Archive for February, 2016

so, I saved some money

February 23, 2016

and the washing machine washes again. Go me.

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The futility of trying to save forty bucks

February 23, 2016

Or maybe $120.

Either way, having people come to your house to fix things like your boiler racks up a big cost fast. I know from experience. when the clothes washer quit working, I had a choice. I could call someone to come out, look at it, identify a problem, order a part, probably come back, and install it. Or I could google the hell out of it, try to diagnose it myself, and get my own parts.

Of course, I went for the latter. And now I’m worrying myself into the ground over whether or not the parts I’m replacing will actually fix the thing. It’s the risk you run trying to feel your own way through it. I get that. And folks need to earn a buck for coming out and fixing your stuff for you, I get that, too. When money’s tight, though, you’re in a squeeze with what needs to be done and what you can afford to do.

On top of that, the clothes washer is all of four years old, if that. There’s no way it should be breaking down already. Looking around the web, and it seems appliances only have a ten year life expectancy anyway (on average). Which I find ridiculous. My mom’s washer, drier, and fridge have lasted around twenty years. I still have a fridge in my garage from my grandparents that is probably sixty or seventy years old. Things used to last.

Right now we’re starting (in the middle of?) redoing our house, and I’m wondering  why we should invest in “nice” appliances if they are only expected to last ten years before we have to replace them. If they are going to have that short of a life span, why not just cut our costs, go cheaper on these things that we’ll have to replace regardless and go after better cabinets, counters, sinks, flooring, etc.

Just venting. Blow a couple of grand on a washer/drier and I shouldn’t be having to dump money into them already.

This Land is Your Land

February 22, 2016

The Koch Brothers are gearing up to fight electric cars.  I think the easy response is something about killing the environment, or about the power of the wealthy being oversized,or even perhaps pointing out the hypocrisy where the oil and gas industry enjoys some decent subsidies of their own.

All of which are great arguments when preaching to the choir.

I, however, want to question whether these are the actions of someone who is truly American and wishes the best for their nation. Being American is about more than chasing a dollar, looking out only for yourself, and enjoying the freedoms you can afford for yourself. It’s about looking at your neighbor and not screwing them over. It’s about putting the nation ahead of yourself in at least some respects.

One of those respects should be national security, and energy independence that would weaken the financial power of its enemies would seem to be  a pretty big positive for the United States. While fuel production in the US has spiked and has allowed the price of oil to be pushed to the floor, a long term shift to more efficient technologies that shut fossil fuel use out of the room would be even better. It would not only help limit funding for military/terrorist adversaries, but could lead to destabilization of foreign government that support them. These are good things.

Using fewer fossil fuels has, in the long run, a higher likelihood of causing less pollution. Putting aside the climate change argument that is an automatic wedge to some people, let’s just focus on the health effects of a cleaner environment. People would simply be healthier, leading to lower pollution related health problems. It would help preserve our environment and wild life for people to enjoy, from camping to hunting and fishing. A cleaner environment is a national good.

Is there a long term good towards fighting a move to cleaner energy use? Maybe, I can’t really think of one, at least not one I could honestly argue, but maybe there’s one out there. Will they outweigh the positives of moving towards cleaner energy use? I don’t think so. And I think that fighting it does put you in a column that is decidedly un-American because it is decidedly self-serving, damaging to the nation in a number of ways, and weakens us as a country. The Koch Brothers are un-American in their actions.

well, racist and ignorant is what you are

February 22, 2016

I’m not sure why, but I follow Howard Kurtz on twitter, so I find myself occasionally reading his article. Usually it’s just bland opinion pieces, but his most recent article about the media and labeling followers of Trump as racist or ignorant (or I’m sure any number of things) is just the media’s way of dealing with Trump’s popularity has a hole I can’t mention.

It’s that Trump has said, insinuated, and associated himself with a lot of racist, ignorant stuff. He regularly re-tweeted posts from white supremacists. He’s had several verbal spats with women in relative positions of power (Megyn Kelly being the most well-known). He’s stoked fears of Muslin extremists with his ridiculous statements about how he feels towards immigration. His idea of building a (bigger?) wall next to Mexico is ridiculous. He’s aggressively verbally assaulted people he doesn’t agree. The guy acts and talks and gives credence to a lot of racist, sexist, ignorant crap.

If you then ally yourself with a person who embraces a lot of racist, sexist, ignorant crap then, yeah, you’re going to be saying something about yourself as well. If you don’t want to be thought of as being racists, sexist, and/or ignorant, don’t align yourself with people who are.

And, you know what, it’s okay for the media to point this out. It’s okay for the media to hammer people who say a bunch of racist, ignorant, sexist, etc. stuff. They SHOULD be doing it. Regardless of who does it. Yeah, sometimes people just screw up and something comes across wrong, and the majority of us are smart to know when that happens, or are just human enough to assume it in most cases that are at all borderline.

So, yeah. South Carolina, you’re going to be looked at as being vaguely racists/sexist/ignorant because you (apparently) support that. Deal with it, because that’s the choice you made in the voting booth and it’s something you’re going to have to live with until something happens to show otherwise (like who you support in other elections).

Sun Powered Roads

February 17, 2016

I’ve been following this Idaho company for awhile now and every time I have mentioned them to other people I get the same skeptical looks. Glass as a road? Won’t it be too slick? Won’t it crack? Pfft, solar. Despite the company earning government funding for greater tested and advancements, it’s something that pretty much everyone I know just blow off.

Well, apparently it’s an idea the French like.

Why is this important right now? Saudi Arabia, Russia, and a couple of other countries are looking to freeze production of oil in an effort to stabilize (raise) the price. I don’t think it’s a secret that a lot of the United States’ headaches are generated from the Middle East and Russia. With it being an election year we Americans hear hourly about the scourge of ISIS, how Russia is going to become a global super power again (thank god we have Alaska keeping an eye on them), etc. Which means we hear a bunch of talk about building our military up, invading this or that country, bombing this or that country, etc.

In other words, we hear a lot about how a lot of lives are going to be thrown into the chipper to satiate some crazy ass political belief that doesn’t really fit with reality. Wouldn’t it be nice if we found a way of pulling the rug out from under places that we fear that didn’t involve planes, trains, and unmanned assault drones?

Strangely enough, there is. Oil is a backbone for that region. It’s the lifeblood of their economies, and the West’s insatiable desire to drive hours to work every day makes that heart pump.

So maybe we should explore weening ourselves off oil a bit more? Maybe explore more green energy technologies, and electric cars? Being able to repave our roads in solar panels would enable us to upgrade our infrastructure and cut hostile actors off at the knees.

Seriously, not sure why this angle for moving away from fossil fuels isn’t played up more. Unless we secretly don’t want the middle east to go away as a Big Bad… .

Just need sleep

February 5, 2016

I’m 35, and am at a point where  I am thinking that I need to accept some facts. One, I’m not going to get any younger and that I’m not going to win the lottery (well, maybe, hell, I’ll keep buying the occasional ticket).   I have two kids, one almost a teen and one almost two, which means I’m going to have to be packaging at least one of them off to school for the foreseeable future. Which means I will have to get up at 6am for quite awhile.

Getting up at 6am is not something that comes natural to me.

I have always been a person who stayed up until one or two in the morning, slept in til 9 and then was able to get into his day and move forward. Now, I’m still not really able to start my day until nine or so despite being up at 6, and I’m still going to bed too late (around midnight).

So, last night, I decided to start the change. I took some zquil, and I took the baby step of getting my ass to bed at 1130 instead of midnight or later. I thought I was rocking it. I would still be tired when 6am rolled around, but hopefully not as tired.

Then my wife woke me up at 130am because she thought the baby girl had made an odd noise and was wondering if she looked pale, because she was worried baby girl wasn’t getting enough oxygen and I was frankly too tired to have any real grasp on what was going on.

Long story short, we decided Little Girl was fine, we went to bed, and eventually fell back to sleep (Little Girl being fine was later affirmed at 6am when I got up to get The Boy on the bus).  Well, try again tonight to get to bed at a decent time and get some sleep. I think it’s something I have to do try to shift myself to being more of a morning person, or to at least being moderately productive before noon.

 

“I know what I saw”

February 3, 2016

I’m sure this is going to blow up in certain circles, a girl saying Finicum’s hands were up when the FBI gunned him down. Despite the fact that in that same link is video proof that Finicum, a person who has said he’d rather die than be arrested and who had been taking part in an anti-government demonstration that was making no secret of their gun love, not only didn’t keep his hands in the air, but repeatedly tried to reach into a pocket on his coat.

And so it will continue. People will claim they know what they saw, people will believe them, and nut jobs will weave conspiracy theories about the government wanting to take away all of their guns and to radically transition to some sort of socialist dictatorship. This is despite the fact that we have a video showing us what happened (hey, we faked the moon landing, too). And that eye witness testimony is being seen as increasingly unreliable (here’s one of many links you can find with a simple google search).

I know what I saw.

It’s common sense.

It’s a guy who hated the government, who was armed, who wouldn’t keep his hands up after lurching from his vehicle trying to evade a road block, and who was eventually shot because he wouldn’t just comply with the law. This was closer to suicide by cop than anything else, and maybe we should see this for what we see many incidents involving white men and guns – a reason for better mental health in the US.

Hork: To Barf

February 2, 2016

It’s 1980s slang, though I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it. For possibly the first time since I bought it, I’ve begun opening a dictionary of American slang. I pick a random page and just peruse it. Atop like five entries for different variants of horny, there is hork. I’ve kicked around the idea of trying to write a story working around each word, especially a great word like Hork.

What makes it a great word? I think it’s the ability to picture it without knowing the definition. If you hear someone use it in a sentence, regardless of what comes to mind, I’m not sure it’s really good.

Bob was up all night horking.

or how about

I violently horked all over the bowl after having some bad sushi.

There is always the off chance that you might make association with porking, and end up with either quite the image or quite the misunderstanding. I’m sort of feeling like horking myself today.