A New Addition To Our Family?

First off, thanks for all of your kind comments about last night’s blog where I laid out the timeline on how the whole post-election process actually works. I appreciate it.

Well, it looks like come December 31st it will be adios DirecTV. That’s when our suspension period runs out and then we’ll drop it completely.

Jan and I are both very happy with our replacement service, streaming through YouTubeTV and other services. We’ve got unlimited DVR recording limits, and could actually be recording dozens of shows at one time.

And even better, it’s less than half the price of DTV.

Between our home and then the RV we’ve had DirecTV since 1998 when I installed our first dish. Then I installed one for a friend, and then another one, and suddenly I had a profitable side gig installing their systems.

And since I got my start installing the big Scientific-Atlanta 10m (33 feet) satellite dishes that had to be lifted into place with a crane, like this one,

10m SatDish

the 18” DirecTV ones were a piece of cake.

But it dried up in a couple of years because DirecTV was getting so many complaints from their storefront dealers being undercut by us freelancers that they started only selling wholesale to the storefront operations.

But it was fun while it lasted.



Thought For The Day:

It is an intelligent man that is aware of his own ignorance.

  

 


November 9, 2011

Harland and Sonny . . .

About noon, Jan and I headed out for the real reason we came this way on our trip back to Texas. We wanted to visit Visone Auto Mart, an RV Surplus/Junkyard.

I thought I might check and see if they had any Source Manager / Source Manager II inverters for a good price that would fit in my American Eagle.

I had called about a week ago and was told they had several of both units in stock. However when we got there I was told that they didn’t have any.

Well, they had one, but it was burnt and half-melted. And since it was pouring down rain when we got there, we didn’t take time to walk around through the many crashed and burnt-out rigs.

By then it was getting close to 1:30 so we make the drive further south into Corbin, KY, the birth place of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

But our destination for lunch wasn’t KFC, but probably our favorite BBQ chain, Sonny’s BBQ. It was as delicious as always, and with each of us getting one of their big plates, we had enough to take home for supper.

Hmmmmm!  Good!

Leaving Sonny’s we drove on into Corbin to visit the first Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Harland Sanders opened his first restaurant here as part of a gas station in 1930. By 1937 the restaurant had expanded to 142 seats and was listed in Duncan Hines “Adventures in Good Eating” guide book.

KFC

Today the building is still a KFC, and also a museum.

Although Colonel Sanders sold the company in 1964, he stayed on as company spokesman until his death from leukemia in 1980.

In the spring of 1967, I worked at the first Kentucky Fried Chicken that was opening in Athens, AL. At that time, the Colonel still visited every new store that opened and I got to meet him, and have my picture taken with him.

On our way home we made a quick Wal-Mart stop before heading back to the rig.

Tomorrow we have a 300 mile run to Athens, AL where we’ll stay for 3 days to visit relatives before we head down to Gulf Shores, AL for a few days.

And it sounds like we’re staying right ahead of the snow. The Louisville, KY radio stations are talking about snow in the next couple of days.

So we’re headin’ south.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Thought for the Day:

“Remember, if you’re in a fair fight, your tactics suck.”

 

 

 


November 9, 2012

Two More Days . . .

Jan was on the 3rd day wind-down from a migraine so we just took it easy again today. She napped and read a little and I did some computer stuff.

I did come across a couple of neat Android apps. Actually both do the same thing. One is called Bathroom Finder and the other is called SitOrSquat.

Both show you where the nearest public restroom is. And if you know of one that isn’t in their database you can add it. You can also sort for things like Baby Changing Tables, etc.

SitOrSquat is sponsored by Charmin, so I guess they kind of have a vested interest in the whole thing. Check’em out. You never know when you might need it.

We have Direct TV in our coach with the East Coast/West Coast Network Stations, and I’ve noticed that lately we’ve started getting targeted commercials on some of the cable channels like TLC, H2, TNT, etc.

By targeted, I mean commercials that are local to our DirecTV billing address, in our case the Houston area. We’ve seen commercials for Houston car dealers, Houston restaurants, Galveston attractions, etc. And I’ve never seen any for businesses in other areas. Just the normal national ones. They’re getting so specific I expect them to call me by name any day now.

After lunch I started looking at another rig problem. When we got ready to leave for Gulf Shores the other day I discovered that my step will not retract. It doesn’t even try.

I discovered the problem right before we left when I went back outside after I had started the engine. I noticed that when I shut the door, the step didn’t retract.

If the engine is running and the door is closed, the step should retract. And then it should extend when the door is opened. Without the engine running it can be manually controlled by a switch by the door.

The step mechanism is pretty quiet and it’s hard to hear it run from inside with the engine running, so I wasn’t exactly sure when it started acting up.

So I downloaded the Kwikee Step manual from online, and after reading it over, went outside with my meter to take some voltages. Sliding under the rig, I found that there wasn’t really a problem with the step itself. There was no 12V coming to it.

Going to my coach manuals I found there are two fuses that feed power to the step mechanism, and they’re located in . . . the Battery Control Center. The Battery Control Center that I’m already having problems with. Checking the fuses I found they weren’t blown, there was just no voltage going to the fuses. Part of the buss inside the BCC was dead.

And now I knew when the step started acting up. It died when the BCC started acting up Wednesday night/Thursday morning, Oct 31st/Nov 1st. while we were parked at the Cane 9 Creek RV Park in Heflin, AL.

I know when it died because it was all working when we parked. I shut the engine off while I was registering and it started back up fine. And the step came out. Then there was some confusion about which site we were going to, and after parking the first time, I cranked up and moved again. So it work then. And after I finally parked, the step came out.

And it was still working at that point, otherwise the step wouldn’t have extended. This means that the BCC died sometime during the night, since when I turned the key the next morning it didn’t work. And I didn’t notice that the step wasn’t working then.

So it seems I don’t have two problems, just one – the BCC.

Monday I’ll give the tech that American Coach recommended a call and see what he thinks. I may end up not doing anything with it until we get back to Houston. I will however do some temporary wiring so I can retract and extend the step until then.

Since Jan was now feeling a lot better, she decided she wanted some charred red meat, so we drove up to the mall on the north side of the canal to have dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse.

I think I’ve pretty much decided that this is my favorite chain steakhouse, better than Outback or Texas Roadhouse. More consistently a better piece of meat, and they always manage to sear it so that the edges are burnt crispy-crunchy.

Jan had the Flat Iron Steak and I had the Bone-In Outlaw Ribeye. Both really, really good.

BTW, why is it OK to gnaw on the bones when you’re eating ribs, fried chicken, or chicken wings, but people look at you funny when you pick up your steak bone and get the last of the meat off.

I didn’t do it, but I sure wanted to. But then Jan would have given me “The Look”. And every married guy knows what “The Look” means.

After that great meal we drove across the parking lot to Books-A-Million. Didn’t find any books, but I did see this shirt.

Soift Kitty Shirt

The “Two More Days” in this blog title refers to how many actual travel days we have left for this year. A week from tomorrow we will head for Galveston Bay RV Park with a stopover in Breaux Bridge, LA for the night.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Thought for the Day:

Government Health Care:

The efficiency of the DMV –

The customer service of the Post Office –

And the compassion of the IRS.

What could be better?

 

 

 


November 9, 2014

I’m Wildly Popular . . .

At least with Hackers in Eastern Europe!

Our frack has pretty much wrapped up with the last of the equipment going out this afternoon. At the same time, the flow-back equipment was coming in, which made for some interesting standoffs in traffic.

Frack Equipment Staging

Frack Equipment Leaving

Flow-back is basically the removal of fracking fluids, mostly water, from a well after it has been fracked, and prior to being put into production. Because this fluid all has to be trucked out by tanker, this means we’re still doing 7-8 log pages a day, i.e 180 vehicles in, and of course, out.

Here is a short article about a Flow-Back Supervisor.

Six Figures When I Was 20

Several readers had asked about our ‘Alaska’ coats that we wear at night when it’s 30-40 degrees here on the gate. Here’s what ours looks like.

Alaska Coat

I forgot to mention the other day that, in addition to being water-proof, fleece-lined, insulated, and hooded, it’s also reversible, and the hood zips off. And they’re machine washable too.

As it turns out, they’re available on Amazon, and for less than the price of $35 we paid 6 years ago.

Cheneral Jacket

Scuba Dive Flag Adult Reversible Fleece / Water Resistant Jacket

Although this has the scuba dive flag on it, it’s exactly the same jacket, and very warm. Just tell everyone you’re a diver, and talk about your latest trip to Cozumel.

I’m apparently very popular with Eastern European hackers. At least that’s the only reason I can figure for the fact that they keep trying to break into this blog site.

I get these warning emails 10-15 times a day.

2 failed login attempts (1 lockout(s)) from IP: 196.37.52.130
Last user attempted: admin
IP was blocked for 240 minutes

When they get two of these from same IP address, they’re then locked out for 48 hours. In this case, they’re not even using the right user name. And my password is just 15 characters of random garbage, i.e. f$B(*^Dg24, so they’re never going to guess it. But they’re using 100’s of different IP address so they can keep trying.

What I can’t figure out is why they want into the blog. It’s not like I have any credit card number s or anything. So what do they want?

I’ve become convinced that there’s some kind of ‘Bee Dispatch System’. Or maybe an ‘Insect Dispatch’ one in general. I first became convinced of this on a gate a couple of years ago when we had an infestation of flies for a couple of weeks.

For the last few days, we’ve had a couple of ‘sweat bees’ flying around here, getting in our face, and just being a general annoyance. In fact it was a sweat bee that I bit into in my drink the other day.

Sweat Bee

So what I want to know is why, like today, that we can have two sweat bees flying around all afternoon. Just two. Then, finally, I manage to kill them both. And believe me, sweat bees aren’t easy to kill, Unlike flies, sweat bees don’t land very often, and if they do, not for long. So you mostly have to swat them out of the air, like hitting a zig-zagging tennis ball. So finally I kill them both . . . and 10 minutes later I’ve got two more.

Where did they come from? How did they know there was an opening for two sweat bees, a vacancy, so to speak?

I spent the rest of the afternoon killing two sweat bees at a time, until finally, the last time, only one showed up. And after him, no more.

I guess I had exhausted the sweat bee supply. Or maybe no more bees would take the assignment from Bee Dispatch.

“OK, all you bees listen up. We’ve got an opening in sector K4 for two sweat bees. No bumbles or honeys needed. Numbers 4,124,243 and 4,124, 244, we need you to move out immediately.”

“Geez, Sarge, that’s the 4th ‘opening’ today. That’s a suicide mission. Can’t you get somebody else? Me and 4,124, 244 here, ‘Bob’ as I call him, we’re the last of our family.

“What can I say? It’s been a rough week. No more excuses. Move out.”

“But Sarge, Bob here has a wife and kids.”

“Whatta mean? You’re a drone. You can’t have kids. Actually, not sure if you can have a wife either.”

“It’s a common-bee marriage, and anyway, we’re thinking of adopting. Got our eyes, all 10 of them, on a nice little worker bee.”

“Shut up and move it. And remember the hive motto. ‘Come back with your wings, or on them.

I’m sorry. It’s lonely at night on the gate.

________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

 

 

 


November 9, 2015

It’s Amazing I’m Still Alive . . .

Well, unlike recent days, we couldn’t have had a much nicer day. Sunny, with a high of 70, and down into the low 50’s at night. Just about perfect gate weather. But unfortunately we supposedly have some more rain moving in on Wednesday. But then after that it looks to be back to nice for a few days.

I’m just really hoping for nice weather weekend after next when we’ll start breaking down our little encampment here. Not to mention any problems we might have getting the rig off the grass/dirt and back on the road.

I’ve made a list up of things that need to be done before we leave and portioned it out over the last week so I don’t forget something and leave a bunch of stuff to the last minute.

The vehicle count here on the gate has dropped back a little during the last few days. A week ago we were getting about 60 vehicles a day in through the gate, but since then it seems to have settled to a steady 35 to 40. Very nice.

We have the same six guys, three on each 12 hour shift, and then the rest are the tankers hauling out the flowback water. The crew shift changes around 4:15, with three coming in, and the other three going home. But the tankers don’t really have a schedule. We may have four coming one right after the other, and then leave pretty much together 30 or so minutes later. So I guess there must be multiple valves, (spigots? teats?) for them to all hook up and fill together.

After those four leave, it may be 45 minutes before we get another one, just one, and then 30 minutes later, another one. So we never know how many or when.

But you know for sure you’ll get a tanker come in when you go inside to go the bathroom.

I got my replacement transfer switch on its way today. Hopefully it will be here by Friday. They were nice enough to send me the new one with just a credit card number, and then I’ll send the bad one back. That way we’ll only be without shore power for 15 minutes or so while I swap them out.

Then while we’re still off shore power I’ll crank up the generator and be sure it switches over like it’s supposed to, since that was the original problem of only switching over to the generator if we were still hooked up to shore power.

After a blog post a couple of days ago talking about some project or other, or several, I was working on, blog reader Jan Mains left me a comment wondering if my brain ever shuts down, even when I’m sleeping.

In fact, No.

Here’s what I told her.

Jan,

No, I don’t think part of it ever sleeps. In fact I’ve come up with some great ideas while I was sleeping. But I usually forget to write down the building instructions immediately after I wake up, and it all ends up lost in the very dark mists of my mind.

Very, very dark mists.

But so far I’ve invented the following in my sleep:

A way to generate unlimited free power using a gallon of seawater, a banana, and two ‘D’ batteries.

A time machine using a Commodore 64, a blue shower curtain, and a Briggs & Stratton lawnmower engine.

An interstellar warp drive using a ’54 Buick Roadmaster, a 5 gallon bucket, and a German Shepherd.

Oh, and the shower curtain has to be blue. Any other color and it won’t work.

You might think I’m kidding about these, but I can see them functioning in my mind like I’m watching them on TV. I just can’t quite remember how to build them.

Supposedly Nikolai Tesla could design entire inventions completely in his head, testing and refining them until they worked perfectly. And then when he built them, they worked perfectly in real life too.

Me, not so much.

One idea I did write down is a do-it-yourself key-making machine (© 2012 Greg White,™, ®, Pat. Not Pending), that will duplicate any key of almost any type, does not need 100’s of different key blanks, and lets you put any pattern or design on the head, or bow, of the key (that’s the part you hold).

You can have this idea for free, as long as I get a 10 cents a key royalty on every one made in every machine. Go for it. It really won’t be that hard to build. Mostly off-the-shelf parts.

But as far as everything else goes, I do find that if I’m stuck on a problem, I just put it aside for an hour, a day, or a week, and usually a solution will come bubbling to the top.

But I’ve been inventing, designing, or building things as long as I can remember. As a kid, I invented some very useful things, only to find out that someone else had beat me to it.

Sometime in the early 50’s when I was six or so, and we were living on the beach at Gulf Shores, AL, we got our first television set. We would have gotten one earlier, but there were no TV stations in the area. But finally two stations, WALA and WKRG, went on the air in Mobile, AL (and why the heck I remember those call signs, I have no idea). Since they were about 50 miles away we had a tall, directional antenna to pick them up.

Then a little later, WEAR went on the air in Pensacola, FL. It was a little closer, but directly opposite the Mobile stations. So if we wanted to watch Ch. 3 in Pensacola, my father would have to go outside and turn the antenna around.

I began to wonder why you couldn’t hook up a electric motor to turn the antenna pole instead of doing it by hand. Now the only electric motor I had access to was the one that came with my A.C. Gilbert Erector Set, the big one that had everything in it, enough stuff that I think I could have built another Eiffel Tower if I tried. And if I knew what the Eiffel Tower was when I was six.

Besides all the gears and stuff, the set came with four large metal wheels that you could use to make motorized trucks and stuff. Using those, all the other gears in the set, and as I remember, a belt and pulley from an old Coca Cola drink case compressor, I finally managed to get that Erector Set motor to turn the antenna pole.

The only problem was that the motor had to be so geared down that it took around an hour and a half to turn the antenna 180 degrees. Not very useful.

But I was very proud of what I had done, and was getting ready to show it to my father when a problem arose. My father later said he knew something was up when I came running wild-eyed into the motel office, grabbed the fire extinguisher off the wall and ran back out the door. At this point, he of course was right behind me.

The problem was that this small electric motor was not really designed to run for 90 minutes, non-stop, under an extremely heavy load.

And it had burst into flames.

While I was trying to get the extinguisher to work, my father, seeing what was happening, just reached over and unplugged the motor from the extension cord. He said I had tears in my eyes as I watched my prized motor melt down into slag.

When I told him what I was trying to do, he just smiled and said, “Come on. Get in the car.” An hour or so later, we were in Mobile buying an antenna rotor system. That’s when I found out someone had already invented it before me.

Oh, and on the way home we stopped at Sears and I got a brand-new Erector Set motor.

So as you can see, I got an early start in all this. But it was only the beginning.

Maybe sometime I’ll tell you the whole story about how when I was 13, a friend of mine and I got a beat-up wooden fishing boat, an old 36hp VW engine, and a 4ft aircraft propeller we bought at an Army Surplus store, and made our own airboat. Or tried to.

Unfortunately the boat wasn’t quite up to the strain, the transom broke off from the weight of the engine while we were out on the Bon Secour River, and for a few seconds it looked like we were either going to be decapitated, or run through a very large blender.

Or there’s that cold Tuesday afternoon in November, when I fired up my newly-upgraded, high-powered laser, using a very large bank of capacitors, two xenon flash tubes, and a ruby laser rod. Here’s a basic diagram.

ruby3

I had noticed when I was charging up the capacitor bank that the lights in the dorm were really dimming down, so I was using a light  bulb as a shunt to slow the charge rate so I didn’t blow a fuse. But my first shot was so successful that I impatiently bypassed the shunt to speed up the charging for the next shot.

In hindsight, this was a mistake. But hey, I had just turned 17. Who has patience at 17?

When I fired off the laser the second time, the pulse of  the capacitor bank’s output partially fed back into the AC power supplying the two adjacent dorms and took out the transformer on the pole outside the dorm, causing it to shut down in a shower of sparks.

This then overloaded the already marginal electrical system feeding the 60 year old campus, blacking out everything a few second later. And apparently this led to sporadic outages around town for the next few hours.

While I was trying to figure out how I was going to talk my way out of this one, a friend came running into my room with the big news on his transistor radio.

Now most people seem to think that an overloaded relay on a main power line in upstate New York caused the Great Northeast Blackout of November 9th, 1965, but a lot of people in Columbia, TN think differently.

See, and you just thought I was weird.

Now you know for sure.

________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

Never throw anything away.

Everything will have a use someway, somehow, someday.

But you won’t realize it until you throw it away.

 

 

 


November 9, 2016

Flashburger . . .

The weather has finally cooled, hopefully to stay, at least for this winter. Today’s high was only 72 degrees with a heavy overcast and spritzing rain, and with 54 degrees scheduled for tonight. Very Nice.

One of the first things I did this afternoon was to dig out the spare Thermal Over-Heat fuse for my Splendide washer/dryer. I ordered two fuses back in 2013 so I would have a spare one.in case it happened again. And luckily it was right where I thought it was.

I just hope it’s that easy.

Jan and I headed out about 2pm to have lunch and do some shopping. Our lunch stop was Flashburger, a place we’ve heard about, but not yet visited. But based on what we’ve heard, we were looking forward to it.

And we were not disappointed. We now have a new favorite burger place in Kenedy, edging out RJ’s, our previous #1. And Flashburger ranks right up there in our top 5 or so burgers ever.

Jan got their Regular Burger with Cheddar Cheese, Sautéed Mushrooms, Grilled Onions, Tomatoes, Mustard and Ketchup.

Flashburger Jan

I went with the El Jefe, one of their Magnificent 7pre-configured burgers. It comes with Two Patties, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, A Fried Egg, Lettuce, and their Flash sauce, kind of a spicy Thousand Island.

I added Tomatoes, Onions,  and Mayo. And it looked like this.

Flashburger Greg El Jefe

We also shared an order of their Bacon Pesto Parmesan Fries.

Flashburger Bacon Pesto Parmesan Fries

The burgers were perfect, with hand-formed patties, grilled until the edges are slightly crunchy. The buns are buttered and also grilled until the insides are toasty, and crispy. Not only is this delicious but it means that even though it’s a large burger, it holds together as you eat it, and doesn’t fall apart along the way.

The only thing Jan missed from RJ’s Burgers was the Fried Onion Rings that she usually gets. But she said the Fries and Burgers were delicious enough to bring Flashburger out on top.

We’ll definitely go back.

Our next stop was at the Hardware Store/Lumberyard right down the road. I wanted to get a 2’ x 2’ piece of 1/4” plywood to stack on top of the dolly platform that I used to pull out the washer and move it into the kitchen.

Dolly Platform 2

It needs to be slightly taller to make it a little easier to push the washer back in the cabinet. But the 2’ x 2’ piece needs to be cut down some more, and this place doesn’t do customer cuts, So I had been looking at jigsaws on Amazon, but thought I’d take a look at them while I was here.

And I found this Black & Decker Jigsaw for $2 cheaper than on Amazon so it came home with me too.

Black & Decker JigSaw

Now all I need is to get a picnic table on our site so I can work there.

Our final stop was the local Dollar General. Not very tidy with a lot of stuff thrown on the floor and around on the shelves.

Hopefully we’ll hear from Todd tomorrow about a gate.


Thought for the Day:

Never Interfere With an Enemy While He’s in the Process of Destroying Himself. – Napoleon

 

 



November 9, 2017

It Wasn’t My Fault, Really!

I just got word this afternoon that my uncle, Dr. Edward Calvin, died yesterday evening at the Alabama State Veteran’s Home in Huntsville. He was 89 years old.

Ed and Janic at Dot's Funeral

We had just seen him this past summer and it was obvious he was going downhill, but it’s always a shock anyway. He will be missed.

I titled yesterday’s blog, “They’re Baacckk!” and then forgot to tell you what was back.

Yesterday morning our AWOL Facebook emoticons suddenly reappeared. They just were back. At least until the next time they disappear.

I got an email a couple of days ago from Amazon telling me about their new Amazon Key service, which would let Amazon package deliverers drop off your orders right inside your front door, instead of on your doorstep where they can ‘walk’ off.

Although it sounds like a great idea, the Internet was abuzz about all the possible problems.

“Why would I ever let anyone in my house when I’m not there.”

“Why just anyone could come in my house.”

Of course I’m old enough to the remember leaving the back door unlocked so the milkman could put the dairy products in the fridge.

And how many times have you left the door unlocked so the AC repair guy could get in during the day. Or gave him a key that you hope didn’t get duplicated. Well, Amazon Key solves all those problems and more.

Amazon Key

It consists of a video/audio camera that lets you see and talk to who’s at your front door. Then if you’re satisfied, you can remotely unlock the door and let them in. So the housekeeper, repairman, dog walker, etc., can gain entrance with your permission. Again without passing out keys hither and yon, or leaving in under the mat or in the flower pot.

And just so someone can’t dress up in a brown uniform and pretend to deliver a package to get in your house, you get an email the morning of a delivery, and another one when he’s at the door. He then has to use his Amazon handheld scanner to unlock your door using a one-time code.

I don’t know, but it sounds pretty safe and convenient to me.

Again on the Amazon front, I just got in this new toy.

USB Charging Station

6 port 12amp USB Charging Station

With two phones, three Kindles, and a Galaxy Tab, we’re always looking for a outlet to plug in a charger cord, so this will be a big help.

With 6 ports and a full 2 amps on each port, it’s a fast charge on everything.

Fifty two years ago today, a number of people thought I caused the Great Northeast Blackout. But it wasn’t my fault, I swear, Well, maybe.

In 1965 I was 17 and a senior at Columbia Military Academy (CMA) in Columbia, TN. And for the Science Fair that year I had built a High Power Laser system

CMA was established in 1905, and most of the buildings, including my dorm, were built in the later 30’s, And the building wiring reflected that age.

I built up my laser using a Neodymium-Ruby laser rod,

Laser Rod

a spiral xenon flash tube, and a large high voltage power supply.

Laser Tube 2

My power supply was about the size of a small suitcase and had 12 of these 1000mf capacitors like this supply.

Laser Power Supply

I knew I was going to have a problem the very first time I turned it on and started charging up the caps for the first test. The wiring in the old building literally ‘moaned’. So I knew that this wasn’t going to work, and so I built up shunts for the power supply to slow the charge rate and reduce the power.

I had been working on it for a week or so without a lot of visible results. It would flash and fire, but that’s about it. You couldn’t see the beam unless you had smoke in the path, and we weren’t allowed to smoke in the dorm. I was able to pop balloons with it, but that wasn’t very impressive, at least to the other cadets.

Back then, lasers like mine were rated in ‘Gillettes’, as in how many Gillette razor blades would it burn through. In my case, at this point, the answer was none. I could only make a slight dimple in one blade.

So finally one Tuesday afternoon, after taking a lot of ragging, I decided to go for a full power test. But as a concession to the building wiring, I just removed one shunt and change the value of the other one to allow for a full charge, but over a longer period of time, in this cast, about three hours.

So when the meter showed a full charge, I was ready to go. But here’s where I made a mistake. I forgot to unplug the power supply from the wall outlet.

The problem with this is that when a capacitor setup like mine is discharged, it can send a back EMF voltage out through the input, i.e into the building wiring.

As I slammed the knife switch closed, there was a blinding flash, a loud ‘WHOOMP!’, and a shower of sparks at the target, looking something like this.

Laser Hit

And suddenly in my room, before filled with noisy cadets, it got very quiet . . .  and dark. The power was off in the building. And I quickly discovered that one of the two transformers that fed the entire school had blown, so I had knocked out power to half the campus.

Rut Roh!

As my roommate and I were hurriedly dismantling and packing away the laser system, and wondering how we were going to get out of this one (Ah, needless to say this wasn’t my first . . . indiscretion, let’s call it.), a cadet from across the hall came running in with his transistor radio and said, “Hell, White, you’re really in trouble now. You knocked out power all up and down the East Coast.”

Rut Roh!

So that’s what happened to me November 9, 1965. Jan was then an Air Force brat at Westover AFB in MA. She said they all thought it was either Russians or the Martians.”

Now the authorities will try to tell you that it was the failure of a 230 kilovolt power line near Ontario, Canada that failed and cascaded down south. But now you know the real story.

Oh, and the answer is 5.

My one and only full power test burned through 5 Gillette razor blades and dimpled a sixth.

The Word of the Day is: Arete


Thought for the Day:

“Eastasia has always been at war with Oceania.” – George Orwell

 

 

 


November 9, 2018

Guess It Was Just Too Gross . . .

Jan and I spent about an hour this morning entering all her medical history in her “Medical Passport” for her upcoming cataract surgery on Dec. 6th, with the right eye about a week later. What I don’t understand is why we keep having to enter the same info over and over for every different doctor and procedure.

They all ask for pretty much the same info, though sometimes in a different order or format. So you would think that they could work out a standard form that could be populated as needed from an encrypted database kept on your own computer.

In fact that’s what I thought was supposed to be part of the ObamaCare’s Medical Electronic Records section, but I guess not.

I spent the day at work split between trying to track down a bug in my Shipping Program, repairing a couple of machines that had come in yesterday, and adding a bunch of new products to our website/paper catalog.

The bug was that when you enter a shipment weight less than 10 pounds it would not print out the regular Priority Mail cost. But all the other prices were fine, and at weights greater than 10 pounds, everything worked fine.

Took me a little bit of debugging to figure out that the problem was when I was converting a string value (the package weight) to a numeric value for the zone chart lookup.

When I talked to them, Snider was trying to finish up our Dodge Dakota this afternoon, but I told them that we wouldn’t be able to pick it up until Tuesday afternoon anyway, so don’t stay late working on it.

For dinner tonight we finished off the last of the big batch of Chicken Veggie Soup that Jan made up on Wednesday.

Jan's Vegetable Soup

Next up for the upcoming cold weather, 38° later this week,  is either Chili or Chicken Tortilla Soup. All delicious.

Tomorrow we’re getting together with long-time friend’s Bob and Maria for lunch at our favorite King Food.

Really looking forward to it.


Thought for the Day:

You’ve probably seen the ‘Zombie In Love’ commercial running for the new LG V40 ThinQ Cellphone and its versatile camera.

Zombie Lost Arm 2

But have you noticed that the original version, where the guy zombie’s arm falls off, had disappeared from the TV? Here’s what it looked like.

Zombie Lost Arm

Now they cut the spot right before it happens. Check it out.

Guess it was just too gross and they got some complaints.

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