mead’s a rambunctious dog, but whatever.  So be it.  I love good neighbors.

This is Fucking Hilarious

I listen to talk radio on weekdays.  One of the hosts poses a daily question that he wants listeners to answer.  Today’s question was who would you hire to front your company in an ad?  Most people went with brawny actors.  I went with Betty White, because nobody dislikes her.

Both the producer and 6he host liked it enough to be the winner of the day.  Since it’s Friday, they toss the M-F winners in a hat, so to speak, and draw a winner for the week.  It was a $50 gift certificate to Captain Chucky’s.  It’s not a restaurant, but a seafood market that has 12 locations in NJ and PA.  I never win anything.  One of those Captain Chucky’s  locations is only 10 miles away from me.

Oh, I’m going to use that when it shows up.  The radio station did call me back to confirm my name and address, when I won.

You’d have to be allergic to seafood, or a vegetarian to not love this prize.

Hurricane Ida

Wow.  That thing blew through yesterday.  I would have thought that after it swung through 1500 miles on land, it would have just dumped a lot of rain on us.  It did all that, plus a whole lot more.  The tornadoes it spawned did hit within a couple of miles of our area, but missed us.

We were supposed to gt ~6″ of rain.  We got nearly twice that, within a very short period of time, according to our local weather people.  While our pool and pond overflowed as expected, the drainage ditch we dug a couple of years ago to channel water toward the creek worked as designed, and the tornadoes missed us, we still had a lot of damage.  Not to our house, fortunately.  We had a tree that was ~60′ tall in our front yard, probably well over 100 years old snap in half.  The top half that snapped off fell away from the house.  Yay!  We’ll have to get the rest of it removed, but that can wait.

Our next door neighbor stopped by earlier to advise us where the local roads had trees down across them, and/or were flooded out.  He was trying to get home, but because of all that, had to take approximately a five mile circuitous detour to approach his house from the other side, rather than driving past ours.  He came by with his dog and billy goat following him.  Those two are funny critters; they’re very people friendly, but the goat could shatter glass sliders if he head butted them, and could easily toss me on my ass, if I didn’t see it coming.  The dog’s a big boy, but he won’t knock me over to greet me.

This neighbor of ours is a really great guy.  We routinely trade favors with him.  Usually, it involves letting him borrow our brush hog, our large trailer for an afternoon, or taking shitloads of free wood chip mulch, but he always returns the favor in one way or another.  I friggin’ love neighbors like this!

First World Problems

  • we had to road-trip round trip for nine plus hours for a surgical procedure, plus 4 other hours
  • the stifling heat and t-storms kept me from cleaning my pool, and adjusting the chemicals until yesterday
  • we couldn’t get out there to mow the lawn until today
  • our garden is producing so many tomatoes, squash, and beans, that we have to can what we can’t give away to neighbors

Yuppers.  first world problem.

Afghanistan, and our civilians there are another matter.  You go Joe!

Happy Independence Day!

The weather around here is supposed to clear up by noon, so we should be able to shoot off our fireworks after dark.

Had to smoke our big-ass pork shoulder on July 3, though, because we have to visit mom tomorrow for a few hours, and if we started smoking it when we got home, we wouldn’t be eating until damn near midnight.

Anyway, the pulled pork came out so tender and delicious, with homemade BBQ sauce, homemade coleslaw, and really good ears of corn I got from a local farm market.  We’ll be eating pulled pork for a week.

Our fireworks display last year was a little limited.  This year, we got some really good stuff.  Phantom Fireworks had professional grade mortars, but we stuck to 500 gram repeaters, and a whole assortment of lesser stuff, such as roman candles, fountains, and all the way down to bottle rockets.  Our neighborhood is not densely populated, so we don’t encroach on each other’s property with debris when we set them off.  Half a dozen neighbors also set off their own fireworks display.  There’s no competition.  It’s more of a relief that some nattering nanny won’t send the cops around to investigate something perfectly legal.

Happy 4th, and God Bless America!

Poe!

Got a chance to meet Poe yesterday.  Our next door neighbor had borrowed our brush hog, but since it was still attached to his tractor, not ours, we “borrowed” it back with his tractor to do some brush hogging of our own.  When the neighbor drove his tractor over to drop it off, his rescue goat followed him.  The goat’s name is Poe.

Poe is probably a pygmy goat, but if not, he’s some other miniature breed.  He got distracted when he saw me up on the patio, and trotted up the hill to meet me.  Sweetest, cutest, friendliest little guy I’ve ever met for something that’s normally considered livestock.  Not for a second did I feel in any danger of getting butted with his full grown horns.  He was more interested in exploring our different patio areas, including the upper level we use for cookouts, and looking in the sliders at his own reflection than he was about sniffing me, but he sure liked getting pets, and a scratch on his bum.  His new owner had to walk up the hill to come fetch the guy to follow him home, after he’d dropped off the tractor.

I’m so glad I got a chance to meet the cutie.  There’s a distinct possibility he may get moved a couple of miles down the road to the B&B/farm our neighbor also owns, to go live with the sheep and miniature horses.  I think our neighbor’s getting a little tired of having Poe follow him around like a puppy.  He’s a goat.  He’s too old to bounce around like a kid, but he’s inquisitive, and he likes getting into things.  It’s the way they roll.

Have You Ever Liked Your Property Tax Collector?

I actually like mine.  I know, that sounds weird.  She doesn’t doo the assessments.  All she does is collect the taxes for county and municipal, which are billed separately from the school taxes.  Tried to pay mine online on the last date to get a 2% discount from face value.  FUBAR.

Anyway, I finally went in to see her in person during her office hours.  Explained the situation ahead of time via some traded emails, and when I showed up, I brought all my documentation.  I knew I was going to get stuck paying face value on the bill, for the fuck-up.  Yup, I did, but all I owe them is another $45.95.  I’ll walk in there in person to cut another check for the balance.

Can’t wait until I get my bill for three times that for school taxes.  Happens every year.  I will march into the office to deliver that check in person.  It’s at least three times the amount of our county/muni ones.

Our municipal tax collector is basically an accountant.  She has to check with her county overlords.  FWIW, she’s fine.  She just wants to book the right amount, and I want to pay the right amount.  And, she’s incredibly easy to deal with, compared to the ones I used to have when I lived elsewhere.

Chickens

Years ago, our neighbor kept chickens, and he gave us extra eggs for free.  We “chicken sat” for them when they went away.  Those chickens were free range, all over his property and ours.  I liked them.  They kind of spooked some people, but pullets or hens aren’t aggressive.  They’re mostly harmless.  This year, he got 21, with no males, and one Silkie died before we had to look after them, so we’re looking after 20.

All 20 are accounted for.  They lost one black silkie before we were put in charge of them.  This time around, they are not allowed to roam all over the neighborhood, free ranging.  They don’t get to eat grass, or other vegetation unless we bring it to them.  Grass is a treat, as far as they’re concerned.  They almost fight over it, because all they get this year is seed, mealworms, and water, in their coop.

The good news is that we’ll probably get some free eggs.

Going by comb size, I’d estimate that a third of the flock is Americaunas.  The blue on their eggs goes all the way through to the membrane.