Daily Archives: October 4, 2020

Amazon Fire Stick . . .

Several blog readers asked me for more information about our Amazon Fire TV Stick and how it’s used.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

It consists of the Fire TV Stick itself and a small remote. The Fire Stick plugs into the back of your Smart TV in a USB port. Note I said a ‘Smart TV’, something in the last 5 years or so.

But the main requirement is that you need a high-speed, unlimited data plan, emphasis on both high-speed and unlimited.

A Full HD 1080p show will chew up between 2.0 and 2.5 GB per hour of video, and if you want to go the whole 4K route at 3840p, that will eat up from 3.5 to 7.0 GB per hour.

So a single evening of TV viewing can finish off an entire month of a 15 to 20 GB data plan on your phone or hotspot.

Here at our RV park we’re lucky to have a very strong, very fast WiFi signal available as part of our rent. Strong enough that we can stream Full 1080p HD with very, very few slowdowns. We haven’t tried to do 4K, since most streaming services charge extra for 4K. But we may try it some time just to see what it looks like, though Full HD is very sharp, much sharper than our previous DirecTV signal.

And as far as DirecTV we put it on suspension until the end of the year and will probably cancel it permanently at that time.

And another neat feature is that it gives you Voice Search. Just tell it what you want to play and on what channel. “Alexa, play Star Wars on Disney+” and off you go.

We got our first Fire Stick back in January and it’s been great. But the new version that just came out has several upgrades and was $10 cheaper than our original one. But of course the new one is still orbiting around Illinois via UPS, so it’s no telling when we’ll actually get it.


October 4, 2010

Monday in Paradise. . . or, at least, Texas

Another beautiful day here in Texas. The high was 78 and the low last night was 51. Great!

We started off with coffee, just sitting around enjoying the view out the front window.

Galveston Bay RV

About 2 pm we drove up to Webster to have ‘lupper’ at King Food, As usual we had the Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce, XXXX Spicy and add jalapenos. I can always tell if its hot enough when my nose starts running and the top of my head starts sweating. And this batch was great.

After lunch I dropped Jan off at Brandi’s for some Landon time while I went to see a client.  Got back to Brandi’s about 5 so I could have some Landon time of my own.

Heading home a little later, we stopped off at Kroger’s for some groceries, and then it was home for the night.

Thought for the Day:

All you Need to Know about Government and Bureaucracy:

** Pythagorean theorem: ……………………….. 24 words.
** Lord’s prayer: …………………………….. 66 words.
** Archimedes’ Principle: ……………………… 67 words.
** 10 Commandments: …………………………… 179 words.
** Gettysburg address: ………………………… 286 words.
** Declaration of Independence: ………………. 1,300 words.
** US Government regulations on the sale of cabbage: 26,911 words

This explains a lot.


RVing in Ohio

October 4, 2011

Waiting for the other shoe to drop . . .

I was up this morning about 6:30 to get ready to travel. Since it was still dark outside, I spent some time putting some things away and catching up on some client/web stuff.

I got Jan up about 7 and started our coffee for the morning, and then went outside and stowed away the satellite dish and chairs.

Things went just fine until I cranked up the diesel about 9:30 and tried to bring the levelers. And although they came up, the dash control said they were still down. Since this normally means the hydraulic reservoir is low on oil, I shut down and went to check.

Adding fluid fixed the problem, but it looks like I may have a small leak since I just added some a few weeks ago and normally I only have to add it once a year or so.

That’s one.

After carefully pulling our of our still-wet site, we got hitched up and pulled out of the fairgrounds about 10.

And we hardly got out of Celina before one of my bay doors popped open and dumped my plastic 5 gallon fuel can out into the middle of the highway. By the time I got stopped it was over a quarter-mile back sitting in the middle of the lane.

If it hadn’t been in the middle of the road I probably would have just left it, but as it was I walked back and got it and then we got back under way.

That’s two.

Jan said things come in threes. I said be quiet, they might hear you.

She didn’t ask who ‘they’ were. But we’re still waiting for number three.

After a very pleasant and scenic trip thru the Ohio countryside, about 2 pm we pulled into a warm welcome at Smith’s Campground about 4 miles south of Loudonville, OH.

Located on the Mohican River, Smith’s has 170 sites nestled in a lightly-wooded valley just off CR 3175.

Smiths Campground 6

After being warmly greeted by owner Amy Smith and her son-in-law Scott, we were directed to our sites right on the river. We were also invited to dinner with Amy and her husband, George.

Smiths Campground 1


This is the great view of the Mohican River out our windshield.

Smiths Campground 2

Smiths Campground 3

Smiths Campground 4


On the other bank we’re starting to see more and more trees in Fall foliage.

Smiths Campground 5

Later after we got parked and set up, George came by to give us a few brochures on things to do in this area. And after a nice nap we headed over to Amy and George’s house for dinner about 5 pm. And even nicer, we found they had left a golf cart for our use in getting over to their house and back. Now that’s service.

We had a great dinner with Amy, George, and her father Jim. We don’t often get a home-cooked meal on the road.

But even better was the great we had getting to know them and talking about the RV life.

Finally about 8 pm with Jan starting to nod off, we made our way back to our rigs And since it was dark by now, we really appreciated the golf cart.

Tomorrow we may go into Loudonville and check out the Street Fair going on in town.

Or we may not.


Thought for the Day:

I am still looking for that box I am supposed to think out of.



Gate Guarding near North Zulch in east Texas

October 4, 2014

Savoring the Moment(s) . . .

Well, today was our first day off in 5 weeks and boy, are we tired.

Our relief guard, Charlotte, showed up about 9am, right on schedule, even though I kind of gave her bad directions on how to get here. But that wasn’t really my fault either.

I told her to come 2 miles down the road and then turn in where she saw two oil rigs. But what I didn’t know was that since I went into town last Thursday, one of the rigs had packed up and left town. Nobody told me.

After Jan and I showed Charlotte where everything was, and the logging requirements here on our gate, we headed out . . . in the wrong direction. Rather than leaving, we first drove further into our gate area to get a better idea where all the different sites are located (we got six more pads back there). We’ve been giving guys directions to sites back in there, but pretty much based on hearsay, not having really seen the layout. So this was a good chance to do it.

Finally reversing course, we headed back out our gate and over to Bryan/College Station for the day. Our first stop was IHOP to grab a quick bit of breakfast, but the ‘quick’ bit was out. They were very crowded with a 30+ minute wait. I’ve seen this plenty of times on Sunday morning, but never a Saturday.

After deciding we didn’t want to spend any of our short time off waiting on a table, we moved down the road to a close-by Jack in the Box for what turned out to be really good breakfast burritos.

Our next stop was a nearby Great Clips so Jan could get her hair cut. And as usual while on a gate, she got it cut kind of short so she won’t have to worry about it for a while. For my part, I got in a nice nap in the car while I was waiting for her.

Naps are nice.

With that taken care, we stopped off right next door at a Kroger’s to get some sugar-free bread and butter pickles that they carry. It’s a Kroger house-brand that Jan really likes, so we stocked up with several jars. We also picked up some Cranberry Orange and Lemon Poppy Seed muffins to have for breakfast the next few days. Yumm!

With that taken care of, we headed further south on Hwy 6 to the Sam’s Club to pick up Jan’s prescriptions and a few other things. Leaving the store, I filled up the truck at the Sam’s gas station and was pleasantly surprised to find unleaded for $2.95 a gallon. Well, as pleasantly surprised as you can be paying almost $3 a gallon, since I remember being able to fill the 10 gallon tank in my 1965 Triumph Spitfire for $2.50, or even $1.50 if there was a gas war going on.

By the time we finished up with all this, it was about 12:15, and since we planned on making a 1pm showing of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy ‘, we headed over in that direction, which happened to be right down the street from the Kroger’s we just left earlier. Oh, well.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is the latest from the Marvel comic book universe, and one I wasn’t familiar with, since it didn’t first come out until1969, a few years after I put comics aside.

I discovered girls. And girls were better than comics.

Much better. But I digress.

Back in the late 50’s – early 60’s I was really into comic books. The first ones were from the DC comic world, i.e. Superman, Batman, Flash, and Green Lantern, etc.  But then in the early 60’s new comics started appearing in the rotating racks in Wright’s Drugs and Stacey’s Drugs in Foley, AL.

These were Marvel comics, with titles like Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Hulk, Iron Man, X-Men, Thor, Doctor Strange, Captain American, and the Silver Surfer. Names that people know today from the movies, but I remember when they first appeared in print.

One of the things different about Marvel heroes was that they had problems. Not problems like how to defeat the latest undefeatable villain in this month’s issue. But real-world kind of problems, too. And flaws.

Peter Parker, Spiderman’s teenaged alter ego, couldn’t get a date for the prom. Iron Man had a heart condition, Matt Murdock, the Daredevil, was blind, and the teams, like the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Avengers, etc., fought among themselves almost as much as they battled the latest bad guy. They had angst, and lots of it.

But the really sad part to this story is that I owned all of these first issues of Marvel comics. I bought every one with my lawnmowing business money and my shoeshine income at the local barbershop.

I owned Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spiderman. I held it in my hands.

And in 2011 a copy sold at auction for $1.1 million.

Of course a copy of the first Superman comic recently sold for over $3.2 million. But it came out in 1938, a little before my time.

Other Marvel first appearance comics from that era sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I owned them all. So why aren’t we rich? Why don’t we buy a new Prevost every year, you know, just because?

When I went off to college in the fall of 1966, my mother cleaned out my closet and threw them all away.


Oh, well. Back to the movie.

It was really good. OK, OK. A little more.

Since this was basically an ‘origins’ movie, they had to take some time to set things up, give you some ideas about the characters and their backgrounds. But once the action started, it was pretty much nonstop. In fact RunPee, the app that tells you the best places in a movie to take a bathroom break, said there are no good places in Guardians, just some that aren’t as bad as others.

If anything, I enjoyed the movie more because I didn’t know anything about the storyline. The movie has a lot of twists and turns, and you’re not always sure who the bad guy is at any one time.

Summing up, a lot of humor, a lot of action, and a plot reveal at end that probably sets up the next movie. And there will be next one. This one made too much money.

And hey, any movie with Glenn Close in it has to be good.

Getting out of the movie about 3:30 we decided to have an early dinner at the Cotton Patch Café. We’d heard it advertised on the radio and decided to give it a try. And it turned out to be very good.

Kind of close between Black-Eyed Pea and Cheddars, it’s a comfort food sort of place. Jan had the Chicken Fried Chicken and I had the Pot Roast with carrots and potatoes. Both excellent, and large enough portions that we had plenty to bring home for supper tomorrow night. And that left room for Jan and I to share a piece of their delicious Coconut Cream Pie.

With our tummy’s full, now was the time to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. Cuts down on those impulse, I’m starving, I need this 5lb. bag of potato chips, kind of purchases.

Finally heading home about 6pm we had enough time to stop at the big gas station/ convenience store in North Zulch. We’d noticed before that, like the Exxon station down in Whitsett we patronized the last two years, this one too had fried chicken, many types of burritos and tacos, pizzas, and a lot more. And they keep it fresh 24 hours a day, because they get round-the-clock business from all the rigs around here. Otherwise the nearest hot food/supplies are 15 to 25 miles away, depending on which way you go.

Jan was talking to the young lady who runs the food counter and mentioned we were gate guards and just want to check out their selection for later. She ask where we were located, and when I told her, it turns out she lives on our road. Jan gave her our sympathy, with all the trucks going in and out.

Getting home, we unloaded everything and sent Charlotte on her way. She did a great job working our gate, and took real good care of things. In fact we have a tentative date for her to work our gate again on Oct 25th, Jan’s birthday. Hopefully it’ll work out.

We (especially Jan) really enjoyed our day off, but both agreed it would be kind of good to be back on the gate just to rest up.

Goofing off for the day can be tiring.


Thought for the Day:

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell



October 4, 2015

This and That . . .

Well, the word on the street is that our frack will wind down sometime the middle of this week. Or at least that’s the latest rumor. Of course they’re broke down right now, so who knows. The longer, the better as far as we’re concerned.

I came out a little early this afternoon so that I could take care of a few things. First up, after dropping our garbage off at the trash trailer at the pad, I wanted to reposition the most recent Mighty Mule Driveway Alarm we installed, the one catching the trucks leaving the pad and coming back our way.

While the first one I installed, for the trucks coming in, has been rock stable and never misses, this one has been somewhat flakey to say the least. It regularly misses vehicles coming out, leaving us to be surprised when a truck pulls up in front here, because we’re trying to catch the log up and get everything written down.

I think most of the problem is that fact that it’s located at the extreme range of the system. I know on this end, the receiver is very sensitive about where it’s located. A couple of feet can mean the difference between it working and not working, even though I can put my head next to the receiver and see the sensor down the road. So I don’t think it’s a ‘line of sight’ problem. And even stranger, it works better when it’s mounted at the rear of the canopy, and not closer to the sensor.

So what I did was just move it about 30 feet closer to us. Unlike the other sensor, this one’s out in the open since there’s no trees or bushes around to hide it.

New Mule Location

The white blob at the base of the pole is a sheet of paper in a Ziploc bag telling what it is and who it belongs to.

And based on the rest of the afternoon, it looks like this may have fixed the problem. We’ll see.

Since we know our operation is close to finishing up, while I was out and about I thought I’d try to check out the new site. Or at least where I thought the new site was. We don’t know if we’re moving with the frack crew yet, but just to be on the safe side, I wanted to see if there was a decent place for us to park the rig in case we do move.

I had been told two different possible locations, but I quickly eliminated the first one. I was just a heavily rutted dirt road, and there was no way you’re going to get big rigs in there.

The second one was more promising, with a good gravel road like we’re on right now, and a lot of production wells along the way. But when the road ended in a pad about 3/4 of a mile, it looked like this site was already done, and also in production.

Maybe New Site

Plus there was a big pipeline header off to the side.

Maybe New Site Pipeline Header

So it certainly didn’t look like they were getting ready to frack here. So I’ll have ask around some more.

Finished up, if you use the Square credit card reader on your smartphone, be sure you’re signed up to receive your new reader. The new one reads the ‘chipped’ cards, and will be required soon. And at some point your old one will quit working.

The new one does not plug into your phone, but is now separate and connects via Bluetooth. Check it out.


Thought for the Day:

For every computer error there are two human errors, one of which is blaming the problem on the computer.



October 4, 2016

I Should Have Done This Sooner . . .

But I think that every time will be the last time.

After our laid-back coffee and muffins this morning, and then some website stuff, I headed into Conroe and the Home Depot for some wood to construct a platform to ride on top of my floor dolly. This will raise the washer high enough so that it will be at the right height to just slide the washer into its cubby.

I bought a 2 x 4 stud and had them cut six 10” pieces off of it. I also got a 2’ x 2’ piece of plywood and had them cut it in half, giving me two 2’ x 1’ pieces.

Dolly Platform 1

Next I nailed together 2 stacks of 3 pieces and placed them on the dolly , and then nailed the 2 plywood pieces on top of that. The platform is not attached to the dolly, but just sits on top of it.

Dolly Platform 2

Back inside, Jan and I got the washer up on the platform and rolled it into place. After hooking up the water, power, and drain, I installed the new dryer vent tube.

Washer Vent Tube

The old one was starting to get a little tattered so I got a new one the other day as well. Then it was just a matter of pushing the dolly against the opening and shoving the washer in. Now it’s a piece of cake.

I should have done this sooner.

As a first quick test, I let some water into the empty washer and then put it spin mode to be sure it emptied without a problem. When it did, I ran a full wash load through, again with no problems.

So now with the washer done, I finally was able to install the new screen door catch my son Chris had fabricated for me,

The old one, or what’s left of it, looked like this.

Old Screen Door Catch

and the new one like this.

New Screen Door Catch Installed

It was a perfect fit and works great. So we have a usable screen door now.


Thought for the Day:

“You know there’s a problem in the schools when you realize that out of the three Rs, only one actually begins with an R.” — Dennis Miller



October 4, 2018

Jan and I Got Ours . . .

Did you get yours?

Since we had hitched up and prepped everything last night, all I had to do this morning was to disconnect shore power and put the key in the truck ignition and unlock the steering wheel before we pulled out of our site at Poche’s RV Park about 8:30 am and were on our way.

Poche's Sunset

One of our favorite parks.

I was dreading the usual mess going through Baton Rouge, but it turned out to be relatively painless, at least as far as Baton Rouge goes. The only real slowdown was coming up the hill and through the I-10/I-110 interchange, and that was mostly because drivers tried to jump ahead in the right lane, only to find that the right lane was an Exit Only and then they had to slow things down by trying to get back over.

If everyone just got in the left lane and stayed there, it would move a lot faster.

With all the rig windows open and the fans going, it was really comfortable.

We pulled into the Escapees’ Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, AL about 2:30, and got parked and set up.

Escapees Summerdale Site 38

The sites are wide, and the back in was smooth and easy. It’s our first time to stay here, though we have visited friends here before. But it will probably be our main stop here in this area from now on.

About 3:30 we drove down to Foley to have a late lunch at one of our favorites, Lambert’s Throwed Rolls. We’ve eaten here multiple times since this one opened in 1996. And in the last few years we’ve manage to eat at the other two, the one in Ozark, MO in 2008 while we were staying in Branson, and the one in Sikeston, MO in 2012.

Jan and I both had the Hamburger Steak, smothered in gravy with onions, mushrooms, and peppers. I got mine with Turnip Greens and Green Beans, while Jan got hers with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans.

And of course, the Pass-Arounds. Fried Okra, Black-Eyed Peas, Potatoes and Onions, Macaroni and Tomatoes, and Sorghum and Apple Butter for the rolls.

Ah, Yes. The Rolls. Hot, soft, and the size of a softball, arcing overhead through the banners and pennants hanging from the rafters. But not always dodging everything.

The first one that came my way from the other side of the dining room ricocheted off a hanging light fixture and disappeared into the crowd. But I got with next two with no problems.

Well, except for the fact that they were so hot and fresh that they were almost too hot to hold.

And as usual, between the large portions and the Pass-Arounds . . . and the rolls, of course, we took half our meal home with us.

Really delicious, as usual.

And in case you’re wondering why no photos of all the delicious food, I managed to forget my phone when we left the rig, so just use your imagination and discuss among yourselves.

Yesterday, at 1:18 CDT Jan and I got a phone call from the President. Did you get yours?

Yesterday was the fourth nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, and the first one that included cellphones. But not all cellphone providers are participating yet, so you may not have gotten one.

Maybe next time.

Thought for the Day:

I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.



October 4, 2019

The Simplest of Things.

I spent most of today at my clients trying to get a new Bixolon Label Printer hooked up to our UPS WorldShip computer. UPS sent them out about a week ago and said to connect them up and then send the old one back ASAP.

But after following all the instructions, loading the drivers from the CD, and configuring the settings, it didn’t work. But after going through 4 people that didn’t speak English, or at least any English I could understand, and then getting relayed through 3 more operators, I finally got someone who told me how to configure it to almost work.

He said the problem is actually with the WorldShip program itself, and they shouldn’t have sent the printers out this early. So we’ll have to wait for the final update to get everything working.

But on a high note, I did finally fix the networking problem I’ve been fighting for the last week. Turns out that it was a setting in the Administrative Tools/Services folder called Functional Discovery Resource Publication. The default is for it to be set to RUN, but it was OFF. And turning it ON fixed the problem.

Don’t know why it wasn’t turned on like it should have been.

It’s often the simplest things.

Thought For The Day:

The number of hunting licenses sold in the United States last year was greater than the ten biggest armies in the world combined.




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