23 April 2016

Moving And Shaking

I've been on the waiting list to join one of the local (local being a relative term, it's an hour away but so are all the other ones) gun club for a couple of years now, and a couple of weeks ago I got the notification that my number had come up, so to speak.

The club owns the range where Range Partner and I go to shoot, he's a member so we've been shooting on his ticket. He's changed jobs and his schedule is kind of crazy lately so it's been a while since we've been shooting. This way I can go even if he isn't available.

At the same time M has decided the gun safe should be in the office. That's a heavy bitch, when it arrived four of us lifted it up out of the trucklet and brought it in through the front door. We had no materials handling equipment, so once it was in the door we made the command decision to put it in the first available corner and there it has sat ever since.

And of course now that just will not do. However, it has not gotten any lighter since I brought it home, so I really needed a hand truck. Lucky for me I know a guy...and he owes me since I helped him move his gun safe once, which is kind of ironic, really, since this is kind of where the whole thing started.

So off to the gun club I went today where I got my orientation and shot 50 rounds through the Sig to demonstrate that I can follow directions (although I really did suck at it, good thing I'm joining a range) as Range Partner laughed at me. Afterwards it was off to the Refuge for some toasted cow and safe moving. All too soon the day was over, and we parted with the usual declarations that we would have to make it happen sooner rather than later.

It's been a pretty good day.

15 April 2016

It Lives

Last week I attempted to access Refuge Central, the desktop computer that formerly resided in my living room but has since been moved to an office which I rarely use. I have been using the laptop almost extensively since the move, but I wanted to get into my pictures that are located on the external hard drive hooked up to the desktop.

The computer had shut itself down since the last time I saw it, I figured that there had been a power bump or something that had caused it so I just booted it back up. Imagine my surprise when Windows 10 appeared, even though I had not downloaded it.

I uninstalled Windows 10 and took my external hard drive out to the laptop while it reverted and didn't think any more about it. When I brought the external drive back it was done reverting back to my previous Windows 8 installation, as if nothing had ever happened.

The next day I went back into the office because I decided it was time to play with Linux since Windows wanted to be such a pain in the ass. Imagine my surprise when once more the computer was off, even though I had left it running the previous day. So, I booted it back up and opened the browser to find Linux and after a few minutes it shut down again, immediately rebooting upon  the shut down. After a few minutes it cycled again. About this time I could smell escaping electrons, so I shut it down.

Employing the smell check method I quickly determined the power supply had gone bad. Back to Refuge Mobile I went, where I found a replacement power supply for a nice price at the auction site. Today the power supply arrived, and Refuge Central is once more online and operating at spec.

Now to download that Linux distro... (I'm trying Fedora KDE)

03 April 2016

An Apology

for my lack of posting. Have an April redhead instead.


Enjoy!

11 March 2016

Catching Up

I have been remiss. There has not been a new ROTM for two months now.

And so, to make up for that omission, here are two:

 I know it isn't quite spring, but for the past couple of days here at the Refuge the sun has been shining and the temperatures have been in the 70s so it's close enough.


Happy Springtime!

10 March 2016

Ain't That A Bitch

Taxes, I mean.

So this year, given my significant changes in status, my tax situation is much different than last year.

First off, I have a spouse that works. Not just part time at menial labor, either, but a real career type job. One that has significant income. Significant enough that between the two of us, with my retirement pay thrown in, we are now in the exalted category of "Evil Hated Rich" (meaning we make more than 100K per year).

Unfortunately that throws us into the next higher tax bracket as well.

I use an online service to file taxes, and I prepared my returns this year as both married filing joint and married filing single...or at least I did (more on that in a bit). Married filing joint our refund (over-payment of taxes, remember, not free money that we did not earn) was a little over a grand. Since last year her return was a bit less than two grand she wasn't altogether thrilled at this.

So I redid the forms to married filing single, and when I checked the box to make this change the online service asked if I was sure about this since her information would be removed. Yes, I was, so on we went. My refund ended up being a bit over 4 grand. Oh fabulous day! I exclaimed as I e-filed my return.

Except that when I looked at the printed out forms...my status was married filing jointly. D'oh!

And so I got to pay an ADDITIONAL $42 to change the forms in this online service that I will henceforth never use again (Taxslayer, if you must know) and the end result is...I owe 311 duckets to the fed.gov for my impetuosity. I still get a tiny bit back off my state return, but that's it.

The biggest change is in the tax rates for filing status. Married filing single and single is the same, but last year I filed as head of household which is a lesser rate. I was fine at the lesser rate, but not so much at the single rate.

As a result I will be changing my exemptions from one to zero for the next tax year, I get to mail in my amended returns (with an accompanying check to the Feds), and we will still likely file married/single for both of us in the future since she will get a return large enough to make up the difference plus some.

Ted Cruz wants a flat tax. I'm a Cruz guy from here on out.

16 February 2016

Yeah...

So Thursday this happened.


Sunday night into Monday this happened.


Today I went out to move the trucklet over a bit to get it out of the way, and just out of curiosity I turned the key...and it started right up.

The coolant is still mysteriously gone, so I still have a problem, but at least now I know it didn't slip time and possibly damage valves or pistons.

I'll take it apart this weekend and inspect the heads. Maybe I will get lucky and just have to replace the head gaskets. That would be nice.

It's not all bad though. This happened Sunday also.


Valentines Day 2015 was the day I asked her to go out with me and she didn't run away screaming, so we've officially been "a thing" for a year now. It's been a good one.

11 February 2016

Well

Damn.

Not really what I'd hoped to be doing with my day.
Boy and I went to Fort Bragg today to get his ID card, mostly so I could quit paying so much for his health insurance. On the way out I thought I smelled antifreeze, but it went away immediately so I thought nothing of it. On the way home the heater started blowing cold air, so I looked at the temp gauge and saw it was spiked. The motor died as soon as I pushed in the clutch. I let it cool down and tried to start it, and it has no compression.

Either the head gaskets are blown (a common Subaru problem) or my timing belt skipped a tooth. I'm hoping it's head gaskets because that's cheaper to fix. It was about time for another timing belt anyway, so either way I'll do it when I'm there, but if it's only the head gasket I won't have to get the valves done. I guess I can't complain, it has 90K on it since the motor was apart the last time, but it is an expense I wasn't planning on.

Seems to be a lot of unplanned stuff happening lately.

10 February 2016

Also

A year ago today I got an Email telling me that someone liked my little pony so much that they had to go out and get a red car of their own.

Once More...

Sunday night I had 4G service so I was able to talk to M on my break, as usual, while keeping track of the pitiful demise of the home team.  A few hours later I went to look something up and...no service.

On my way home I tried to call M but kept getting the error message that my call would not connect, regardless of the number of bars showing on my signal strength meter.

Monday afternoon I still had nothing, so I contacted Verizon through their website. They said they were getting reports of sporadic outages and should have everything straightened out within 24 hours.

Yesterday I still didn't have service, for the second day, so off to the Verizon store I went. An hour later they were unable to get the darn thing to work, so I walked out with a brand new replacement.

I sure hope this one lasts a little longer than ten days.

03 February 2016

Oh, G

So it ends up I didn't like the old Droid as much as I remembered.

There were several things I missed about the HTC, so I switched it back...but oh yeah, it won't charge. Maybe I can turn it in under the warranty...

well, if I hadn't switched it for the Droid, that would have worked. But, since now I have totally buggered myself, time to get a new phone! Along with a new 2 year obligation, oh boy.

So, I got a Droid Turbo 2. Nice phone, leather back which I immediately covered up with a case, and a non-breakable screen. That might be handy. Another nice thing, a charging dock. No need to plug it in, just sit it on the charging dock and let it charge as I sleep. Easy peasy!

Download a few apps (including Blogger that I pulled my hair out to get set up), set everything up just the way I want it...yeah, don't care much for having to hit another button when I open the phone app just to get a keypad, and then I deleted my email app because you CAN'T SIGN OUT OF IT!!! and I think I can live with it.

So the other day I'm talking to M just before she goes to bed, as I usually do, and she mentions her cousin John is in the hospital for some sort of stomach problems and he's posting on the book of faces. I try to open it up and I can't get the internet when I'm on the phone. That's annoying, never had that problem with the HTC...and as soon as I hang up the phone I can get on the 'net, no problems. Hmmm. I check out the issue on the internets and find out I have to turn on advanced calling. OK, no probs, everything is hunky dory, right?

Yeah...not really.

As I'm driving home my phone hooks up to the bluetooth and the actions app I have turns off the wifi, turns on the GPS and opens up Mapquest as I have set it up to do. I then call M for the trip home, as I usually do, and dammit, my Mapquest hangs up with the message that I can't get data while I'm on the phone! W? T? F??? So I divert to the Verizon store to find out what the deal is.

Long story short, you can't get voice and data unless you are either 1) on the wifi or 2) in a 4G LTE network area.

Long story long, the old 3rd Generation (3G) network, which could only provide voice or data but not both, is being replaced by a new 4th Generation (4G) with Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology that can use voice and data. Up to around 2008 since 4G was in its infancy (or not even around) you were limited to either making a phone call or using the internet/GPS, but not both at the same time.

However, many cell phone users were upset that they couldn't navigate to their favorite restaurant while inviting their friends to join them, or talk on the phone to a client while they are trying to navigate to the clients business, or look up something on the net while on the phone, etc. So, to overcome that little shortfall some cell phones (like the HTC One M8) have a dual receiver, one for voice and messaging and one for data.

But now, since we are entering the brave new digital world that old clunky outdated 3G network is being phased out...so no need to put in that second R/T, but instead of saying that you may be limited if you aren't on a 4G LTE network we will just tell you about the extended battery life. Yay! And since the LTE network is expanding every day, no one will notice! Yay!

Except when you aren't in an LTE coverage spot that is. Oops. Sorry about that. Of course if you start out in an LTE area you can start out with voice and data, but if you move into an area that isn't covered...goodby one or the other. And, since Verizon has built its reputation over not dropping calls (can you hear me now?) they opted to drop data rather than drop calls.

I guess that makes sense, the cell phone is primarily a phone after all, but it sure seems like I'm paying a big chunk of money to take a step backwards.

22 January 2016

The Droid I Was Looking For

I haven't really liked my HTC One cell phone since I bought it, and now it's refusing to take a charge if it is turned on. I have to either turn it all the way off or put in in airplane mode to get it to charge.

I've been sorry to have let my old Droid go, but recently Middle Daughter traded up and I was able to get it back. Yesterday I went through the steps of re-activating it and I've been downloading the apps and add-ons that I've become accustomed to.

The screen is smaller, so using it for the Kindle won't be as good. I'll also miss the stereo speakers on the HTC, but it's not like I used it much for listening to music anyway. If nothing has changed since I switched up the battery will charge when I'm in the car using the GPS or if I have it plugged in and all services active.

So today, to reward me for all my efforts, I've gotten three phone calls from the same number between the hours of 8 AM and noon. Spammers. I finally answered the last call but I can't say who it was because when I picked it up I whispered "It's done but there's a lot of blood. Send the cleaners. Make payment as agreed. Do NOT make me come looking for you. Lose this number." Then I hung up. They haven't called back so far.

One more thing I'll miss about the HTC One, I guess...the ability to block numbers.

17 January 2016

Helping Hands

Today M and I got together with the Wake Forest Mustang Club for a poker run, the purpose was to raise some money for a local mom to get a handicapped van for her two daughters.

The run went well, the weather was clear and sunny even though it was a bit cold.


 We left Wake Forest NC a little after 9:30 and collected cards along the way, ending up in Wilmington NC at the USS North Carolina.



At the end of the day we went out with the group for supper and then back home. It was a good day all in all, and it will have to do me for a while since the Mustang is now down for a left front caliper.

The brake telltale started sounding off about halfway there, fortunately the pad is not yet down to metal but it is at the wear limit. The pads just went on it in October, and only the inside left one is down to the wear limit. The rotor is not damaged or even significantly worn, so I won't have to replace it which is good since both rotors were just replaced. A new caliper and hose, new brake pads and I should be right back on the road.

Just another thing that I hadn't planned on spending the money on, but I guess I know what I'm doing next weekend.

03 January 2016

Beginning The New Year

It's been a busy year.

It's been a good year for me, but it's been busy.


I wish you all a good year this year.

30 December 2015

Nice To Be Home Again

Eleven states and both families have been visited in the past ten days. Gifts and greetings have been exchanged and a good time was had by all.

We got back home today in the rain to find the roof still leaks in the kitchen and bathroom. As I type this missive I am listening to pieces falling off the kitchen ceiling.

I guess for the new year I'm going to break down and put a new roof on the Refuge...and one on the Mustang as well, for the same reason.

Be it ever so waterlogged, there's no place like home...

25 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

And Now

in an effort to offset the negativity, let me tell you what I've been up to lately.

Last Saturday, December the 19th, M and I packed up the car and headed west to Iowa. M was a bit nervous about it since it was her first time meeting the folks, but as I expected it all went very well. The trip was mostly uneventful although she did tease me a bit about going all the way through Tennessee rather than have to enter the People's Republic of Illinois.


She and Mother hit it off famously, Mother being a knitter from way back and M being a relative novice. Mother knits baby blankets and sweaters and M mostly knits shawls, so they were interested in each others work and spent some time with their heads together comparing notes.

On the second day here M completed the project she was on and needed materials to start something else, so off we went to the big city of Council Bluffs, Iowa (with a side trip to Omaha Nebraska) for yarn, and much to M's delight, Dunkin Donuts coffee. When we got back Mother said there was also a yarn shop right here in little Clarinda that might have a thing or two.

So downtown we went to find not really a yarn shop but a quilters shop. They mostly put the final stitching on quilts and can do everything from simple patterns to mural type designs, but they also had yarn and fabric. They didn't make a lot of money off of their yarn and fabrics though, so they were selling off their entire stock. M was in heaven.


The thing that really caught MY eye, however, was this little unobtrusive sign in the front door window.


There are a lot of examples of businesses that we as gunnies won't frequent because of the polar opposite sign in the front windows, so it's kind of nice to see one like this.


Handcart Quilts and Yarn, for all of your quilting needs.

24 December 2015

Apparently

TTAG is at it again.

Yep, once again they've stolen Tam's stuff for use on their own site without attribution.

At this rate they really should hire her on as a paid author...if she would lower herself to write for such a rag.

"Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual property thief"

22 December 2015

And In Other News

I have no further reason to go to Virginia.

Range Partner calls it "Occupied Virginia" and it looks as if his assessment is spot on. VA has now joined the Northeast in it's idiocy.

Shame really...it was such a nice state once.

07 December 2015

Many Pardons

I have been remiss. Allow me to correct my erroneous ways.

I bring to you...December.

Have a great day!

21 November 2015

Road Worthy

Yesterday I washed M's car and vacuumed it out for her. While I was at it I checked the oil and lights. This morning I got up and scraped the windows clean for her.

 I do these things not because I want her to leave, but because I want her to be safe.

She headed out for Pennsylvania about an hour ago to spend the first part of the week with her family. I will join her Thursday for Thanksgiving at her brother's house in Virginia.

 As she drives, my heart rides with her.

17 November 2015

Wow

I wanted something that wouldn't keep me awake for hours and didn't have a whole lot of sugar, so I got one of these.


This sh!t sucks. I don't think I'll be getting another any time soon...like ever.

14 November 2015

What I Did Today

Today I watched M do this:

She used the Sig and did very well, as I expected since she did very well with it the first time she shot it. The next step will be to actually get the permit, but this step is done.

While I watched her do this I also sat through the class to refresh my own knowledge since I have to renew my permit in February.

It was a good day.

01 November 2015

November

For November the ROTM is a classy lady who passed recently.

Farewell to Maureen O'Hara. Say Hi to John for us.

24 October 2015

What If

My "adopted sister" who is a black woman 15 years older than I am lost her grandson a little more than a year ago. He answered a knock at the door and was gunned down. I don't know the details to that case, and I don't know if they ever caught the gunman.

Last week another one of her young relatives was shot eight times in an armed robbery. He saw the robbers face, you see, and the robber didn't want him to be able to identify him to the police. This young man is alive today only by the grace of God and the miracle of modern medicine.

You have heard it all before; give them what they want, it's not worth your life, better that you be beaten, robbed and raped than lose your life, it's only possessions and what possession could possibly be worth your life (an assessment that I am in vehement disagreement with, BTW). But what if what they want IS your life? What then?

I carry because I set the amount of my own worth, and the worth of those I love, and I set that value far above that price which most criminals would be willing to pay. It is up to me to enforce that price.

So what is your life worth?

Think about it.

10 October 2015

Stop n' Go

While on the Blue Ridge last week the front brakes on the 'stang started scraping. By the time we got through NoVa and back home they were scraping badly and the left rotor was showing signs of metal on metal contact.

Yesterday afternoon I put brand-new brake pads and rotors on the front. The left outside pad was down to metal but the rest of them looked practically new (they are only a bit over a year old). I checked the sliders and they moved easily.

I put on the new anti-rattle clips, cleaned and greased the sliders and put everything back together, I'll keep a close eye on it and see what happens. If all else fails I'll replace the left hose and caliper but I'm hoping the fresh grease and new clips will fix the issue.

And of course, since I couldn't drive the car all week the sun came back out to play but today and tomorrow it is supposed to rain again.

I'm In

Erin has an interesting invitation.

I have two or three carry holsters, depending on what I'm doing or where I'm going (today I'll be open carrying to a luncheon but later I'll be concealing). Here's my open carry rig.

What do you say? Show them off!

07 October 2015

Here's Something

I don't have the time nor the place (I really need to look into joining a range, too bad there isn't one close by) to do this, but one of you might.

Basically you take a new shooter to the range and then you get free ammo. Details are here.

One of these days I really need to get out to the range, but the short-term prospects for doing so aren't looking too good.

05 October 2015

What I Did This Weekend

The Blue Ridge Parkway was wet, foggy and cold. It rained the whole time and all of the Parkway north of Floyd VA was closed due to high winds and water.

I had a great weekend.

And Now, Without Further Ado

October's ROTM is brought to you by quartets.

I hope the extra content makes up for the wait.

30 September 2015

It Begins

We left the Refuge in the rain, heading to Gatlinburg TN by way of Dunkin Donuts, but somewhere along the way M called an audible and we went to Asheville NC instead. Given the weather and time constraints we (in the collective sense) decided to start out from Asheville instead of Cherokee and skip the first part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in favor of sleeping in a little later and being able to take some more time during our first day traveling.

Tomorrow will see us on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to our stop in Boone in time for a bit of rest and refreshment before we have to be at the chapel. This is the only scheduled event on our trip, besides being the entire reason for it.

Friday and Saturday we will drive the rest of the Parkway and the Skyline Drive, ending up in Winchester VA to see Favorite Niece sometime Saturday afternoon and Reston VA to visit Brother In Law on Saturday evening.

Sunday we will head back to the Refuge. From there...the sky is the limit.

Public Service Announcement

The ROTM posting for the month of October will be delayed due to nuptials. October's ROTM will be posted as soon as possible upon my return.

Sorry GFA.

20 September 2015

Bubba Dog

Doglet had an appointment with the doggy dentist on Friday.

He's been on antibiotics all week because he had some infection in his teeth and Friday the vet pulled all six incisors on the top jaw and the two middle ones on the bottom. He now has a large gap between the canines on the top and a smaller one on the bottom.

Now all he needs is a banjo.

17 September 2015

Shorn

Doglet was getting pretty fuzzy and matted so he had to go get a haircut.



I think he's looking pretty good.


I Am Intrigued By Your Views

and wish to know if you have a newsletter to which I may subscribe...

Oh, you do! Welcome to the Refuge Wall o' Shame!

08 September 2015

Redhead Days

On the first weekend of every September there is a redhead festival in Breda in the Netherlands.

This year there will also be one the weekend following in the UK.

I cannot imagine a more worthy event.

And so in the spirit of this festival, I present to you...sunflowers!

And since it is September, it is also Kilted to Kick Cancer Month. Drop by AD's place to join in the fun.

04 September 2015

Dammit

Da roof ain't on fire, but it was a big mess.

See that dormer off to the left? It's been leaking right into the main roof where it joins and the big hole in the center is the result. I noticed water coming in the window right below, and when I checked it out I realized my plans for a lazy weekend were for naught.

So, this morning I went around collecting tools and materials and right after lunch I climbed the ladder and started ripping down shingles.  What I found wasn't as bad as it could have been, it ended up being 12" x 30" with some underlaying rafter damage.

I trimmed the hole up square and cut a new piece of plywood. Then I undercut the rafters 1 1/2 inches down from where the tops would have been if there had been tops and laid a 2x4 cut 34 inches long across them, slipping the ends underneath the good sheathing on each side.

This gave me a good foundation to attach the 12x30" plywood, then on went the shingles. After the shingles were all on I applied a liberal coat of screen-door-in-the-bottom-of-the-boat sealer all over everything until all the visible joints between flashing and shingles were covered.

The thunder was rolling in by that point, so all the tools went into the truck until the rain stops. A quick shower and all is right with the world.

Later on I'll have more projects to do, but for now bring it on Mother Nature, I want to see how good a job I did.