Thanksgiving Is Officially Over . . .

All the leftovers are gone now.

And it’s Day 2 without Internet.

As I mentioned yesterday, our park Internet WiFi went down about 10am and never came back up. I can connect and get an IP address, but there was no there there.

I was hoping that the problem had resolved itself this morning, but no such luck. We can still get online with our Verizon MiFi, and also by hotspotting our Samsung phones, but TV streaming really eats up the data. So we’ve been playing back old TV shows still stored on our DirecTV DVR.

Then about 10 I got on the phone trying to get a hold of someone in Xfinity/Comcast Tech Support so they could take a look at things from their end. And, unbelievably, after about 45 minutes of bouncing back and forth between phone numbers until finally I found Michelle, a very nice Tech Support person who knew what she was doing, and quickly figured out that I knew what I was talking about.

She was quickly able to connect to the park’s modem and run diagnostics and then do a full reboot on the system. But all to no avail. But once I knew that the Internet was making it into the park’s system, my next thought was that maybe it was just our local repeaters.

The 17 spaces that make up the park are all in one long line, with a repeater like this about every 3-4 sites.

Park WiFi Repeater

So, taking my Samsung tablet, I drove down to the front of the park and tried to connect.

With no luck. So I headed down toward the other end of the park, when I came across a lady coming out from the laundry. She turned out to the be the owner’s daughter who said that the WiFi was out park-wide and the local repair guy would be out tomorrow to fix it.

So now we wait.

For some reason, over the last few years it seems like I’ve been doing a lot of repairs on this date. So you get a lot of that in today’s blog.

Thought for the Day:

Paranoia is just having the right information. – William S. Burroughs




November 27, 2011

A Big Winner . . .

We decided to have breakfast out this morning so about 10 we headed up to Seabrook to the IHOP. As usual for a Sunday morning, we had a 20 minute wait before we got seated.

After breakfast we went next door the Home Depot to look at their Christmas ornaments. Jan was looking for some that might be Landon-proof for him to hang on the tree.

Next we stopped by Michael’s Craft’s in Webster to get a large wicker ball to wrap with LED lights to make a large ornament for the rig.

Wicker Ball

After Michael’s we headed over to Brandi’s for the afternoon. They just got back last night from their Thanksgiving in Oklahoma with Lowell’s parents.

And apparently Christmas came early this year for Lowell.

Slot Winnings

After winning over $700 at the slots, a little later he won an additional $3230.

A very nice Christmas indeed! And this is not the first time he’s won like this.

Jan, Brandi, Landon, and Lowell’s sister Sherry were going shopping while Lowell and I held down the fort (i.e. watched football).

Landon at Home

They came back several hours later with a lot of new clothes for Master Landon

A little later we headed home with a stop by Kroger’s for some lottery tickets. Maybe Lowell’s luck will rub off on me. Jan says she wants to take him with her the next time she plays Bingo.

Getting back to the park about sundown, the tide was out and with the offshore wind, the bayou was pretty empty with a lot mudflats showing.

Galveston Bay Mudflat Sunset 1

Galveston Bay Mudflat Sunset 2

Still a pretty view.

Thought for the Day:

“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”




November 27, 2012

Liquipel . . .

or Second Verse same as the First.

So yes, today was pretty much like yesterday. Goofing off in the morning, and then clients and errands in the afternoon.

My first visit was to another long term client who needs a couple of new computers and a laptop, and wants them installed, billed, and paid for, before the end of year. Tax Stuff.

Then it was on to another client to take a look at some network problems he’s having. Since he didn’t tell me what his problem was to start with, I’ll have to come back later with my test equipment. Looks like he’s getting some noise or interference on his lines that I’ll have to track down.

My next stop was at Home Depot to get prices on some 1×6 boards for my replacement trim project on our house. Looks like I’ll need about twelve 12 foot planks.

Then it was off to Brandi and Lowell’s to pick up the Thanksgiving leftovers that I forgot yesterday. Took some more time to look over the trim job on the house. Now all I need is to get the paint that I’ll need

Before heading home, my last stop was at Kroger’s to pick up my winning Powerball ticket. It’s now up over $500 million and may be higher by the time of the drawing tonight.

Getting home, Jan and I headed out for supper at Monterey’s Little Mexico, another of our favorite local places. And yes, that does make two nights in a row I’ve had Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner. So what?

Lastly, on the tech front, I’ve come across something for those of you who keep dropping your cellphones in the toilet.

And you know who you are.

It’s called Liquipel, and for about $60 they will completely waterproof your phone. Your phone is placed in a vacuum chamber and a nano-coating is deposited in vapor form on your phone. They do iPads too.

The only problem I see is that you’re without your phone for a week or so.

Check it out.

Thought for the Day:

“We lost our corkscrew in the wilds of Borneo and were forced to live on food and water for many days” – W.C. Fields




November 27, 2014

Hmmmmm! Gumbo!

About 10:30 this morning Jan and I headed down south to have Thanksgiving dinner with Chris, Linda, and Piper at their home in Friendswood. We were really looking forward to having Chris’ gumbo, but Jan wanted her gumbo, and turkey too.

So before we got onto I-45S we stopped off at the Conroe Cracker Barrel for a take-out order of Turkey and Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Carrots, and Pumpkin Streusel for dessert. So she’s all ready for her Black Friday Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow while she’s house/dog sitting.

But it’s only dog sitting, not puppy sitting. Nigel, the ‘Shorkie’, is going with Piper. So it’s just PJ, the Black Lab, and a guest dog to be named later.  BTW a Shorkie is a cross between a Miniature Schnauzer and a Yorkshire Terrier


A real cutie, too.

After a smooth trip with little traffic, we got to Chris’ about 12:30 and ate about an hour later.

Thanksgiving Gumbo

Chris’ gumbo is a combination, with shrimp, oysters, crab claws, and crab meat, as well as Andouille sausage for a little bite. Of course, he puts okra in there, and there’s a shaker of filé on the table too. You can’t get more authentic.

Thanksgiving Table

With rice and French bread, it was a real meal. And while Chris’ did the gumbo, Linda topped it all off with a batch of her Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce.

Really delicious!

Later, after fighting to stay awake after that great meal, I headed back up to Conroe for the night. I plan to do some work around the rig tomorrow before returning to Friendswood Saturday afternoon. We plan to have dinner with our friends Bob and Maria Saturday night, and then come back to the rig Sunday afternoon.

A very nice Thanksgiving weekend.

Thought for the Day:

Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity.




November 27, 2015

Grey Friday . . .

Overcast and it rained too. In fact this seems to be the start of rain every day for the next seven days or so. Not very conducive to the outside stuff I want to work on. But I did get a couple of things done inside that were on my list.

One of the things I’d been wanting to do was to install a fan speed switch on our front AC thermostat. I had installed one on the rear thermostat years ago, but we never needed one on the front unit, since in the larger area it needed to run wide open most of the time.

But our new Coleman Mach XV unit that I installed last August is over 10% higher in BTU’s (15,000 vs. 13,500) than our old Mach V, and in addition the fan in the new unit is more powerful. So what this means is that the new unit tends to short-cycle in milder weather.

This means that the unit doesn’t really run long enough to remove the maximum amount of moisture from the air. This is why the AC unit in your sticks & bricks needs to be correctly sized for your house.

If it’s too small, of course it won’t cool the house down enough. But if it’s too large, it cools the house down too quickly, without lowering the humidity, leaving you feeling cold and clammy.

In the case of the unit in the rig, the best thing to do is to slow the fan speed, so that’s what I wanted to take care of today.

On the thermostat in the bedroom I was able to mount the switch on the side of the case,

Bedroom Thermostat 1

but because of the little shelf that mounts around the front thermostat, this switch would have to be on the bottom.

I started out by cutting a small notch in the bottom lip of the case and then I SuperGlue’d the SPDT switch in place.

Front Thermostat Upgrade 1

Next I cut and stripped a small length of wire and soldered it to the center lug of the switch

Front Thermostat Upgrade 2

I then connected the red wire to the thermostat terminal strip and soldered the HI speed and LO speed wires to the switch.

Front Thermostat Upgrade 3

All I had to do now was reassemble everything, put the batteries back in and it was ready to go.

Front Thermostat Upgrade 4

I’ll leave it set on LO except in the summer when it’s the hottest. In addition, keeping it on LO cuts down on some of the noise from the fan, so it’s a two-fer.

Next up was to finish up the kitchen LED light upgrade I started last month after the two fluorescent tubes died in the kitchen fixture. I was short one strip so I just fixed it up temporarily until I could order more. Then we got busy on the gate so it got put off until now.

So this what I started with.

Kitchen Light Upgrade 1

I had just taped the LED strips to the plastic sheet and wired them up like this.

Kitchen Light Upgrade 2

So today I was going to add the last strip and tape all of them to the top of the fixture. The strips come with a peel-off adhesive backing that makes it easy to mount them up in the fixture. So after I wired in the new strip and got them all mounted, it looks like this.

Kitchen Light Upgrade 3

These six strips put out about 15% more light than the fluorescent tubes they replaced, and they’ll last a lot longer too. And I’ve now got enough strips to convert all the other fluorescent lights in the rig.

Here’s the ones I used, these Super Bright LED Light Strips and it looks like they’ve actually come down a couple of dollars, since they’re now $5.99 a set.

Wrapping up, Amazon has a couple of really good deals going on through Saturday. The amazing Kindle Fire tablet, normally $49, is on sale for only $35.

Kindle Fire Special

You can check it here: Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black

And even better, they’ve got the Amazon Echo, normally $179, on sale though Saturday for only $149.

Amazon Echo Special

Jan and I both love our Echo and it gets daily use here in the rig, and we even used it outside on the gate. I’ll have a review on ours in the next few weeks.


Thought for the Day:

Information is the currency of democracy. ~ Thomas Jefferson




November 27, 2017

Mirror, Mirror . . .

Our friend’s Janice and Dave Evens headed out this morning, on the way to Florida for a couple of months.

I got up early, about 8:30, to walk down with Jan to see them off, but she beat me to it by herself.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered Jan an extendable makeup mirror for the bathroom.

Extension Mirror

5X/1X Extension Mirror

It pulls out 30” and has both 1X and 5X magnifications.

But with all the holiday stuff going on I didn’t get around to installing it until yesterday in between Instant Pot stuff.

Or at least I tried.

After marking the holes and drilling them out, I inserted the plastic anchors that came with the mirror.

Makeup Mirror Install 1

I did notice that these anchors had no lips to keep them from pushing on through the wall.

Plastic Anchor

And as I thought, as soon as I tried to screw in the bracket the anchor pushed through and fell inside the wall. So, since I didn’t have any other anchors I was done for then.

Today on my way home from work, I stopped off at Lowe’s and got some of my favorite anchors, like these.

EZ Screw-in Anchors

I’ve used these for years and never had one fail or pull out on me. So it was quick work to push through the remaining old anchor and then screw in the new ones, using the original holes.

Makeup Mirror Install 3

Then it was quick work to mount the mirror bracket.

Makeup Mirror Install 4

Next I screwed the mirror in place and it was ready to go.

Makeup Mirror Install 5

Then when we travel it rides flush against the wall.

Makeup Mirror Install 6

Looks pretty good.

Tomorrow we’ll going up to Pasadena to have lunch, and then run some errands. I know Jan’s looking forward to getting out.

The Word of the Day is:  Mazuma

Thought for the Day:

Big government is attractive to those who think that THEY will be in control of it.




November 27, 2018

If The Tongue Is Blue . . .

Jan and I headed out for her pet-sitting job up in Katy about 2pm, with a short stop-over at the Tuesday Morning in Webster for Christmas cards. Jan’s always found that they have high-end cards at discount prices, so that’s her go-to place.

She’s planning on using her time at Brandi’s to get them all done.

We did make a quick stop at the nearby Mason Rd. El Pollo Loco so Jan could pick up a couple of meals for her dinners while she’s there.

I dropped Jan off at Brandi’s a little after 4pm and got right back on the road down to Santa Fe, hoping to stay ahead of all the going-home traffic, and it worked. Getting back to this area, I did make a Denny’s dinner stop for breakfast. Good as always.

The car service will pick up Brandi, Lowell, and Landon about 7:15am tomorrow, after already getting Chantelle, Eric, and Maddox, and they’ve got already their evening planned at Disney World when they get there.

They’ll be back sometime Monday and I’ll get Jan back Monday afternoon. Already can’t wait.

Once I used the 10/07/2018 System Image Backup I made for our Asus laptop, rather than the more recent 11/23/18 version, the copying of the image back to the new hard drive went through with no further problems. Guess it must have had a glitch somewhere because I tried it 3 times. And when I got up this morning, the laptop had booted up into Win7 on the new drive, with all the files seemingly intact.

Doing a System Image on either Win7 or Win10 is really pretty easy. You do have to have somewhere to copy the image to, like one of these 2TB WD External Drives.

WD Backup Drive

About the size of a deck of cards, you can also get them in a 4TB size. Or even 8TB in a slightly larger format.

Then just plug the drive into a USB port, preferably a USB 3.0 one, which is 10X faster, select Backup and Restore from the Control Panel, and then click on ‘Create A System Image. Follow the prompts to select your external drive and you’re off and running.

You can tell which port on your computer is USB 3.0 by looking inside the receptacle. If the little ‘tongue’ is blue, it’s 3.0.

When you done with that, and this is your first System Image, insert a blank DVD into the DVD drive and click on ‘Create A System Repair Disk’. You will need this if you have to reinstall the System Image. You only need to do this one, and then just store it away.

I mentioned the other day when I first tried to do the reinstall, that I couldn’t find my Recovery DVD, and had to bring one home from work. Well I found mine, right in the laptop DVD drive where I left it. And forgot about it.

Changing out the HD was pretty simple. Two screws and the cover plate comes off the bottom of the laptop, revealing the HD, the WiFi module, and the system RAM chips.

Laptop HD Replacement 1

4 more screws and the HD rack is out,

Laptop HD Replacement 2

and then 4 more screws and the HD is out of the rack.

Laptop HD Replacement 3

Then it’s just a matter of reversing the process with the new HD, and you’re done with this part.

Then boot to the Recovery DVD and you’re ready to go.

Let me know if you have any questions.

The Mars Insight Lander is working fine so far and sent back this ‘selfie’ as the first photo after the landing.


One commenter on a tech blog I read said it looked a lot like west Texas. I posted that it’s definitely not west Texas, otherwise it would look like this.


I had heard that they were expanding outside Texas, but I didn’t realize they were taking it this far.

Thought for the Day:

Pain makes you stronger. Tears make you braver. A broken heart makes you wiser, and Alcohol makes you not remember any of that crap.




November 27, 2019

Not A Good Day . . .

When I got back to our site here in Santa Fe, I find one side of our 50 amp breaker had died and I’m getting no power into the coach. Just perfect!

After texting the park owner and not getting a reply, I pulled the breaker and heading over to the Home Depot to get a new one. And they had the exact GE replacement. A least something’s going right.

Turns out the park owner is out of town for Thanksgiving.

But by the time I got back, (decided to have Denny’s for dinner first) it was dark, so I had the joy of working with 240 volts in the dark, holding the flashlight in my mouth.

But finally about 7:30, I had power again.

Tomorrow morning I’m driving up to Katy so Jan and I can had Thanksgiving Dinner at the Cracker Barrel there. Looking forward to seeing my Sweetie again.

More tomorrow when I won’t feel like cussing so much.

Thought For The Day:

“Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings.” ― Robert Benchley