Third World County Weather Note

I’m keeping a weather eye on the creek out back (yeh, yeh, pun intended), because, with the steady rain, it’s now closer to the house than at any time in memory–now “wetlands” about 125′ from our basement door. So, if twc goes offline in the next couple of days and your trackbacks/comments aren’t being approved, just bear with me, OK?

Let’s see… burlap bags filled with absorbant kitty liter around the base of the back (basement) door? Maybe…


At least the cable and power lines aren’t being rained out. So far.

Update: Well, we were more fortunate than some of the folks downstream of us, and th waters pretty much passed us by. Although the flood warnings continue for our area (indeed, our town) and the low-water bridge a quarter mile away is still under water and the flood plains (where most of the new housing in town has been built in the last decade–*sheesh!*) is swamp land, the creek that’s about 200 feet to our west that had approached as closely as 60 feet from our basement door has abated. The river–about 1.5 miles to the south–is still cresting though, and the folks who “built their houses on sand” in the flood plains there are in for more fun with shovels, wet vacs, new carpeting, etc., in the next few weeks. It’s what flood insurance is for. Makes me not mind the annual premium so much. *heh*

Still Avoiding Current Events…


Here’s another diversion.

Unnecessary confession: I use Windoze. Because I have to. (I also use PCBSD and Ubuntu, but that’s for pleasure… and some work/productivity.) So far, I have managed to avoid installing Vista on any twc central computers. *whew!* (Wipes forehead gratefully. *heh*) I have seen enough Vista computers “in the wild” to become convinced that, apart from the eye candy, it’s just not worth the hassle for most folks to switch from XP to Vista, if they must use Windows. And even buying a new computer with Vista installed can be problematic; I’ve already seen enough software incompatibilities in the workplace and problems with drivers for peripherals to know it just is not for most of the folks I know, including me. And this is quite apart from the fact that Vista–even installed new on “Vista-ready” computers is generally–from what I’ve actually seen “in the wild”–*heh*–a resource hog and slower than a properly-configured XP computer.

And, despite the monthly or more bug fixes and patches, Vista’s SP-1 is not really available for general installation–not that it is a definite improvement.

Still, there are a few things about Vista that are nice. The eye candy. 😉 But… all I had to do to get the “AeroGlass” look in PCBSD was simply download a skin. And for various versions of Windows, skinning and other Vista-like functionality is available for free via various downloads(free registration required for download), some of which also offer the 3D “flipping” of cascaded apps, etc.

The screencap above is on a Win2K machine with some of the functionality of PCMag’s “VistaMagicPack” (the first link above) enabled. Not half bad, and no discernable performance hit on a middlin’ old 1.3Ghz machine with only 512MB RAM and a tiny lil 16MB vidcard. Try running Vista with all the eye candy on that machine. Not.

Trackposted to Rosemary’s Thoughts, Nuke Gingrich, Faultline USA, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, , The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, Pirate’s Cove, Celebrity Smack, The Pink Flamingo, Big Dog’s Weblog, Dumb Ox Daily News, Adeline and Hazel, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Real Estate Bust? *yawn*

I’ve been avoiding “issues blogging” for the most part for the past week. (the choice in presidential candidates winnowing down to Hildebeast-ObamaWinfrey-MexiCain can do that to a guy), but one “issue” still turns my crank a bit: the Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind’s rampup of economic woes with the mortgage crisis/real estate bust as its poster child.

As a poster child for economic woes, the mortgage crisis/real estate bust has all the appeal of a broken-down whore with leprosy. Firstly, the folks hardest hit by the mortgage crisis/real estate bust are those who went into debt over their heads to buy houses they couldn’t afford. Here are my most sincere crocodile tears for such idiots:


To all such folks: you reaping what you’ve sown? Good.

Next hardest hit (sorta), the mortgage lenders who shouldn’t have loaned the money to begin with. Again,


My Wonder Woman asked me what I though the impact would be on our home value. My answer? Who cares? Are we thinking of selling? (Yeh, we still owe a measly couple of grand on the place. Made a 25% down on it and got reasonable rates on a 15-year mortgage–thanks to my Wonder Woman’s money management skillset.)

Rabbit trail:

OTOH, our execrably bad “neighbors” who moved in less than eighteen months ago have their place listed for sale (Yipee and Whooray!). I asked my Wonder Woman how badly I could junk up the outside of our house to drive their selling price down on ’em… *heh* Hmmm… maybe I could buy a couple of junkers from the salvage yard and have ’em dropped in our front yard, ya think? It’d be a few months before the city would ask me to remove ’em, maybe long enough to drive thr price of our “neighbors'” seller down quite a bit…

Nah. Better just to get ’em gone.

But there’s a side to the housing market/mortgage crisis/real estate bust that is getting little play in the Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind (and what play it does get is buried on inside pages or whatnot): “Some Cities Are Spared the Slide in Housing”–and this in the Neoo York Slimes, no less! Who’d-a thunk it?

In figures released on Thursday covering 150 metropolitan areas, the National Association of Realtors said that median home prices were falling in 77 markets — but rising in 73.

Real estate statistics must be interpreted with caution, especially when sales volumes are declining, as they are all over the country. But an analysis by The New York Times of three distinct data sets — mortgage data from the government, sales figures from the Realtors’ group and courthouse records from a company called DataQuick — produced a list of 17 metropolitan areas where all three sources of information agree that prices were still rising as of late last year, the most recent figures available.

For another 43 cities, two data sets, from the Realtors and the government, suggested that prices were still rising late in the year. DataQuick could provide no information on those cities.

Of course, since the article is in the Neoo York Slimes, the ariter spends quite some time making sure the reader doesn’t interpret these rosy facts positively. *heh* Still, facts are facts, and the housing market (and mortgage market) in my part of the country, for example, is strong to super-strong right now. Because of strong economic growth in other sectors, of course. Heck, it’s stating to get so built up in America’s Third World County that I might just have to answer my own question to my Wonder Woman (“Are we thinking of selling?”) with a “I want to live somewhere quieter. Wanna sell and move out into the piney woods?”


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2009 Resolution-Per-Day #4

Develop a deeper appreciation for the people of our armed forces. I like to think I appreciate their service, but I doubt my appreciation is as deep or wide as it ought to be. Here, try this for a semi-musical thought-provoker (Thanks, Hugh, for sending this):

While listening to this, I was reminded of the (apocryphal, perhaps) “comment from a centurion” often referred to by Jerry Pournelle:

“We hear that there are tumults and riots in Rome, and that voices are raised concerning the army and the quality of our soldiers. Make haste to reassure us that you love and support us as we love and support you, for if we find that we have left our bones to bleach in these sands in vain, then beware the fury of the legions.”…” (Centurion in a letter home from North Africa, 3rd Century)

Now, I do not fear “the fury of the legions,” but I do fear our society becoming callous to their dedication, their service, their honor, their sacrifices*. A society that ceases to value such service is a society that does not deserve to survive.

Continue reading “2009 Resolution-Per-Day #4”

Christmas Break

Peaceful Christmas afternoon. A nice lunch of my Wonder Woman’s Swedish meatballs on egg noodles and some snowpeas, notalot else. Lovely Daughter brought some ‘special” hot cocoa mix–no tedious boiling and frothing of milk and chocolate today: today is an official “Third World County Central No-Stress Day”–as we’ve tried more and more to make our family gatherings.

Wonder Woman, Lovely Daughter and Son & Heir (yeh, just wait til he sees what he “inherits” *heh* “S&H, You need to change your dad’s diapers again… ” *LOL*), listening to Christmas music that S&H made available, Just started another batch of beer (the wort’s at a boil and will steep and cool for a bit after a while), sitting here at the kitchen computer (a PC-BSD box) just letting the ambiance bathe my spirit.

*sigh* More days like this would always be welcome, ya know?

Oh, didn’t manage to keep the ECTV (the entertainment center box with a decent amp and speakers attached) off today. But we’re not watching the dam*ed thing (yeh, that’s a theological hypothesis). S&H hooked up his XBox 360, cos he loaded several hundred megs of Xmas* mp3s on it and is using it as a temporary media server shooting them through the sound system, managing the “jukebox” with the TV.

Nice of him. I used to just burn a couple of new mix CDs. I guess I ought to see about building a media pc and running some Linux-compatible media software/hardware with it.

Of course, I could attach a real sound system to this lil kitchen PC-BSD box and program Kaffeine with a playlist…

Well, that sort of thing will just have to wait for a day that’s not today. Need to post this, get back to just basking in the family glow for a while longer.

Merry Christmas!

Continue reading “Christmas Break”

Worst Photo Ever :-)


Now, before you even ask, yes, there is a reason I blurred out my Wonder Woman’s face. And no, I’ll not tell you anything beyond one word: politics *spit*


It was a dark and stormy night… Really. Snowflakes as big around as a heifer’s eye were stampeding down on the Sunflower State when my Wonder Woman was striding across the stage (to her very common name’s mispronunciation by a cultural illiterate) to recieve her empty diploma case while having her “Academic Dean’s Honors” status (4.0 average) announced.

And so, 34 years after her BS, she added an MS (Ed Tech/MLS) to her curriculum vitae. One of a very few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy sitch for public education. Seriously. Sure, adding the masters degree was pretty much de rigeur once she left the classroom to start serving kids’ learning needs in the library (yes, bureaucrats are pushing for more ticket-punching there), but while I generally deride professional certification degrees–and especially in education–I saw some value in the courses and activities she was required to fulfill for this degree.

1. Few “education” classes. Yeh, there were education theory and practice classes included in the mix, each and every one filled to the brim with typical education school hokum. But given the emphasis of her degree, these were thankfully few and easily set aside after having those mini-tickets punched.

2. Most of the classes seriously addressed–and offered avenues for genuine creativity in–the need to make sure that using computers and the like in the library (and classroom–she still does classroom teaching, but now ALL the students are hers) are useful in learning, that measureable objectives in use of technology to aid learning are clear and that actual learning of useful information results, rather than kids just learning how to use computers; IOW, that kids learn how to use computers (and the like) to learn, to do independent research well, etc.

3. Oh, there was no neglect of the other, typical MLS topics, topics anyone who’s had to use a library for research appreciates when they have the aid of a librarian who has MLS training as opposed to someone who has not.

4. But of all the reasons I came–finally–to view this degree as a good thing for the schools here, one is a standout: having a lil more clout with the IT people to DEMAND (nicely, she’s always TOO nice, IMO) that the equipment be configured so that users can, well, USE it to do useful things (instead of just being configured for the convenience of IT folks, as has all too often been the case). *heh*

Now, that’s about all I’ll say here applying to her (new) degree except, “WTG, Wonder Woman!”

Other observations, lessons drawn from the ceremony/event may follow later. For now, enough to say, “Well done, Wonder Woman!”

A Moving Experience

Nah, not an emotionally moving experience, just a (so far) successful one.

BlueHost just ain’t half bad, folks. The support folks seem to actually be invested in providing… service!?!

Quite a change from what I had grown accustomed to elsewhere.

We’ll see how this all turns out. So far, I seem to have my blog mostly functional (save for those issues noted in the Thursday Thirteen post yesterday) and so have enabled redirect at my domain management service… we’ll see.

Canceling my Fat(head)cow “Sucks Dead Bunnies Through a Straw” account either today or tomorrow. That should put paid to the whole shoddy experience there.

Of course, I fully expect the billing folks I talk to to refer to the “six months’ free service” I supposedly have coming (promised by several “support” folks) for all the hassles Fastcow has caused in the past. But why would I want even “free” service somewhere I’m sure to get more BAD service? It’s like getting a coupon for “All You Can Eat” from a restaurant where one got food poisoning. Who’d want it?


Saint David’s Day

[A slightly edited version of a Saint David’s Day post from 2005]

Dydd Gwyl Ddewi (St David’s Day), in honor of the “other” Celtic patron saint.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why Patrick is so honored (though mostly in the breech, as it were) and David so seemingly forgotten–at least outside of Wales. Ah, maybe that’s it: the Irish, so unsuccessful in their own land in the past, have huge swarms of folk in this, the most media-stricken land on the globe, and so Patrick just gets much more press.

Saint David, or Dewi Sant, as he is known in the Welsh language, is the patron saint of Wales. He was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century. During his life, he was the archbishop of Wales, and he was one of many early saints who helped to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain. –from Saint David and Saint David’s Day

If I can find it (again), I’ll also post a short hymn I wrote considering the likes of Sts David and Patrick, tune name: DEWI SANT. Ahhh, here it is…


So, wear a daffodil or a leek today and celebrate Saint David’s Day with what has become the Welsh motto (taken from his last sermon, according to tradition):

Gwnewch y pethau bychain


“Do the little things.”

“Leeking” all over the place at Conservative Cat and TMH’s Bacon Bits