31 January 2014

Death and Taxes

I didn't change my filing status on my retirement pay from married to single, so now everything I overpaid on my regular paycheck is going to make up for what I underpaid on my retirement pay. The only good thing, I guess, is I don't owe anything else.

Think about that for a minute though...everything that was overpaid on 70K single with zero exemptions is being taken to make up for what was underpaid on 20K married with 2 exemptions, a bit over 4K altogether. On 20K. One fifth. In addition to the amount already taken out (not quite 1K).

Single people sure pay a buttload of taxes.


I haz one. Apparently we did OK this quarter.

I want reloading supplies, but I need a windshield in the Baja.

Sometimes being a responsible adult isn't much fun.

30 January 2014

Live-Blogging the Snowpocalypse

Between 2 and 3 inches fell on us at the Refuge. I got out early the next morning, cleared the snow from the Subaru and Daughter's car and shoveled the walks and driveway. The sun came out and dried the driveway out before the afternoon was half over.

Son-In-Law borrowed the Subaru (AWD) to drive Daughter to work (Daughter can't drive a stick) and reported the roads were mostly clear. I went out to gas the Subi up and get a few things and the roads were clear and dry.

Today I went out and cleared off the Mustang, tomorrow I'll take it out and wash it up. There's a car show on Saturday and I want her to look good. The temps should be in the low 50's tomorrow and the high 50's on Saturday.

So to recap...Monday I drove the car to work with the top down, Tuesday it snowed on us, Wednesday I cleared the driveway and daily drivers, today the other two got cleared off, tomorrow will be warm enough to wash and detail the car and Saturday should be top down weather again for the car show if the sun is shining.

That's wintertime in the South.

A note about the picture; this was taken from my driveway, the road I live on is not maintained so the snow removal was done by Mr. Sun. It was clear by Wednesday night, having only been driven on all day and not plowed a bit.

Current Whereabouts Unknown

But if any of my readers can help...

29 January 2014


Lord what a timesink this is. I have it not only on my smarter-than-me phone, but also on BOTH my computers since it's included in Windows 8.

Now reading "The Stars Came Back" by Rolf Nelson, a co-blogger at The View from North Central Idaho. In the credits is frequent LRoaS commenter Rabid Alien. It's a good read, one that I highly recommend, and since it's already in format would be an excellent screenplay.

Next up is "Lines of Departure" by Marko Kloos, an author who's blog I have followed for some time and I'm glad to see him finally getting the attention as an author that he deserves.

There are several more books scattered in and about the Kindle list that still have a "new" or "0%" tag on them, so I really should be reading more and buying less.

28 January 2014


Snowmageddon has begun...

27 January 2014

The End Is Near

The Snowpocalypse has passed, but Snowmageddon is upon us!

As much as 3-5 inches of snow is possible in the greater Raleigh area starting Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Fortunately I don't have to work Tuesday night, so no need for me to be out in it.

It's shaping up to be a good night to sit by the fire with a beverage of choice.

Algore hardest hit, Bush blamed...

25 January 2014

Best Laid Plans

I was going to join up with Range Partner this morning to manufacture some smoke and noise, but one look at the forecast with the wind chill spelled an end to those plans. Just as well I guess, last night at work was one of those "drink yourself to sleep and forget it ever happened" kind of nights.

Here's hoping tonight goes better.

24 January 2014

What's This

Cheaper Than Dirt has .22 LR!

for 50 cents a round.


I'll believe the ammo crisis is over when I can buy .22LR in 555 bulk packs at WalMart again.


If you have a Blogspot blog and you use Avast antivirus with your Firefox browser you have no doubt noticed that your Blogger navbar is missing. Depending on your preferences you may or may not be bothered by this, but since I generally find it to be somewhat useful it did bother me a bit.

The latest incarnation of Avast is the problem. If you open your blog in Firefox you will see, in the upper right hand corner, a green circle-ish device with a number in an orange square. Click on that and it will give you details about the site security. The first thing on the list is Social Networks. Click on that and allow Google, this will bring your navbar back.

It's not like they aren't tracking you anyway, and it's just for Blogspot. It still blocks social networks on every other tab you open as well as on every other site you open on the same tab you opened your blog with, even other Blogspot blogs.

I ordered a motherboard for the dearly departed Acer, it should be getting here Tuesday. It has been completely disassembled and if the electron gods smile on me I'll be able to reassemble it with the new motherboard and resurrect the old laptop. This is being done purely on an experimental basis, I don't really need it but the motherboard cost me less than a steak dinner so I figured I'd try it. The worst that can happen is it doesn't work, in which case I'm no worse off than I was before. Maybe I can even get the webcam to work...that would be nice.

Continued futzing with the new computer reveals more things that I did different with the desktop than I did with the laptop, contrary to what I believed before I did sign the desktop up with my Windows Live account. I just disabled the password requirement on waking. Also, making the laptop never sleep when it was plugged in got me past the whole having to wake the damn thing and then bring up my desktop. I'm still not thrilled with Windows 8, but I liked 7 the brief time I worked with it.

Computers are supposed to make your life easier...

23 January 2014

Let This Be A Warning To You

No good deed goes unpunished (for varying degrees of "good").

Any man who donates genetic material in any way shape or form these days is a bleed'n idiot.

Or will be, as soon as the courts are done with him.

(Yes, I know there are supposed to be legal shields for anonymous donors, but the inmates are now running the asylums. Good luck with that.)

21 January 2014

It's Snowing


16 January 2014


The new laptop has Windows 8. The new desktop has Windows 8. I did not have a deep and burning hatred for Windows 8 until I got the laptop.

The new laptop requires me to sign on to the computer with my Hotmail account password. I do not like this. The desktop does not. The laptop will not open up until I have signed on with my password. The desktop is open as soon as I move the mouse. I don't have the option to remove the password lock on the laptop.

The new laptop will not let me install the Lexmark printer software. The desktop had no problems with it. The laptop also sent its name to the printer (even though the printer won't print anything since the drivers aren't installed) so even when I do run the printer installation software I have to first go to the desktop, access the printer and eliminate the name and then very quickly go back to finish the installation. When the installation is "finished", a test print page does not appear and the printer is not in the list of printers.

Out of frustration and desperation I tried to install Windows 7 but the computer boots straight up from the hard drive and does not allow a boot from the disk, so even that is not an option. There is not an option to get into the BIOS on startup.

I am half tempted to swap the hard drives from the old Acer, connect the new hard drive with a cable and format it, then reinstall it and install Windows 7. It seems like an awful lot of work for a brand new computer but at least then it would do what I wanted it to do without doing anything that I didn't want it to do.

Vile and hateful thoughts and words to you Microsoftmanager! Stop trying to be clever.

UPDATE: Resetting the computer back to factory settings and then setting it back up with a local account vice a WindozeLive account returned my seething hatred of Windows 8 back down to an active dislike. It took several hours to reset, but then I was able to install the software I wanted and not have things happen that I didn't want. I am now...not quite as disgruntled. Also, Classic Shell FTW!

15 January 2014


Just as soon as I said I couldn't justify the cost up pops a deal that I could afford. By selectively not paying some bills that I'm ahead on anyway I came up with the purchase price of a new laptop. So, Refuge Mobile is once again on the airwaves...webwaves...whatever they are.

The new laptop is an HP 2000-2d22DX with twice the RAM and half again as much hard drive space standard as the enhanced Acer had. The RAM can be upgraded to 8GB if I would like to do so, but I'm used to 2GB so 4GB is like going from TDP to the Mustang, so no need to supercharge it just yet.

And, as an added bonus, the webcam works...but unfortunately it only points at me, it doesn't flip around to take pictures of what I'm looking at like the Acer did...when it worked...

RIP faithful old Acer, hopefully the laptop doc can do something with your old pieces (he should be able to, two 1GB sticks of brand-new RAM and a new 500GB hard drive...)

14 January 2014

It Never Rains

The laptop is done for. Unless the computer doc can fix it for less than two C notes Refuge Mobile is grounded until a replacement can be had.

The biggest problem is I can't justify 4 to 500 beans on a new one right now,. The Scooby needs drive axles and I've had some unexpected expenses, not to mention the cost of the recent trip in travel costs and lost wages (yes, it's paid vacation but I lose a day of overtime plus I didn't work the extra overtime day I usually get in).

Fortunately none of this is critical; I don't really need the laptop right now (at all, actually, but it's nice for travel) and the axles will hold together for a while yet. It's just discouraging how everything seems to go at once.

13 January 2014

All Good Things

My badge still let's me in the door so I guess I still have a job. It looks like my schedule will be changing though.

Nice to be needed I guess.

10 January 2014


I haz one.

The only time I ever used it extensively was when I did the pistol course at Tigerswan, and to put it mildly it was not all I hoped it would be.

Me, I mean. The holster was fine, I just sucked drawing from it.

My experience caused me to shelve the holster for everyday carry (not that it was a big deal since I usually carry IWB anyway and the SERPA is more of an open carry rig) although I will still wear it to the occasional open carry events that I attend. I wouldn't depend on it for an everyday rig, but that is strictly because I have a lack of confidence in my ability with it, not that I have a lack of confidence in the rig itself.

My opinion is not shared by everyone, of course. There are a lot of stories floating about the interwebs about how horrible the SERPA holsters are, and some institutions have banned their use all together. There is also a famous video where a SERPA user shot himself that is used to bolster the "SERPA SUX" allegation, but the shooter himself said that it was not the fault of the SERPA holster.

On the other hand, there are positive reviews as well. I think it was more a lack of training that did him in rather than the holster, I don't have a link but I remember seeing that it was not a normal carry rig for him. The bottom line though is that once the confidence in a carry rig is upset it can never be fully restored.

For this reason there is interest in getting away from the SERPA. There are several alternatives out there, everything from positive retention to the tried-and-true thumbstrap. Range Partner has a review of the Safariland over at his place that might interest anyone looking for an alternative.


Always nice to be home again. It's where I keep all of my stuff.

So, to recap: when I got to Iowa on Friday the sisters had taken the folks out to supper. They had been there long enough to get seated and get the drink order in when I walked in the door, hugged Dad and told him they needed to turn off the air conditioning. He looked up to see who was talking to him and Mom jumped out of her chair. Best Entrance Ever.

Saturday we had the 50th Anniversary shindig, not a lot of people at once but a lot of familiar faces cycled through. It was good to see a lot of folks that I had not seen in a while.

Sunday I got up and went to church with the folks. While I was putting on my churchifying finery I noticed that I had not brought any dress shoes, durr. So, I wore my second-best finery instead that doesn't require dress shoes. Sister made a roast using a recipe that I must try for Sunday dinner.

Monday was hideously cold and Mom went in for cataract surgery on her left eye (she had already had the right one done). Other than that, it was a good day to stay inside.

Tuesday I got some small chores done around the house, including putting a new space heater in the crawlspace to thaw the washing machine drain out, got everything ready to go back home and then went visiting.

Wednesday was travel day. I left a little later than I had intended because Mom was going to the cardiologist and I wanted to see how it turned out. Her appointment got pushed back a bit and I couldn't wait, so Sister called me on the road to let me know that she got a clean bill of health.

I had intended to stop for the night, but the closer I got the less I wanted to stop. I finally got in about 4 AM local, the last few miles were done on caffeine and Halestorm. It was good to get into my own bed at the end of the trip. All together a bit over 2700 miles in travel and wandering around during the 5 days I was there; 1322 from their front door to mine. Jackson TN is close to the halfway point, so I'll start my relocation job search there in another 4 years.

The first thing I did Thursday morning after unloading the trucklet was wash the dog. He's not as happy to see me now as he was when I first got home.

07 January 2014


I got up and did my laundry only to find the drain for Mom's washing machine froze up during the night. They have a space heater in the crawlspace under the bathroom that is supposed to turn on when the temperature drops to a certain level to keep the pipes from freezing. It was unplugged, but even when it was plugged in it wouldn't heat up.

Fortunately there was another heater available, so I replaced the bad one and three hours later the pipes unfroze and I was able to finish my laundry. In the meantime I re-hung a closet rod that had fallen down and took care of some of the other little chores around the house that no one has time to do even though they are close. When something big pops up one of my siblings will run right over and take care of it, but the little things slip by most times.

Sometime between going out to get the materials to put the closet bar back up and having the pipes finally thaw Mom decided she was not feeling well and went to lay down. She had fallen the week before while out walking, blacked out in fact, and has to go see the heart doctor tomorrow. He doesn't think its anything life-threatening, but it still bothers me a great deal.

I was the one, you see, who promised at six years old that I would stay at home to make sure she was taken care of. I was then the one that moved away. Only one other sib moved away, but she's back now, I went farther and stayed gone. Mom takes great pleasure in reminding me of this.

Even though the siblings are near I would still like to be close enough to get there in a day, but I need to also be close enough to Pop in Florida to be able to get there quickly if he needs me. I'd also like to be within a days drive of Raleigh because Eldest Son is planning on staying there. So somewhere central to the three means west Tennessee.

So it looks like I will be looking for work in the west Tennessee area in four years.

06 January 2014

No Words

Prayers instead.


Local weather, Page County IA:

Issued by The National Weather Service
Omaha, NE

Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 3:52 AM CST


(it's 64 degrees in Franklinton NC as I copy and paste this...)

The Minute You Insulted Us

your argument became invalid.

You can compare conscription to slavery, but there are (and always has been) many ways to get out of the US military even if you were drafted. Not so much with slavery. Conscription in the US was never an all-or-nothing sort of thing, either, if your number came up there were a lot of deferments that didn't involve a bullet to the back of the head. Still, it was an interesting conversation until...


My parents read this blog so the rest of this reply is redacted.

UPDATE: Edited to add this link.

05 January 2014

Fool's Advice

I posted this on the Book of Faces a while ago, but the event of my parent's 50th anniversary gave me the chance to see and talk to a lot of people whom I haven't seen in quite some time. This of course leads to the inevitable "if only I had..." conversations. There are many things that I, too, wish that I had done...or maybe not done in some instances.

Don't settle. Strive for excellence in all things. If you find it necessary to do something, put all you have into it. Whatever you are doing at any particular time, do it to your utmost ability...but remember that what is important right now may not be important later, and some things that you think are so critical right now...don't mean a thing in the end. Plan accordingly. Welcome change, wrestle it to the ground and make it yours.

Two things, gentlemen, that will always be important, no matter what you are doing right now, is to be the best husband you can be to that lady in your life, and be the best father you can be to your kids, because time is fleeting and every instant is here and then gone never to return, but those two things will always be the most important things you will ever do.

And last, but not least...don't be afraid. If even the worst thing that you can imagine happening happens you will either survive it in which case you will have a chance to make up for it, or you won't in which case you have nothing more to worry about. It is much better to live with scars than regrets, because no matter how painful the wound the scar is always a good story, but the regrets are painful forever.

I have not always lived up to my ideals, and I have the regrets to prove it. Learn from my regrets, and when the chance comes up...go for the scars instead.

A fool's advice indeed, from the biggest one of us that has ever lived.

04 January 2014

Subi Weather

Remember when I said I could have gotten by with bringing the Mustang on this trip?

Yeah...you can just go ahead and forget I ever said that...

It is kinda pretty...

but not everything that has ice in it is fit to drink.

Don't ask me to explain that last one. I have no idea.

02 January 2014

January's Redhead

Happy New Year!!!

Stupid Weather Channel

It started raining on me right before I got to Asheville and just past Knoxville I saw my first poo flinging monkey salt flinging truck. After that the glowbull warmening flurries hit on and off till I was just short of Nashville. After that the sun came out for a little bit and from there to Millington all was dry. Windy, but dry.

The Smokey Mountains demonstrating how they got their name. Just rain, not glowbull warmening. The pic was taken from the cell phone which was securely anchored and being used as a nav device, so you can stop picking at me now.

I probably could have gotten away with driving the Mustang, but I think it would have upset me a bit to have salt flung on it. As it was the Baja got salted down a bit, and with the temps not expected to get above the hard water mark the whole time I'm here it looks like I won't be washing it off soon, but it did rain and snow and then rain again after that so hopefully the worst of it got rinsed off.

Nothing looks familiar here in Millington in the dark. I might have to wander through the old burg a bit in the daylight to see if I recognize anything. But for now, since I'm checked in at the lodge, I'm going to go off and find a bite to eat and then settle in for the evening.

Travel continues tomorrow through St Louis and Kansas City MO, I hope to be home before bedtime.

01 January 2014

All Right, Fine...

Subaru it is then.

I'm not happy about it though.