Daily Archives: December 22, 2023

Maple And Cinnamon . . .

While I was at work today my client’s wife dropped off some of her delicious home-made Cinnamon Rolls. Can’t wait to split one with Jan tonight. They’re that big.

On the way home I stopped off at a nearby Spec’s Liquor to pick up a couple of their Crown Royal Whiskey Maple Pecan Pies for our family Christmas Eve get-together.

Jan and I got one for Thanksgiving, and wanted to share them with the rest of the family.

Tomorrow looks to be Wal-Mart, HEB, gas, McDonald’s, and the P.O., not necessarily in that order.

And the best thing is that I don’t go back to work until next Wednesday.


Thought For The Day:

Sometimes my problem is that I have really fantastic bad ideas.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

December 22, 2010

Penzey’s and Pawz . . .

Jan and I both got up kind of late this morning because we were still awake at about 2am talking about when we’re going to leave here and head out west.

And then we had to rush to get ready to leave about 11 am to pick up our friends Bob and Maria. They were going to ride with us into Houston to pick up some spices at Penzey’s Spices.

If you like to cook and don’t know about Penzey’s, you’re really missing out. They have pretty much every spice, herb, and seasoning you’ve ever heard of, and a lot you probably haven’t. They also have recipes, cookbooks, and a free catalog. They have locations all over the country, so check’em out.

Leaving Penzey’s we walked next door to Natural Pawz, a health food store for pets. Bob and Maria have 4 miniature greyhounds, and of course we have our two cats, so there was something for everyone. At least everyone came out of the store with something for their pets.

Leaving there, and everyone getting hungry, we drove down to the Cleburne Cafeteria, a great place that’s been a Houston institution since 1941, and still owned by the same family. Everything is fresh, and nothing is frozen. They buy much of their produce from local farmers, and they make and bake all their own desserts, pies, cakes, and baked goods. They also make their own salad dressings and mayonnaise. It’s a great place to eat, and the portions are enormous.

By about 2:45 we were on our way back home. We hit some heavy traffic getting out of Houston, but after that, it was pretty smooth.

After we dropped Bob and Maria off at their home, we drove over to our son Chris’ to drop off a computer of his I’d been working on. Linda was there too, finally glad to have a day off.

About 4 pm, on our way to Chris’, our daughter Brandi called to let us know they got on their way safely out of Houston. They’re heading up to Paul’s Valley, OK to spend Christmas with Lowell’s family and friends. I think it’s the first Christmas we’ve ever spent without seeing Brandi, but she has her own family now, and we have to share.

We don’t have to like it, but we have to share.Winking smile

Before she left Brandi emailed us this new picture of Landon and his big green frog.

Landon and His Froggy

He seems a lot happier with it now than he did a couple of months ago.

Landon and Frog 4

Leaving Chris and Linda’s, it was on to Brandi’s to pick up a package she said had come in right as they were leaving.

Finally after that, we headed back home, getting in a little before 6, a long day, in any case.

December 22, 2011

An Unusual Day . . .

This was definitely a very unusual day.

For the first time in quite a few days, I didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything away from the rig.

No shopping, no clients, no nothing.

Well, I did get a call from a client, but I was able to take care of his problem over the phone, so no biggie.

But I did have stuff to do around the rig. I started out by replacing several bulbs in the floor lights that we use in the rig at night, Then I started to prepare the cabinet area for the re-installation of the washer later this weekend.

I replaced the old rubber water hoses with new steel mesh ones. The old ones are almost 13 years old, and although they look to be in good condition I would hate to have to pull the washer back out in 6 months to replace a leaky hose.

Better safe than sorry.

Next, I got the vacuum out and cleaned all the dryer lint out of the vent hose. There wasn’t a lot since I had cleaned it from the outside about 6 months ago. I also replaced the 16 x 20 air filter that filters the fresh air coming into the coach. It can be replaced from underneath the washer cabinet, but it’s easier to do it now.

While I was puttering, Jan was back in her cookie-baking frenzy. This time it was rum balls, walnut chocolate chip cookies, almond crescents rolled in powdered sugar, and pumpkin nut cookies.


And although not cookies, tomorrow she’ll wrap things up with her famous Sausage Balls.

More Hmmmmmm!

On another note, I ordered myself a new toy for Christmas – a new Garmin Nuvi 1490LMT GPS for our toad.

We’ve used a Lowrance iWay 500c since we started RV’ing in 2008 and it’s been a real workhorse.


And it’s still working fine, but since it originally came out in late 2005, it’s no longer being updated. We haven’t had a POI update in two years, and though we got a map update this past February, it is the last one they’ll offer.

So when I got an email from Amazon last night with a great deal on this Garmin GPS – Reg. $340, now $170, with free Next Day Shipping, I bit.garmin-nuvi-1490lmt

The other big selling point is that all updates are free for life. Of course they don’t say whose life they’re talking about. But at least they’re free as long as they’re available, unlike the Lowrance where they were about $75.00.

The only problem I foresee is coming up with a way to transfer all my waypoints from the 500c to the new Garmin. I’ll do it manually if I have to.

I’ll let you know how I like it after I play with it for a while.

About 5pm Jan and I headed up the road to La Brisa for a quick dinner, and then a stop at Kroger’s for a few things before heading home.

After we got back, I installed the new fan motor in the washer, put the cover back on, and then checked it out by plugging it in and setting it to dry. And it works.

Sometime in the next few days I’ll stick it back in the cabinet, though I’m still not quite sure how I’ll get the vent hose connected, but I’ll figure something out.

December 22, 2012

Jabba the Catt . . .

or, this is why keeping the dog was a bad idea!

Jabba the Cat

Here’s Mister in his “Jabba the Catt” pose. He likes to sit like this in my computer desk chair. Kind of Master of All He Surveys.

Tonight Jan talked to the lady that took in the dog we found. They’ve named him Opie and said he’s doing fine. Seems like he’s found a good home.

Just as long as it’s not ours.

Jan and I headed about 1pm to first have lunch at the Chili’s up in Kemah before doing some errands.

Our first stop was at Fry’s Electronics looking to purchase 3 copies of Microsoft Office 2010 for a client, but all they had was the Student version which does not have Outlook which the client needs. So I’ll have to see about ordering it, or downloading it.

My next stop was right up Hwy. 3 at EPO – Electronics Parts Outlet, to find a replacement switch for a client’s computer. They had what I wanted but I found a little something extra.

A G-Maxtec 860 Quad-Copter at 40% off.

Quad Copter

You can fly it inside or out, and it will do flips and rolls.

Our next stop after EPO was Brandi and Lowell’s for a little Landon time, and also to pick up our mail. Then after a nice visit we headed over to Kroger’s to pick up some things before we met our friends Bob and Maria, and Connie at Coffee Oasis, a local coffee shop. We had a great time talking and drinking coffee. In fact we spent about 2 hours without even realizing it.

All in all, a nice day, well spent.

December 22, 2013

More Free Stuff . . .

Well, another cold, cloudy, really sucky day. And another day to just stay at home with hot coffee and warm muffins.

First off I want to clarify the download instructions for the free copy of Photoshop CS2 that I mentioned yesterday.. Here’s what I posted.


Just click the above link, select Windows or Mac on the right side, and set back and wait, because it’s a 340 MB download. The program works fine up to Windows 7, but will not work on Win 8.

Below you will find the serial number needed to register the program.

Windows Serial number: 1045-1412-5685-1654-6343-1431
Mac OS X Serial number: 1045-0410-5403-3188-5429-0639

There apparently was some confusion about what you click after you click Windows or Mac, and are taken to the next page.

The answer is ‘Nothing”. The download will start automatically in about 10-15 seconds.

And now I’ve got a couple of more Adobe free downloads for you. Two of their top programs, are Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign.

The download instructions are the same as for Photoshop.



Another free program you might want to take a look at is CalendarTree. Set up by ‘Dilbert’ creator, Scott Adams, it’s a free, quick, easy way for multiple people to set up and automatically sync up their calendars through Google, Outlook, or iCal (Apple). A neat concept. Hopefully they’re working on an Android interface.

Readers will remember that I complained about Fantastic Vent (Fan) now charging for repair parts that used to be free. So I was kind of ticked off at paying $47.95 ($35 + 12.95 shipping) for a lid-lift motor that they replaced for free only 3 years ago.

But I was slightly less annoyed when I opened the box and found that they had included the complete lift mechanism, and not just the motor. So still annoyed, but slightly less so.

December 22, 2014

Batteries and Balls . . .

I woke up to the delicious smells of Jan baking Christmas cookies, candy canes and chocolate chip, so the day was off to a good start.

And coffee and a few cookies (we did have to test-eat a few), I spent an hour on the phone going over some things with Chris Yust on her C and C RV Insurance website. And if you need RV or auto insurance, be sure and check them out. They did a great job with my windshield replacement earlier this year.

After working on a few other things, I drove into Columbus to pick up our prescriptions at Wal-Mart,, as well as a couple of other things. I stopped off at the hardware store to get a spray bottle to spray vinegar on the rig roof to help remove the drilling mud, and also three conduit rings for the case of my new transfer switch.

Cable Ring

The case just has three 1-1/4” holes for the shore power input, generator input, and power out cables, so I need something to shield and cushion the wires.

Transfer Switch 1

Transfer Switch 2

It’s amazing how much smaller these units are now than in 1999.

After I got back from Columbus, I went next door to talk to Randy about his electrical problem. I have about come to the conclusion that this problem was almost certainly caused by whoever wired up the solar system, and possibly because he ran out of wire.

Here’s a photo of the engine battery bay.

Randy's Monaco 1

The solar system output comes in from the upper left on the red wire which goes to the positive terminal on the engine battery. The black tape-wrapped bulge is an inline splice. The large red cable runs from engine battery positive terminal through the wall to the positive terminal of one of the house battery banks, thus tying the two systems together. So both battery sets are being charged by the solar output.

He then rewired the isolator system, so that rather than being between the engine batteries and the house batteries, the isolator is now between the two banks of the house batteries. But since the two house banks are connected together by another cable, the isolator does nothing.

The real mystery is why the power converter output was left unconnected. Did he think that it wasn’t needed anymore since the rig had solar? I don’t know.

Tomorrow Randy and I are going to disconnect the batteries and the shore power and try to get things rewired halfway right. We’ll see how it and the weather goes.

Later after supper, I changed over the hallway fluorescent fixture to LEDs. I can do the change out for little more than the cost of one new bulb, much less two. And the light is brighter and whiter.

LED Replacement Lights 1

2 ea. Super Bright COB White Car LED Light 12v

It only took about 30 minutes, and that included taking a call from a friend.

First thing I just pulled the plastic cover off the fixture, exposing the bulbs.

Hallway LED Upgrade 1

Next just remove the bulbs and discard them.

Hallway LED Upgrade 2

Then just squeeze and pull the ballast cover off, exposing the wiring.

Hallway LED Upgrade 3

Clip away all the wires except for the two black and wires coming into the fixture from one end. Cut these two off as close to their connecting points on the ballast (the circuit board), and strip the ends. I did not remove the ballast because it was riveted on and I would have had to break it to get it out. Too much trouble, and not necessary.

Hallway LED Upgrade 4

Peel off the backing on the self-adhesive strip on the LED’s and mount them in the fixture. Then connect the two red wires from the LED’s to the black wire in the fixture. Now connect the two black wires from the LED’s to the white wire in the fixture. You can use wire nuts, solder, crimp, or whatever floats your boat to make the connections.

Hallway LED Upgrade 5

Now ty-wrap the excess wire together and tuck it away as you replace the metal ballast cover strip that you removed earlier.

Hallway LED Upgrade 6a

Put the plastic cover back on and you’re done.

Quick, easy, and cheap. Three of my favorite things.

When the time comes, I’ll see how many sets it will take to replace the four 4ft fluorescents tubes in the two livingroom/kitchen fixtures.

Tomorrow Jan will be wrapping presents and making her famous sausage balls for Brandi’s Christmas party on Christmas afternoon. So more good smells and maybe a couple of samples.

December 22, 2015

Livingston Bound and BBQ . . .

Jan and I were up about 8:00 and on our way to Livingston by 9:00. Dennis and Carol Hill had invited us over to their place at the Escapees Park there. We had been promised one of Dennis’ smoked pork butts for lunch, so we were really looking forward to it.

Although it was sunny when we left the coach, by the time we were on FM1097 after passing through Willis, we started running into a lot of fog. And although it didn’t slow us down much, it did presage a much bigger slowdown as we came into Goodrich, TX on US59, planning on turning off on FM1988.

A couple of miles before our turnoff, traffic came to a stop, and then began to inch forward. When we finally got up to our turnoff, we saw that the police had US59N blocked off and were routing all traffic onto FM1988. Which then was backed up all the way over to FM146.

Livingston Trip Traffic

All 5 miles of bumper to bumper traffic. Which took us over 30 minutes to get through. It was only after we got back to the rig that we found out what happened.

Turned Over 18 Wheeler Blocks Traffic on 59 North at FM-1988…

GOODRICH, December 22, 2015 – At around 5:15 am on December 22, 2015, an 18 wheeler hauling wood shavings was north-bound on US-59.  According to the driver, a car cut in front of him causing him to suddenly brake, then causing his rig to turn over on the slick roads.  Another 18 wheeler behind him swerved to avoid colliding and went into the center median and got stuck.  Nobody was injured.  Deputy Glen Edwards with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene along with Trooper Chris Cain with the Texas Highway Patrol.  North-bound traffic on 59 is being rerouted to the FM-1988 overpass.  Riley Wrecker Service out of Corrigan was dispatched to clean up the mess.  At time of press (6:35 am) the mess is being cleaned up, and traffic is still being rerouted.

But finally we got to Dennis and Carol’s about 11am, just in time to meet up with a number of other RV’ers, and dig into a lunch of Dennis’ great BBQ. Really, really good as always.

We all had a great time talking over past and future travels, including another upcoming Alaskan trip for Dennis and Carol. Jan and I also got a tour of the Class C that they’ll be taking up north this time instead of their Winnebago Journey Class A.

We finally all wound down about 3pm and Jan and I headed home, but this time without all the traffic problems.

We both want to thank Dennis and Carol for the invitation, along with the great food, and fun. Thanks again.

Coming back into Willis about 4:30 we made a stop at the Fish Pond Restaurant to pick up the Coconut Cream Pie we had ordered the other day.

Fish Pond Coconut Cream Pie 2

We got one for our family Thanksgiving get-together, and it was so good that we wanted another one for Christmas.

Before leaving the ‘Pond’ I called the Wal-Mart Pharmacy to see if our prescriptions were ready to pick up, but since they weren’t, we just headed back to the park for the night. Along the way we saw a lot of the tornado damage left over from last week’s storm. Roofs torn off, campers turned over, and even smashed flat, it was a close call for the restaurant with damage all around.

Getting back to the rig, I checked out my latest repair project. I was redoing the mounting of Jan’s “Oh Sh$t! Handle” that previously resided right by her chair. But over a period of time, and a lot of use, she broke it completely off.

The problem was that whatever mounting system was being used to hold the handle in place fell down in the open space between the inside metal wall and the outside metal wall, leaving only two empty openings.

Oh Shit Handle Repair 1

That’s the inside of the outer wall in the photo below.

Oh Shit Handle Repair 2

Back in November while we were still gate guarding, I used the toothpicks and Gorilla Glue trick to provide new mounting points for my outside lighted grab bar. You can read about it here. Chore Day.

But that won’t work here because there’s nothing really there for the toothpicks to grab on to. Just the 1/16” or so internal metal wall, and nothing else. But after thinking about it for a while, I came up with a new idea. Or at least an improvement on the toothpick idea.

Why not just use one really big toothpick, i.e. a 5/8” dowel rod?

Oh Shit Handle Repair 3

My thought was to use Gorilla Glue to fasten the end of the dowel rod to the inside of the outside wall, and also glue it around the circumference of the rod and the inner hole.

So I glued it all together yesterday afternoon and let it sit overnight

Oh Shit Handle Repair 4

So after we got home this evening, I was going to drill pilot holes in the dowel rods and mount the handle, only to discover that the screws I had planned to use weren’t really long enough.

Oh Shit Handle

So there’s probably a trip to Lowe’s in my future tomorrow, when we hopefully are able to pick up our prescriptions at Wal-Mart. And while I’m at it, I’m also going to pick up some White Oak Pickling Stain to redo all the handles.

Finishing up, I mentioned in Sunday’s blog how far forward the power pedestal is on this site, and only the fact that our rig was ordered with an extra-long power cord let me hook up at all. And here’s what I’m talking about.

G27Pedestal Location

As I said we may be one of the few Class A’s that can park here. So this may be our go-to site every time we’re here.

December 22, 2016

Never In The Right Place . . .

At The Right Time . . .

Today was a ‘turn-around day’ for me, getting fully adjusted to the next four days of night shift on a gate. Of course since I’m normally up until 2 or 3 in the morning anyway, it’s not a big problem, anyway.

I did stay up until after 3:30 this morning, Then got up at 11 and had coffee. Jan heated up the delicious leftover Bella Sera pizza about 12:30, and then I went back down for a nap from 1:30 to 4pm, and was on the gate by 5:15pm.

I’ve got one night here and then three nights at the Mocyzgemba Gate I’ve been at before. So we’ll see how it all goes.

Tomorrow we’ll go out about 11:30 or so to have the Chicken Fried Steak Strips/Fried Catfish Lunch Buffet at Barth’s, and also pick up our Turkey and Dressing Christmas Dinner takeout while we’re there. We have to do it on Friday because they close at 2pm and then don’t reopen until Monday morning. But turkey and dressing always taste better as leftovers anyway.

Now in other Dakota Access Pipeline news, some new info has come out in the last few days confirming one of the ‘conspiracy theories’ I talked about in The Dakota Access Pipeline – Pipeline Politics article I did a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s what I said then:

Why, out of over 50 tribes, are the Standing Rock Sioux so against the path of the pipeline when it’s not even going through their land?

Well, the thought is, because it’s not going through their land!

The Standing Rock tribe is broke. They received a $48 million settlement from the Federal Government in 2012, but spent it all. They had a $6 million deficit in their 2015 budget. So now the tribe is playing hardball.

Stay with me here. It’ll all make sense in a minute.

The pipeline took the path it did, following an already-existing pipeline, because that’s where the Corps of Engineers said it should go. It would be the least disturbance to the environment, and bypass the Indian lands completely.

But remember those 50 other tribes? Many of them got millions of dollars because the pipeline right of way went through their land. But because of the Corps of Engineers’ decision, the Standing Rock Sioux got left out. So the theory goes that when enough zeros show up on a check, suddenly they’ll be perfectly fine with the pipeline.

After all, the Standing Rock Tribal Chairman, Dave Archambault, owns a convenience store and gasoline station on the reservation and is happy to sell gas to both protesters and police alike.

Of course the more cynical among us might say that the entire problem with the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline will be made moot sometime during the afternoon of January 20th.

So here’s the rest of the story.

The Indians used to get paid per barrel for the oil to be trucked across their land before the pipeline came along.

The pipeline was originally going to go through their land, but they wanted the same per barrel fee for oil in the pipeline that they were getting from the trucks. The oil companies offered a lesser amount and the tribe turned it down.

Note that this was the oil companies, not the pipeline construction company.

So, with the approval of the Corps of Engineers, the pipeline was routed around the Indian land. But the tribe still demanded to be paid, and were told No.

The tribe then promised to protest and stop construction, which is where we stand today.

The original pipeline still would have crossed the river at the same spot, but they were OK with it then.

Next up, an interesting article from WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks, ND. Dated back in November, and entitled What Dakota Access Pipeline protesters aren’t telling you it details the many meetings and consultations the pipeline company and the Corps of Engineers tried to have with the tribe. The article is an interesting read.

Here are some highlights, the information coming from Federal Court records.

Protesters claim that the pipeline was “fast-tracked,” denying tribal leaders the opportunity to participate in the process. In fact, project leaders participated in 559 meetings with community leaders, local officials and organizations to listen to concerns and fine-tune the route. The company asked for, and received, a tougher federal permitting process at sites along the Missouri River.

. . . . .

Protesters claim that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult tribal leaders as required by federal law. The record shows that the Corps held 389 meetings with 55 tribes. Corps officials met many times with leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which initiated the lawsuit and the protests.

. . . . .

The Corps alerted the tribe to the pipeline permit application in the fall of 2014 and repeatedly requested comments from and meetings with tribal leaders, only to be rebuffed over and over. Tribal leaders ignored requests for comment and canceled meetings multiple times.

. . . . .

In September 2014 alone, the Corps made five unsuccessful attempts to meet with Standing Rock Sioux leaders.

The next month, a meeting was arranged, but “when the Corps timely arrived for the meeting, Tribal Chairman David Archambault told them that the conclave had started earlier than planned and had already ended,” according to a federal judge.

Remember as I wrote before, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe lost both times in Federal Court. Then they started protesting.

Finishing up, I’m never in the right place at the right time.

Why is it that when I’m in Vegas I never get to see Half Naked Hookers in a turf war fight on the Vegas Strip?

Now when Jan goes to New York she managed to get groped by the Naked Cowboy,



and seemed to really enjoy it. Said it was on her ‘bucket list.’

But when I’m in Vegas this is what I get to see on Fremont St.


Of course, it seems to be my lot in life. Jan once talked me into going to see one of the Sex and the City movies with her by promising me nudity.

The only nudity in that movie was some guy’s bare butt.

December 22, 2017

We Get TSO’d . . .

As I mentioned last night our attending the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert got off to a very bumpy start. In fact for a while it looked like we wouldn’t even be able to go.

During the night I remember just turning over and getting very dizzy for a few minutes. Then when I got up around 10:30 I was very dizzy and nauseated. I told Jan if I didn’t get to feeling better I didn’t think I would be able to go, so I went back to bed.

But when I woke up at 1:40, I felt much better, not dizzy or nauseated, but just a little washed-out. So we were out the door by 2pm,  heading for the Toyota Convention Center in downtown Houston.

We made really good time, and were at the parking garage about 2:35 and got in the line to enter the garage, where we had already paid for parking. And 30 minutes later we had moved one whole block. The problem was that, unlike the location where we got in line with police directing us, there were no cops at the first corner. So you had cars coming from three different directions all trying to get in the line, which led to complete gridlock, with no one moving for minutes at a time.

I was hoping that when we finally made the left turn onto the next street we see would the ‘Yellow’ entrance. But no luck. The line just wrapped around the next corner at the end of the block.

At this point I noticed that, out of the blue, my truck started overheating, so we pulled out of the line and looked for another place to park, maybe one of the many private lots nearby.

We finally found one about 4 blocks away and started walking back toward the Center, finally getting here about 3:30, which is when the performance was scheduled to begin. But there was still one more problem.

We had great floor seats, but we didn’t realize that the arena floor was about 30 feet below ground level with those steep stairs leading down.

Jan doesn’t do steep stairs in the dark very well, but by the time we realized it, we were stuck in line and not able to turn around and look for an elevator.

But finally we were on the floor and in our seats which lucky for us were on the end of the row.

I guess due to all the parking problems they didn’t start the concert until 3:45, about 15 minutes late, so we only missed the first couple of sounds, though we heard them coming down the stairs.






TSO 10

TSO 11

TSO 12

it’s been a while since we’ve been to a major concert like this, so the advancements in laser effects were amazing. I figure if they group all their lasers together, they could probably shoot down one of those North Korean ICBM’s that Little Rocket Man keeps lofting.

The first 90 minutes of the show is built around a movie shown on the multiple large screens about a young girl runaway who seeks shelter from the weather in an old abandoned theater.

Watched over by the old caretaker, played by Ossie Davis, the girl is shown dreams of her life, past and future. Interspersed with TSO’s amazing Christmas music and theater effect, the story ends with the girl finding money and a bus ticket in her notebook, and running out of the theater to go back home. A real tear jerker.

The last hour of the show was mostly music and lights from some of their other rock opera presentations, like Beethoven’s Last Night., Night Castle, and Dreams of Fireflies.

And you thought they only did Christmas music. What do you think they do the rest of the year?

The staging of the show was just amazing with more movement than you can imagine. Everything tilted, turned, raised, lowered, swung, and spouted flames. There was also fog, glitter bombs, and giant sparklers 10 feet high.

In between the two segments they talked about the staging. The unit travels with 15 Prevost’s, 13 semi’s, and about 100 people. And this is just the West Coast unit. There is another identical troupe that does the East Coast.

The MC said that at their first date this season, in Omaha, NB, about 6 weeks ago, the crew spent 30 days doing the initial setup and fine-tuning.

Now they do it in 7 hours.

One funny is that TSO doesn’t actually travel with an orchestra as such. TSO’s performers are the band members, drums, keyboards, piano, guitar and bass guitar, and the violin. Plus about 10 female singer/dancers.

The orchestra, about 15 musicians, horns, saxes, flutes, etc. is recruited locally ahead of time at each location.

I’ll tell you more tomorrow, but I’ve run out of time and energy, so more about about our dinner last night at Longhorn Steakhouse, and our dinner tonight with Wil and Cyndy Olsen at Stomp’s Burger Joint.

December 22, 2018

Finally Done . . . For The 3rd Time!

Jan spend the morning putting together a Green Bean Casserole for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner, before getting started on her much-requested pièce de résistance.

Sometime in the early fall she starts getting requests for her World Famous Sausage Balls, so this time she did 8 dozen, which still probably will disappear very quickly. Certainly the 4 dozen she made for Thanksgiving didn’t last long.

This time, due to popular request, she used 3 Hot and I Regular Sausage to bump the Heat a little.

Jan originally said all our Christmas shopping was done with the last of the arrival of the last of the Amazon orders. That’s the first one.

Then we were done when we got some last-minute stuff on Thursday. That was the second one.

We were finally done today when we braved the WalMart for a couple more things. And surprisingly it wasn’t that bad. They had 11 of the 12 checkouts open, and of course all of the DIY versions were open.

I did have my first real People of WalMart sighting during today’s visit.

WalMart Catsuit Jammies

At least I think that wearing Cat Suit Jammies to shop here should qualify, right?

Tomorrow morning we’ll head up to Brandi’s about 9am for our Christmas get-together. Really looking forward to seeing everyone again.

December 22, 2019

Just Sayin’ . . .

I went into work about 1:30 this afternoon so I could do a complete upgrade on our UPS software. That part only took about an hour. Most of the time was spent backing up all the UPS data, so that if things went sideways, as they are wont to do, I would just be able to copy the old data back over and I should be good to go. Hopefully.

But since the UPS stuff totaled multi-gigs of data, made up of a lot of small files,  it takes a lot of time, actually about 90 minutes to back it all up.

Then I was finally able to do the full overwrite of the software. And it actually went pretty smoothly, with no glitches. And then it rebooted at the end with everything working.

So then I went back to my office to once again attempt to connect our new computer to the UPS Shipping machine so it could be used as a remote station on the UPS software.

And this time it worked with no problems, and when it rebooted, it was now connected to the main machine.

Right now I plan on going down to the office New Year’s Eve, after all our wild partying of course, to first close out the month, and the year, and then replace Jennifer’s computer, a Win7 version, with this new Win10 one.

There are a couple of new stores being built in the Webster area, obviously of the restaurant persuasion. But we’re two months in on the remodel/rebuilds and there’s no indication on what they’re going to be. Now I would think that the new owners would want all the free (well, for the cost of a Coming Soon – XXXXX Restaurant sign) advertising that they could get. You know, the whole Antici . . . . . Pation thing.

But the real problem is that it bugs hell out of me not knowing.

The other thing that sometimes frustrates me is the way Amazon lists items from a search. Tonight I did an Amazon search for Coarse Ground Pepper with the Prime option selected.

So my search results first showed me ‘Sponsored’ links across the top. Two them were not Prime, but were Coarse Ground. The other one was Prime but not Coarse Ground.

And then further down the page were the actual results, but these too were only a somewhat better mixture, with more Coarse Ground and Prime,  but still other stuff intermixed.

Now I can understand them wanting to show me other stuff that might be of interest to me, but wait until you’ve showed me ALL of the exact thing I’m looking for.

Just Sayin’.

December 22, 2020

Jan Wouldn’t Let Me . . .

I was on my way up to the Westpark area about 10:15 to retrieve Jan, drop off my latest repair project, and pick up another one.

When Lowell passed it on to me after our Sunday lunch at Floyd’s, it looked like this.

Idylis HEPA Filter

It’s an Idylis HEPA Air Filter, a pretty expensive one even when it was bought back in 2014. So when it got knocked over recently and died, it was worth me taking a look at it to see if I could bring it back to life.

And a few minutes after I got it back home, it looked like this.

Idylis 1

Of course this was after I had plugged it in and confirmed that, yes it was dead.

One thing I noticed was that, I guess since it’s pretty expensive, it’s actually made to be serviced. Or at least they have a ‘Wiring Schematic’ on the base.

Idylis 2

Of course it’s more of a block diagram, but hey, it’s something.

Looking it over, the first thing I noticed is a micro-switch, that from the size of the wiring, is routing 120VAC power, and was a perfect candidate to cause this problem. Especially after the unit was knocked over.

Idylis 3

So as a quick test, I plugged the unit in, triggered the micro-switch with a screwdriver, pressed the power button, and with a beep, the unit came to life.

And looking more carefully at the switch it was easy to see it had been knocked out of position by the fall.

The switch is triggered by the removal of the front panel, something you have to do to change/clean the filters. But it also exposes the motor and the squirrel cage blower fans. So it’s a safety system.

This turned out to be one of those easy ones where it takes me longer to open the unit and then put it back together than it did to actually fix it.

And getting it all back together, plugging it in, and turning it on, gave me this.

Idylis 4

Next up, a dead video game console.

Anyway, coming home, we made a Sam’s Club stop to pick up a prescription and then it was on to Twin Peaks again, and again it was Jan’s idea.

No, really.

And as it turns out, this week’s theme was Santa’s elves – Naughty and Nice.

And there was a whole lot of Naughty, believe me. And not much Nice. Though I guess it could be said that Nice is in the eye of the beholder.

Back a few years ago, this was the Naughty outfit worn by our favorite server then, Lauren.

Who as I said before, was a Senior in Engineering at U of H.

Twin Peaks 4a - Lauren Bell 500

But it was Nice compared to what many of the girls were wearing today. Which were basically thong panties and skimpy bras. Think Victoria’s Secret, but skimpier.

Maybe that explains why they were so busy on a Tuesday afternoon. Which is the idea, I guess.

Jan not only wouldn’t let me post any of today’s outfits, she wouldn’t even let me take any photos.

You know, for posterity and all.

She said she’d never seen so many cheeks, and she wasn’t talking about, well, the ones you’re usually talking about when you talk about ‘cheeks’.

So you’ll just have to use your imagination, I guess.

Sorry, guys.

December 22, 2022

Luckily I’m Paranoid . . .

Jan and I were on our way out and about a little before 1pm today, but first I went outside to disconnect both our shore water hose and the one Jan uses to water her plants. Then I installed my heat lamp/reflector combo in the water bay, as well as a remote temperature sensor so I can monitor things. I connected the heat lamp through a remote-controlled plug so I can turn the lamp off if it gets too hot. Though I doubt that will be a problem tonight.

As I’m doing this blog at 9pm, it’s already 29° and dropping fast.

Our park owner, Rob, has these Freeze Miser plugs on all the shore water faucets in the park,

PJRVP Freeze Proof

and since we didn’t have a problem during the Big Freeze here in February 2021, I doubt we’ll have a problem this time.

Lunch today was at Twin Peaks once again, and it was busier than we’ve ever seen it. A lot of families with kids all out Christmas shopping.

Twin Peaks 20221222

We actually had to wait almost 40 minutes to get a table in our fav Sylvia’s area. Before we’ve never had to wait more than about 5 minutes.

Jan went the Salad and Sandwich route, new for her, getting a 1/2 Cubano with a Salad,

Twin Peaks 20221222 Cubano and Salad

while I got my usual 1/2 BLT and a bowl of Brisket Chili.

Twin Peaks 20221222 BLT and Brisket Chili


And of course, our visit to Twin Peaks wouldn’t be complete with a photo of Sylvia in her Santa’s Favorite Elf outfit.

Twin Peaks 20221222 Sylvia

Easy to understand why she’s Santa’s favorite.

Leaving TW we looped around on the feeder for, first a quick stop at Costco and then down the Interstate to make another WalMart stop to try and get some things that they were out of this past Thursday, most of which we were able to find this time.

I was surprised to find that neither Costco or WalMart was especially busy, with WalMart not as busy as they were on Tuesday. And it didn’t hurt that they had even more full-service checkouts open.

I was kind of amused to see this on the shelf in the Canned Meat area.

Plant-Based Me'Eat

Or maybe I should say the Canned Me’Eat area.

Luckily for my client, I’m really paranoid. Getting shot at in the past will do that.

This past Tuesday he got an email from an old friend asking for a favor. He said his niece who has Stage 4 Mesothelioma, and recently lost both her parents to CoVid needed to buy something she needed from Amazon, but didn’t have the funds so he was going to send her an Amazon eGift Card. But he was having trouble using his credit card on Amazon. And since his bank said it would take a couple of days to straighten out, he hoped that my client would purchase a $300 eGift Card for her and have it emailed to her, and he would pay back my client as soon as the bank got his credit card straighten out. So my client immediately turned this over to me.

For some reason the email sounded kind of funny to me, but my client assured me it was his friend. So I went into Amazon and sent the eCard, and a few minutes later Amazon told me it had been received. But hours later the ‘friend’ emailed me to say that the card had not been received, and could I check it out with Amazon and send it again.

Warning Flags!

After checking, I told him that Amazon said that the email had been received and OPENED, so she definitely had received it. He again said she hadn’t and could I just resend it to another email address that he gave me.

More Flags!

About this time my client forwarded me another email from his ‘friend’ saying the eCard HAD been received, but it wasn’t enough to get what his niece needed, and could my client send another $300, and he wanted me to do that too.

However at almost the same moment I got another email from the ‘friend’ insisting the eCard had not been received, and I needed to resend it to help out his niece.


I immediately called my client and asked again if this person was really a long-friend, and he said yes, he’d known him for decades, and I should just send the second card. But when I told him about the emails I was getting, he decided to actually call his friend.

And found out his friend’s Hotmail account had been hacked several days before.

And a number of his friends had lost a lot of money falling for this. Unfortunately once an eGift Card is received, there is no way to cancel it.

As I said, luckily for my client, I’m Paranoid.