dalesql: (Default)
2017-06-20 11:09 pm

June update.

So, now its june 20th. We are still in the hotel. Work on the house has stopped as we have run out of money, and getting a construction loan to finish the house is taking way way way longer than I ever imagined. So the back to the house at the beginning of july plan is out the window. IF we got the loan check tomorrow, it would be early August before we got back in. Since once the job got stopped, it takes a couple weeks to get all the subcontractors back in to finish things up. ANd they are not gonna call subcontractors until we hand them a fat check full of money. Arrrgh.

My brother out in seattle will come and take care of mom when I'm up in Bangor in august to work on the folk festival. My sister, who did that last year for me, is depressed and out of work, so isn't answering her phone or returning messages. That adds stress to everyone in the family.

Commentary on current events. The two branches of the Demopublican party continue to spew hatred and evil at each other. The more loony of their followers are getting steadily more violent. The parallels to politics of germany in the 20s and 30s are frightening to contemplate. Time to prepare. Prepare for what is the question.

A couple of days ago, there was a collision at sea between a large container ship and the USS fitzgerald. 0230 in the morning. Most of the crew would have been asleep in their racks. Yes, it was the middle of the night, and it was in one of the more crowded parts of the ocean. Apparently the bridge watch and the CIC watch were so oblivious to the surrounding traffic that they didn't even sound an alarm before the collision. Seven sailors dead, many more injured. The Fitzgerald took a large impact from the bow dome of the container ship below the waterline. The compartment that took the hit was a berthing compartment and the adjacent machinery compartment. Those probably took no more than a minute to flood, and all of the dead were sailors who didn't make it out before it flooded.

Obviously there were fuckups. And like all really bad events, there will be multiple failures that any one of them had not failed, would have changed it from the tragedy it is to a whoopsie that only the crew onboard would have talked about. Collision at sea used to be a common thing, and over the years, a set of international rules of sea traffic have been codified. Handwaving lots of details, the bigger, less manuverable ship has the right of way, and it is supposed to just keep going on course to reduce confusion. The smaller, more manuverable ship is responsible for changing course and speed thus evading the collision. That would be the Fitzgerald.

Its dark out, but all ships are required to have navigation lights burning when it's dark out. Furthermore, many commercial ships have extensive exterior lighting in addition to the required navigation lights. Mainly so any crew out on deck after dark don't trip, but secondarily to make the ship more visible to other ships. Navy warships typically have no external lights other than required navigational lights burning. Further, recent construction USN ships have a lot of design features to make then less visible to a radar beam. So I can easily believe the container ship bridge crew never noticed them until they hit them. And where the heck was the CIC watch? They are also supposed to watch the radars to track all contacts larger than a seagull within weapons range.

The fleet commander has ordered whats called a JAGMAN inquiry. It's a formal investigation, but it has no judicial powers. It's essentially a one person inquiry, to try and find out what happened and identify problems that may exist fleetwide. But it is also easily corrupted if the investigating officer is not scrupulously honest. I hope it doesn't produce a coverup.

Edited to correct the ships name. I brain-farted on the name.
dalesql: (Default)
2017-05-23 10:18 pm

End of an american icon.

So, on Sunday evening, in the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, the last ever performance of The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus happened. I watched in on youtube, slightly delayed, since when the show actually started, I was loading a truck behind the Schubert Theater in Boston. I turned it on after I got back to the hotel and watched it.

The show was, as I expected, a tour de force of amazing acts of physical skills, acting, music, storytelling, and animal training. With more than honorable mention to the props, costume, lighting and sound crews. Truly it was the greatest show on earth.

There were no elephants. The extremist animal rights people had already driven them out of the show, and they were going after all the other trained animal acts in the circus, and all the other circuses. Totally ignoring, in their fanatic quest to remove all animals from human endeavors, that those animals are treated better in nearly every respect than the human performers. Live longer and better quality lives than they ever would in the wild.

It was carefully not mentioned that it was the fanatic animal rightists that drove the circus into bankruptcy. Their endless lawsuits that cost enormous quantities of money. Their assorted protests and acts of trespass, theft and vandalism forced the circus to expend even more money on security to protect the people, animals and equipment of the circus. They took a page from the antinukers, who couldn't win on the merits of their argument, but they did win by making the whole industry uneconomically viable through their endless harassment. The animal rights fanatics are doing the exact same thing to circuses and zoos, and are taking aim at the entire institution of livestock growing and family pet ownership.

I am sad that they murdered an american icon. This makes me even more reluctant to give them anything more, no matter how reasonable it sounds. They will not be content until there are no more animals under the control of the human race, and all the humans have turned vegetarian. They can burn in hell for all eternity for the damage they have already done, I will work hard to block anything more they want.
dalesql: (Default)
2017-05-12 07:52 am

Six months of CPAP

So, I realized that I have recently completed six months of using the CPAP machine for my sleep apnea. Some suggested that I would be full of energy and bouncing up after using it. Not so much that. Getting used to wearing the mask while sleeping took a long time. The first couple of weeks were obnoxious, everytime I rolled over it would wake me up.

Fortunately sleeping dale can still learn, and I've learned to sleep through the night with the thing strapped to my face. A couple weeks ago, I started waking up before my alarm clock went off. Don't know that this is a permanant change, but I am much more awake in the mornings, and don't desperately need a dose of caffiene to get myself functional in the mornings. I still have my cup of tea each morning, but it is more of a habit than a craving lately.

This is a good trend. Also, fell off the diet wagon and my A1c shot back up, and my weight loss stopped over the winter. Climbed back on the diet wagon and got the A1c back under control and back close to the acceptable but still high range. I think I've started losing weight again, and my belt may be needing another hole punched in it soon.

House repair proceeds. Damage all removed, framing is complete, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC rough work completed and passed inspection. Insulation this week, waiting for two more windows to be installed that were ordered wrong and had to be redone. Construction loan still pending, and the mortgage banker isn't returning phone calls. Hopefully she is just on vacation or something.
dalesql: (Default)
2017-04-23 08:07 pm
Entry tags:

Someone else fleeing to dreamwidth.

I've setup my dreamwidth account, and imported all my entries from LJ. Will crosspost for a while, then will be deleting my LJ account. The recent terrible TOS is just soo obnoxious.

Goodbye LiveJournal. I've enjoyed my time, but since you got taken over by some terrible russian people, not worth my time or effort.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2017-03-24 10:35 pm

One year ago today.

I got the phone call at work that our home was on fire. It's been a busy year, full of frustration and bad stuff. But repairs are underway, just have to find all the money needed, since the insurance company is a bunch of evil cheapskates.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2017-03-14 07:38 am

House update

House is now empty of all our stuff. Removal of the plaster and old furnace in the basement is complete. Still trying to get the power turned on to the new power panel, but eversource is being a butthead about it. Did find out that my generator uses up a 20 pound tank of propane in about eight hours of running the lights and radio. So I now know how many tanks of propane I want to have on hand down the road for power failures.

I should get some pictures of the various stages of rehab.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2017-02-27 07:45 pm

Finally working on the house.

So we finally got going on the house last week. Contractor got in, started setting things up. Getting water and electricity turned back on so they don't need the generator for everything. He said that they usually try to get the old furnace going to get heat and hot water back in the house, and have at least one sink and toilet operational. Anyone who has had to use a portapotti in the wintertime knows exactly why this is a priority. Also having a working sink just to wash your hands during the day is a very useful thing.

This morning, my oldest brother and I were there with the contractors. Packed up the last bits of the china, moved a lot of the furniture we are saving from the first floor out into the barn for storage. WOrked out the details of who from the family will be there when for identifying save or junk items. I'll be there tomorrow morning for a couple hours for the next layer of identifications. Probably one of us will be there every other day for the next couple weeks, until everything is emptied out of the house.

Eleven months after the fire, finally substantial progress. Hate you too insurance companies.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2017-02-13 10:46 pm

Boskone time again.

So, it's been a busy time since I last posted.
Dealing with dad's passing, the funeral, memorial service, and the endless paperwork mom and I are filling out to officially notify all the financial entities he was involved in. I haven't even begun to think about doing his taxes.

We had the funeral just for family. It was a cold and windy day, I was worried mom would get hypothermia when we were at the graveside portion. The memorial service was at church, unfortunately we got that day the first significant snowstorm of the season that day, and it was kinda blizzardy. So attendance was low. Mom is, unsurprisingly, depressed.

Then came Arisia. I attended, and it probably will be my last arisia. The main reason I was there at all was to see Ursula Vernon as GoH, who is one of my favorite people. Arisia is becoming increasingly intolerant in it's desire to be open and accepting and a Safe Place for everyone, no matter how many hot buttons they have. As an older white male, I am feeling less and less welcome in their ever-increasing drive for political correctness.

In sadder news, I bought my usual stack of books from Larry Smith in the dealers room. We chatted about this and that and I said I would see him at Boskone. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. Larry died three days later. Goodbye Larry. I'll see you next time.

The weekend after arisia was Anthro New England. It was it's usual nice fuzzy three ring circus, hampered by outgrowing it's hotel, and the hotel's severe shortage of parking. I hope that they move to a better hotel. Ideally, the westin waterfront where Arisia and Boskone already are. If that happens, and the hotel is amenable, logistics for all three would be eased by allowing materials to be stored at the hotel for all three cons. Lots of maybes there, but it's a hope.

Monday after arisia, we had a grand open house at ALPS. Turned the warehouse into a vendor showcase and demo zone, with food and adult beverages. It was a lot of work, and my area got crammed full of everyone elses stuff, since my area was the only place that was not open for visitors. I'm still finding things that belong to other parts of the company. I finally unpacked the last gaylord of my stuff from the move. (A gaylord is one of those pallet sized cardboard boxes. eight layer corrugated board. Strong stuff) So big step completed with that.

Now that I can actually see everything I have, I can now sort out things and put them on their proper shelves and boxes. Since I lost some of the storage space promised to me, I have to figure out what I don't need very often and pack them into a storage bin to go up on a high warehouse shelf. I'm thinking of constructing a storage unit that folds up into a pallet shaped box for storage, but unfolds into a set of shelves and bins for access when needed.

We signed the repair contract on the house finally. It's only been ten months since the fire. Unfortunately mother nature beat us to the punch and they can't fill in the driveway washout while the gravel is frozen and the gullies are filled with snow and ice. Delays, delays, delays. Repair estimate is six to nine months. ugh. But it's progress.

Boskone is this weekend. I'm running the con suite again. I've been shopping and preparing for a couple weeks already. Last night I hard boiled 75 dozen eggs for the con suite. They are now in the back of my van enjoying mother nature's refrigerated storage locker.

today I was able to finish the cleaning and repair of my seltzer tap setup. It's full of chlorinated water now to sanitize it before I put it into service. So it will be at Boskone, providing infinite seltzer to the masses. After it is done at Boskone, bringing it into work so I can have infinite seltzer to drink, which is way lower in calories and price than what I get from the coke machine.

Edit, post-boskone: The seltzer setup still had an off taste of the smoke from the fire, so I dumped it back out and took it out of service. So now I think I need to replace all the plastic parts, and give the stainless steel parts another, more thorough, scrubbing. Replacing all the gaskets also.

Boskone was, as usual exhausting, but overall successful, and the con suite came off well. Attendance was up by a couple hundred, leading to more rapid depletion of supplies, but I haven't heard an official number.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-12-28 09:32 pm
Entry tags:

Close to the end.

My dad is very sick in the nursing home. He's been unconscious for a week or so now, stopped eating solid foods about the same time, and stopped even taking liquids early this week. While nobody is saying any kind of timetable, I don't think he has more than a few more days left. I'll probably be pretty distracted by this for a while.

As for the house, we finally got the estimate from the third builder. Hoping to make a decision tomorrow on which one and then go forward from there. Insurance company continues to be a dick, threatening to cut off our ALE money since we haven't started repair work yet.

Christmas was pretty low key, just dinner at my brother's house. 2016 has been a really sucky year, I'm glad it's almost over. And now I have a cold and can't sleep with the amazing runny nose it's giving me.

SO about two hours after I posted this, the nursing home called to let us know that he had passed. Goodbye Dad.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-11-10 11:31 am
Entry tags:

To all my liberal friends and acquaintances.

Now that you have had a nice temper tantrum over your preferred presidential candidate losing the election, please stop now. Blow your nose, wash your face, pull up your big boy or big girl pants and come on back from planet denial. Its a democracy. That means that sometimes someone else's candidate wins. Its not the end of the world. You mocked the black helicopter conspiricy people. Well guess what, the lbgtq death squads and concentration camps some of you are going on about is just as rediculous.

Time to grow up, get a grip on reality, accept that sometimes you will lose and get on with your life. You will have another chance to run your candidate next time around. Its not the end of the world, its just another damned election.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-11-10 11:20 am

Progress on the house and fire recovery.

Finally got the money from insurance so we can start cleanup and repairs on house. Meeting with a couple of contractors on tuesday so they can make some estimates. All three are saying its a eight to twelve week job even in wintertime, so if we can get one going in a couple weeks, that means repairs done in february or march. * crossing fingers *

I just hope family bullshit drama doesn't needlessly complicate and delay things. But it probably will.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-11-09 07:31 am
Entry tags:

Two days of suck.

SO my dad's health continues to deteriorate. He doesn't speak understandably anymore, and can hardly even sit up. He's largely stopped eating. So, it's time. Mom signed the DNR orders for him, and then we all had a good cry. Even though it's just paperwork, and we have been expecting it, the impact was huge. I still haven't really processed it.

Then election day. Work told me I was driving to NJ tuesday. I was told the truck was ready with a full fuel tank. Set the alarm for 230 in the morning, which was the first suck of the day. Went to work and found that my heavy coat wasn't in my car, so all I had to protect me from the frost was a windbreaker and hoodie. Which wasn't a problem once the heat started working.

Whoops, only half a tank of fuel. So drive to Ryder to fuel up. Except the fuel guy wasn't there that night. Poked the mechanics and they came out and fueled me up, and wasted more time trying to record it on the computer. So another hour wasted. But, on the road finally.

Meanwhile, my stomach and bowels were starting to let me know that they were unhappy with something I ate. I stopped at every rest stop on the mass pike to use the bathroom. After that, there was nothing more, even though I felt like I had to go for the next several hours. More time lost.

I hit the morning drive traffic in New Haven, and then the serious traffic jam started on I95, 20 miles before the NY border. It didn't help that my GPS kept suggesting alternate routes that I couldn't take a truck through. Frustrating. Had a couple miles of clear sailing once I got on the thruway, but hit the traffic jam again around CO-OP City. Then it was stop and go traffic from there all the way to the George Washington bridge. Three hours on the cross bronx expressway is a pretty close approximation of hell.

Finally got to 4WALL about ten minutes before their lunchtime. Got the stuff. Went to the ryder depot to fuel up, then stopped at the local Quick Chek for a bathroom stop and to rest up for the drive back. I'm in the bathroom and suddenly my unhappy stomach finally said enough is enough. Vomited and made a bit of a mess of the bathroom, even though most of it went into the toilet. So change of plans, lunch consisted of a couple of bottles of water. Sat there for a bit, just in case, then headed back.

The drive back through NYC was surprisingly easy. Only stopped a couple of times for traffic jams. Got to the first rest stop in Connecticut and stopped there. Was feeling better, but tired. Ate about half a fish sammich from McDs before tummy said to stop. Took a 20 minute nap sitting in one of the booths. Didn't really sleep, but just sitting there with my eyes closed and relaxing helped enormously. Got a coke for the caffeine on the way back out. Hit a few traffic jams on the way back, but mostly just drove along.

So, start work at 330AM, got back to the shop at 630PM. Fifteen hour work day. Ugh. I drove myself back to hotel and crawled into bed. I decided that I was not safe to drive home to vote and then back.

Woke up this morning to hear President Elect Trump on the radio. So, I am glad that Hillary lost. I'm not happy that Trump won. I hope that my prediction that Trump will get bored with the job and resign after a year or two holds true. But on the other hand, Italy survived Berlesconi I'm sure the USA will survive Trump.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-10-23 09:01 pm

ANd now seven months post fire.

Insurance company has found another way to delay giving us the claim money. *sighs* They made the check out to four parties. Mom and Dad, our independent adjuster, and the bank that has the home equity loan on the house.

We think this is annoying, but should not be a big deal. Go to the bank where the home equity loan is at with a check endorsed by the other three names. Bank deposits it, takes out the full payoff amount on the home equity loan, then writes new checks to the adjuster and my parents with the balance.

Nope. Santander Bank apparently has never seen a multi-party check before. It takes them two weeks to find an actual bank officer who can make decisions on this to figure it out. Unlike the so called bank officers which the law requires to be at the branches who are supposed to have the authority to make all banking decisions at that branch. And they insist that the check be deposited in their bank for ten business days so they can get the float///// I mean ensure that the check will not bounce, before writing the new checks.

Meanwhile, our adjuster has been talking to insurance company about the check. Once he finally found the correct person to talk to there, they had no problems taking back the check and reissuing it as three checks in the correct amounts. So that's what we are doing. If you are looking for a bank for your business, Santander Bank fails in my book.

But, this is the large sum of money on the structure claim. So we can now finally go forward on the rebuild. Time to find a general contractor who can do the job. Hopefully an honest one. Of course, this is happening as my job is moving to a new location and a week before a convention.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-10-16 09:40 pm
Entry tags:

Another skeleton comes rattling out of Hillary's closet.

So it seems Hillary's defense of rapists by discrediting the rape victim was something she had been doing for decades. It's sad that this is being published in a british paper, I guess the american news apparatchiks don't want to break ranks in their support of Hillary.

dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-09-27 11:31 pm


I did something today I shouldn't have. I hit my hand with a hammer. Not a small hammer either, but a rather largish ballpein hammer that I was trying to remove a rusted in drift pin by applying the bigger hammer and lots of WD-40. Unfortunately, I didn't hit the punch squarely and the hammer glanced down and hit my hand hard enough to make me drop everything and do the dance of pain while serenading the shop with an impromptu monologue mostly consisting of words that the FCC would not approve of.

I was lucky that I didn't break any bones. Put some ice on it, it was starting to swell up nicely. Went and found my boss to let him know I was taking the rest of the day off. Iced it off and on for the next few hours and had a couple motrins. It's still a bit swollen and sore, and I'm typing with the middle finger of that hand now. I expect it will be colorful tomorrow, but the ice was on it quickly and for long enough to keep the swelling (and subsequent bruising) small.

I'll go into work early the rest of the week to make up for the time I lost today.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-09-24 08:35 pm

Six months later....

Six months ago, about this time of day, I was being allowed back into my house to pick up some clothes and our valuables after the fire. Mom and I are still living in a hotel, Dad is in a different nursing home, and the insurance company is still stalling. *insert rant about insurance company abuse of claimants*

I got the CPAP machine for my sleep apnea earlier this week. Slowly getting used to going to sleep with a mask strapped over my mouth and a tube over to the machine. Waking up early in the morning and pulling the mask off for some normal sleep before I wake up. I suppose I'll get used to it. I'm going to have to. But it's a work in progress.

Work is in the process of moving to the new building. We've been packing up stuff and sorting and tossing away stuff for the past couple of weeks. But we are now four weeks out from having to be fully moved over to the new building and more or less operational. and to add more joy to my life, I got told this week that I have to be totally packed up and ready to be moved out a week before everyone else, because I'm being tasked to work for another department the whole week of the move. Meanwhile, everyone is finding old broken stuff as they pack up and bringing it back to me to be repaired. Our regular customers are still having shows and preps and so on, we don't have the luxury of just telling them all that we are going to be closed for a week while moving.

I've asked for the friday before halloween for vacation so I can go to Furpocalypse, but they said they won't approve it until we are fully moved to the new building. so my plans for the con are all jumbled up due to that. *sighs* More stress and frustration.

I hope that the rest of the year is better.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-09-15 11:56 pm
Entry tags:

More negative progress.

Punched another new hole in my belt today! My waistline continues to shrink! Yay! I've decided that I'm going to keep wearing this belt until I reach my target weight or it breaks. Which means that eventually the belt is going to reach all the way around to the small of my back. Right now the belt goes a little past my hip. Goals!

Still waiting for the health insurance to approve the CPAP machine for my sleep apnea. They dragged their feet for several weeks on approving the sleep study, so I fully expect they will drag their feet on this for as long as they can. It's what insurance companies do, after all.

I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that the insurance industry is really a creation of satan. Very likely everyone in the industry is very likely damned. They are just trying to bring some hell to everyone that they touch.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-09-01 11:02 pm

and the saga of dad continues.

While I was up in maine getting a second degree sunburn, my sister came here from seattle to take care of mom and help sort out stuff from the house.

Found all the legal papers we needed for his masshealth appication, so the lady should have that done shortly and submitted to the bureaucratic mill to the ground into oblivion. Found a slightly less expensive nursing home in Marlboro for dad, which is a feeder for the alzheimers center in wellesly we are trying to get him into, so once a space opens up, he can move over quickly, before the space gets taken.

Work is getting crazier, as we are now about 50 days from having to be completely moved out and over to the new building. The first truckload of our stuff went over today. Remodeling of the new space proceeds apace, and I hope that the occupancy permit happens shortly. The new building is located next to the main Amtrack line in Canton, Mass, so there will be plenty of opportunity to glimpse the trains zooming past. Also, we now have to have a disaster plan for a derailment impinging on the property.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-08-30 11:06 pm
Entry tags:

Back to regular life.

Festival is all done and I've moved out of the hotel in Bangor and moved back into the hotel in Dedham. Back to day jobbe tomorrow morning. Just banging out a quick entry after doing the dirty laundry.

Also, New personal life lesson. Dont carry a two way radio in your t-shirt pocket when working an outdoor festival in the summer. Second degree sunburn where it pulled down the neck of my t-shirt. Yup, it hurts, but it looks worse than it feels.
dalesql: (Dale badge)
2016-08-19 08:48 pm
Entry tags:

Personal negative progress.

Today I had to punch another hole in my belt because my pants were falling down. My waistline has shrunk another inch! This it the good kind of negative.

Also last day of work today. Now I'm on vacation. tomorrow I'm driving up to Bangor Maine to work on the AmericanFolkFestival.com for the next ten days. Where I'll be putting in ten to twelve hour days. Festival, my job away from job!

Anyone near Bangor who wants to come down and see me, I'll be at the festival site from about 9am until dark every day next week. Look for the guy with a black vest of many pockets on the golf cart loaded down with electrical gear. I probably will only ask you about volunteering for the festival once. Maybe twice.

My sister is flying in from Seattle and will be taking care of mom while I'm gone. Unfortunately, she goes back before I get back down here, so I'll probably not see her for another year or so.