04 November 2022

In Other News

 I have just registered for what should be the final classes required for my Associates in Applied Science degree in the field of Mechatronics Engineering Technology from Vance Granville Community College. I should have all the requirements to graduate on the 9th day of May in the Year of Our Lord 2023.

After taking the summer off, I should then be able to register for the last two classes that I will need for my Associates in Applied Science degree in the field of Electronics Engineering Technology from the same Place of Matriculation, and should have all the requirements to graduate from that course of study in December of 2023.

And then I will finally have the degree that I should have had way back in 1990-something. The electronics one, that is; I'm only getting the mechatronics one because The Company is paying for it. Foolishly, they refused to pony up for the electronics degree, but I already had enough credits (aside from the two classes mentioned above, and to be fair I had them, too, they were just out of date by 30+ years) to earn that one as well with the credits obtained from the mechatronics course of study.

How Interesting...

 So I went to vote early because I am going to be out of pocket, as they say, on Election Day.

When I got to the polling place a helpful person (campaigner, obviously, since they weren't in the building and stayed outside of the proscribed "no campaigning" boundary, but they did not identify themselves) handed me a flyer saying that it would help me to fill out my ballot.

When I looked at it (after casting my vote) I had to laugh. Even though this helpful person did not identify herself as being with any particular candidate it wasn't hard to figure which party she was working for (of course the "PAID FOR" blurb in the left sidebar gives it away completely).

(For what it's worth, the actual ballot did not have any candidates name in bold print, nor did I cast a vote for any of the candidates marked on this example.)

14 October 2022

There Is No A In S.T.E.M.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are OBJECTIVE, meaning there are right and wrong answers in those four subjects. Regardless of your feelings on these subjects, facts are facts and wrong is wrong, and wrong can kill.

Art, on the other hand, is SUBJECTIVE, meaning there are no wrong answers. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and just because someone doesn't like a particular form or style of art doesn't make it wrong, and nobody has to die for it.

Lately there has been a push to include art in STEM, and it just doesn't fit. I don't know where it started but it needs to stop before someone gets hurt.

11 October 2022


 the time to deal with mental health issues is sometime BEFORE the gasoline gets poured into the bottles.

Family members of Reuel Rodriguez-Nunez, who was shot and killed by Raleigh police after lobbing several Molotov cocktails at them, think that "more should have been done to de-escalate the situation" and berate the police for failing to handle the situation as a mental health crisis.

Yeah...about that. If you know the guy was having psych problems, you (as family members) should have taken the steps to see that he got the help he needed before it became a crisis. The police are not equipped to handle such things at the scene of the crisis, their job is to stop it as quickly as possible before innocent members of the general public are harmed.

Which, regardless of your feelings about their methods, they did.

Their beef seems to be with one particular officer who is heard on body cam footage swearing at the suspect and encouraging him to "Do it! Do it! Give me the go-ahead!" just before he tosses a firebomb at the officer (at which case the four officers on scene open fire, hitting him 11 times).

Family members say he was "sending a message of his mental illness." I'm guessing this was not the first message, but in any case I would say this is an example of "message received."

Bottom line, if you have a family member in crisis...get them help. Otherwise, it may end tragically.

23 September 2022

I Get The Idea

 that Ron Desantis has read Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

I was looking for the latest Mexican Word of the Day meme for the word Desantis. "Martha's Vineyard said they would love us but then Desantis away."

Oddly, Microsoft Bing couldn't find it...

26 July 2022


 But lest you think I'm relaxing and enjoying myself...

Eldest Daughter is going to have a formal wedding ceremony this year (they did the Justice o' the Peace thing but Son-in-Law wants a formal ceremony. She couldn't care less, but she's willing to do it for him) during the Annual Gathering of the Horde in Myrtle Beach, so my folks are going to fly in from the midwest. Beach week doesn't start until next Sunday (shame, since the very last Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach is going on this week), so the folks are going to stay with us for the week.

This means the Refuge, being in a constant state of reconstruction (Mrs Hades denies it, but I say when she moved in she decided the only thing that gets to stay is me), needed to be at least partially prepared so that the momentarily psychotic Mrs Hades didn't lose Favored Daughter-In-Law status.* This means I've had a "Honey Do (or else!)" list as long as my...arm.

To be fair, it's stuff that has needed to be done for a while, but between working and Mrs Hades' change of employment (still a teacher, just at a different school next year) and traveling and whatnot we haven't had the time to get it done. My trailer even now is filled with school stuff ready to be transported to the new school once Mrs Hades gets clearance to take it there, but since they are doing summer school there and Beach Week is next week it won't be for a couple of weeks yet. With the trailer filled certain construction (or rather, deconstruction) projects are on hold for the nonce.

But, even so, we have managed to put new flooring in the master bedroom (but unfortunately not the master bath, that room needs both floor and ceiling and then will finally be done) and re-arranged everything so that the "new" furniture we picked up on our VA/PA trip fits where it needs to. Everything else has been properly stowed (or stuffed away where it can't be seen), cleaned, dusted and polished. Several loads have gone to the landfill by way of the Baja, so some of the detritus and clutter is gone as well. We've even managed to hang up some pictures, some of them from my brother's wedding several years ago (holy crap was I a fat bastard).

Plans and arrangements have been made for Beach Week and Wedding Day, so that's done. Everyone else will arrive in Myrtle on Sunday, but we have to drop the pups off to the kennel (they are going to hate us) before we can head down there, so we won't be there until Monday around noon. That will give us six hours or so before the wedding (6:30 Monday afternoon), and then maybe the crazy can ease off for a while.

If it doesn't, I'll be ready to go back to work so I can recover from my vacation.

*Firstly, ain't gonna happen. My mom loves her, in fact once upon a time I jokingly said if anything happened between us Mom would keep Mrs Hades. She laughed...but she didn't deny it. Secondly, when I was in the first grade we bought a house and my dad started ripping the walls down as we were moving in, so Mom gets it.

21 June 2022

Adventures in Traveling

 The missus and I are out and about.

One of the first trips Mrs Hades and I took together was to her Grammy's 90th birthday party in Ohio. That was seven years ago, and we're going to go up and see her for her 97th birthday tomorrow. 

It's not going to be as big a production as her 90th was, but we had thought maybe she was going to fall short of her goal. More on that in a bit, but she lived in a retirement facility where she had her own apartment and the staff checked in on her several times a day to see if she was still among us.

One of those times they found her slumped over and unconscious, so they called the ambulance and took her to the hospital where she was found to be suffering from malnutrition. She's forgetting to eat, and since she lives alone there is no one to remind her to do so. So she is moving into a nursing home and her apartment will need to be cleaned out.

That's where I come in. You see, there are some items of furniture that Grammy wants Mrs Hades to have, so we hooked the trailer to the Scoobydoo and off we went. But first, we were going to go by Brother In Law's new house in Occupied Virginia to pick up a couple of sets of bunk beds that he no longer needs. For some reason Mom Hades wanted one set, and Mrs Hades wanted the other so that we would have a place to sleep when my parents are here this summer. Another to-do that I'll tell you about later.

So off we went, me in the Scooby with trailer and Mrs Hades in her ride with the furbabies. The trip to BIL's was uneventful, and we started loading. Five mattresses, which alone necessitated the use of my 4x7 utility trailer, but then we started hauling out all of the wooden parts. One set wasn't too bad, standard bunk beds, a pair each of headboards and footboards, four side rails, and two sets of slats. However, the other set has a trundle bed (which explains the fifth of the five mattresses).

There are a lot of parts to a trundle bed. And since, of course, that is the one that Mrs Hades wants, it all went into the bed of the Subaru. At least, the parts that would fit in the bed. The rest went into the back seat.

The trailer got topped off with a rolled up rug, which was just long enough to touch the bed side rails sticking out of the back of the Subaru, but no big deal I thought, and off we went again. That's when I noticed the vibration. Not that I could miss it once we got on the interstate since it was bad enough to blur the mirrors.

Aha, I thought, that damn rug is bouncing against the wooden bed parts, which in turn is hitting the back of the cab and causing vibration So first rest stop I came to I pulled over and redistributed the load. It was better, I thought, but still bad. I did this a couple of times and finally thought maybe I had a bad tire on the trailer. So I pulled over to the side of the road and checked the trailer tires out.

Finding nothing I pulled back out and made it about 150 feet before there was a godawful crash and the trucklet pulled to the right. Back on to the side of the road and I checked the Scooby tires this time, to find the right rear collapsed onto the tire. Upon further investigation what I found was the lug nuts were gone and the brake rotor was riding inside the surface of the wheel.

I unloaded the backseat so I could get to the jack and meager stash of tools I had on hand, jacked the trucklet up and surveyed the damage. What I found was three of the five studs broken off with the other two apparently serviceable. The wheel had come off and the brake rotor shield had deflected enough so that the rotor was riding on the inside surface of the wheel. The wheel had not come out of the wheel well, so there was no other damage at all. Apparently it was overtime day for my guardian angel, which was a good thing for a Monday.

I took a nut off of each front tire and put the wheel back on with only two lug nuts, then drove at 20 miles an hour up to the next exit where I found a nice mall parking lot to pull in to. A quick web search (the modern world is good for some things, like cell phones with 5G internet) showed a parts store right around the corner where I was able to obtain a jack stand, a tool set, and more importantly five studs and lug nuts for a 2003 Subaru Baja. Into M's car we went to obtain the needed supplies.

Fortune started (or perhaps, given how bad it could have been, continued) to smile on me at that point and I was able to pretty quickly replace the studs. There is enough room behind the rear hub of a 2003 Baja to extract and insert new studs without removing the hub, if you ever needed to know. Good thing, too, because removing that staked nut on the propeller shaft to take the hub off might have been more trouble than it was worth. At any rate, all new studs (I went ahead and replaced the two apparently good ones since I was there and didn't want to take any chances), wheel back on and appropriate use of a 4 way tire iron to seat them and we were once again mobile.

Three hours later than our previously scheduled arrival time, since our little side-trip had eaten enough time to bring on the evening and I didn't feel like pulling a loaded trailer over two lane mountain roads in the dark and opted to take the longer interstate route instead, we got to Mrs Hades parents house. We had gotten into a few rain showers when we got close, so I decided to cover the trailer and trucklet bed before turning in for the night.

Before setting out I had bought two brand new tarps, one to cover the trailer and one for the truck bed, so I broke them out and found that I may have slightly overestimated the size of tarps I was going to need...as in, one tarp was enough to cover both Subaru and trailer. Completely cover, that is, from Scooby grill to trailer tailgate. Oh well, I reasoned, if a job is worth doing it's worth overdoing, and the load was indeed covered.

Dad Hades has an awning he sets up for the 4th of July that consists of a steel pole frame and tarp to cover the top. The tarp is getting frayed, so he needs a new one. Looks like I'll be leaving at least one, maybe both, of my excessively sized tarps here for that purpose, they are about the right size.

Later this week we will unload the bed parts for the beds that will stay here and then reload the parts for the beds that are going home with us, along with the rest of the furniture that will be going back down south. Dad Hades has already gone to Ohio and picked it up for us, so it's here in PA and we won't have to take the Scooby and trailer to Ohio to get it, which was greatly appreciated. How long it will take to unload the trailer when we get home is another matter. It's a good thing I have the Jeep to drive to work. 

So why did that wheel fall off? I have no idea. I don't have neighbors that hate me as far as I know, and BIL hasn't been at his new house long enough to make enemies. Safer bet is that I didn't get the lug nuts on that wheel completely tightened the last time I rotated the tires. I had been noticing a slight bit of vibration in it and figured it was a wheel weight that had gotten tossed, but it wasn't bad enough to worry me so I didn't bother with checking it out. I did go around and check all the lug nuts on the other three wheels before setting back out again, I promise you that much.

And now for the explanations I alluded to earlier. We need the bunks because Eldest Daughter is officially tying the knot at the Annual Gathering of Clan Hades in Myrtle Beach, and my folks are flying out from Iowa to attend. They will be staying with us for the few days preceding and following Clan Week, so they will be sleeping in our bed and we needed alternate sleeping arrangements for ourselves.

What about that goal I mentioned before? Well, Grammy had an older sister, Flo, who was two years older than her, and her latter life's goal was to outlive Flo. Flo died a couple of years ago, just shy of her 97th birthday, so as long as the old girl holds on until tomorrow, mission accomplished. She's doing much better now, so that doesn't appear to be an issue. Hell, she might end up out-living us all at this point.

12 June 2022

Rock n' Roll

 Here at the Refuge we grow rocks. Every year we get a fresh crop.

Mrs Hades has been digging them up and putting them in her flowerbed. Last week we gathered three 5 gallon buckets from the front yard and today we repeated the feat in the back yard. We also drove metal fence posts with the goal of expanding the fencing into the back yard to give the dogs more room to run.

And so, my prediction of the expanding honeydo list has come to pass.

Next week we're off to PA for a week, so further rock harvesting and fencing efforts will have to wait until our return. Hopefully there will be some manufacturing of smoke and noise in the near future as well.

08 June 2022


 I seriously need some range time.

With Mrs Hades soon to be on summer break perhaps we will get some time to do that.

Of course, with Mrs Hades soon to be on summer break my honeydo list will probably start to grow exponentially.

I wonder what Range Partner's schedule looks like now that he's "retired."*

*"Retired"apparently means "changed jobs, plus doing side jobs, so busier than I've ever been."


07 June 2022

Tales Of the Hood

 As I look back through the sparse number of postings I see that I have been remiss.

Not in the quality and quantity of postings, although that is definitely a thing, but in the follow-up.

When I posted this I said I would follow up when the Mustang hood was done. It took a while, the hood was ordered in October and didn't arrive until January, but it is painted and installed and it looks great. It only took the body shop six weeks to get the work done.

Yeah. Six weeks. I finally called them up and said "Dudes, WTF?" and they told me "Oh, it's in the drying booth and we were gonna call you tomorrow when it was done."

At any rate, I am pleased with the results.

I love the way it looks on the car, just different enough to warrant a closer look and yet not so ostentatious that it calls attention to itself.

 The only two issues I have with the new hood is the windshield washer sprayers, which are mounted to the bottom of the hood, aren't aimed correctly any more and will need to be bent to correct their angle, and the cowl is now low enough that the windshield wipers hit the trailing edge when they are lifted. I've already scratched the trailing edge with them, so that will need to be fixed, but since the hood is fiberglass it only looks bad and won't cause any further damage.

That's a lot of red, though, so I'm going to have to think about some sort of striping for it. I had purchased a set of hood spears like what was on the old hood, but they won't go with the new one at all.

Perhaps something close to them can be made for it.

At What Point

 did we come to the decision that "Drag Queen Story Hour" for children was A Good Idea?

Look, here's the deal. I have no problem with your particular brand of crazy as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. I just don't think it's appropriate to subject elementary school age children to explicitly sexual materials, and I just don't understand parents who would think that is OK.

You wanna be a drag queen? Fine, go for it. I have no reason to wish harm on you, quite to the contrary I wish you a long and happy life. HOWEVER. That doesn't mean I support you or will champion your cause. I still think you are a fruitcake, but in the Land of the (Formerly) Free and the Home of the Brave you have a right to your fruitcakery as long as you are not bringing harm to anyone through force or fraud.

I think that most of the rest of us would agree with that sentiment, in fact. Most normal human beings have their own problems to deal with and are perfectly content to leave you to your own, and no one that I know will offer violence to anyone who is not threatening them. But, if you want a straight shot to a world of shit, start messing with their kids. Disney is finding this out first-hand, as well they should.

Once upon a time we locked our crazies up and provided treatment for them. Now we elect them to public office.

This soliloquy brought to you by the City of Apex, NC.

10 March 2022

How Liberty Dies

 I got an email yesterday from the college.

I am on a temporary hiatus between classes, the 13 week semester has been broken into two 8 week segments with a week between, and this past week has been the week between. The email informed me that face diapers would no longer be required to attend classes in person.

While on its face (SWIDT?) this is a good thing, it puts me in mind of a larger issue.

Many years from now - perhaps ten or so - when the pan(dem)ic is ancient history as we figure time these days, when new crisis have erupted that cannot go to waste, I believe that someone will crunch the numbers, separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak, and determine the real numbers. The deaths and hospitalizations FOR Covid will be differentiated from the deaths and hospitalizations WITH Covid, and I think we will find that a fraction - between 10 and 15 percent is my guess - of the reported deaths are actually FOR. These results will be quietly published on the last page of a scientific journal and never be seen or talked about on the evening news, maybe getting a passing mention on Fox or Newsmax and that's about it.

China and Russia have taken our measure and found us wanting. Russia is seeing how far they can push things in Ukraine right now, and if they are not stopped by outside action or pure stubborn resistance they will be successful in their bid to reclaim at least parts of Ukraine if not all of it. China will make its bid for Taiwan soon, and unless Taiwan has better luck at gathering allies more steadfast than the US then the ROC will merge with the PROC in short order.

The long term results are even worse.

Our politicians, both D and R, have taken measure of the American public, and once again we have been found wanting. They have seen how easy it is to turn us into sheeple, how quickly we trade essential liberty for the illusion of temporary security; they have seen that Orwell was an optimist and Mencken seriously over-estimated his fellow man. Regardless of how short-term world events turn out, the long term results of today's perfidy will have longer lasting effects.

And it won't end well for any of us.

06 January 2022

Fake News

 Happy Insurrection Day!

For this occasion, I refer you to a previous post.


05 January 2022

Things I Didn't Expect To Do, PT...whatever

 So tonight I'm supposed to go back to work.

 Yeah, I know. But such is life.

In preparation to go back to work, I was doing laundry. Round about 2 AM, when I was going to put the last load in the dryer, I heard water running. I thought this was strange since the washer was done. Then I noted the water all over the floor.

 The water tank had split open and it was spraying hot water everywhere.

The good news is, I'm not going back to work tonight after all.

I should have the water heater replaced by the time Mrs. Hades gets home, and then it will be time for a nice hot bath in that new tub.

Hell of a way to start the new year.

EDIT: The water heater replacement required the modification of the wall of the chamber it sits in because, of course,  no replacement of the exact size could be found. At any rate, it's in, it works and the Refuge once again has hot water.

03 January 2022

Glad That's Over


December was car fixing month.

First the Subaru needed a transmission rebuild. I told them I had a number in my head, if they could beat it they could have the job. The number they gave me, with tax included, ended up being a little bit under the number in my head, but I was willing to pay it if it meant I didn't have to get underneath the damn thing myself. It drives like a new one, so I'm going to say that's money well spent.


The Mustang got a new top the week after Christmas. It looks great and the rear window defroster works now as well, so that's a nice little bonus. The shop told me not to put the top down for a month to let it stretch a bit. and since the weather has been nice all of December I was a bit discombobulated over it. However, as I look out at the snow today and see the temps aren't supposed to climb much out of the 40's I think I'm going to be OK with it for a little while at least.

The hood on the Mustang is exhibiting the Ford aluminum hood corrosion syndrome, so I opted to replace it with a fiberglass hood. I ordered it in October. It has yet to ship. When it does, I'll spend another K or so to get it painted.

Altogether I've gone through about $6500 and I'm looking at another K or so, which puts me back over the 10K mark on the credit card. I brought it down from 20K in a year, so I'm not worried about bringing it down again.

The new semester starts on Friday. I'm only taking one class for the first 8 weeks and two for the last 8 weeks, so I'm not expecting it to be very tough. I do have to take a math class before I can take the physics class, so that will set me back a bit. But what the heck, it took me a little over a half century to get started, a few more months isn't going to matter that much.

That's it from here. Hopefully 2022 is when the insanity starts to draw down.