Monday, December 31, 2007

Loading Out

All four wheels spinning. Snow flying. But out she came. The travel trailer was heavy and the drift was deep. All we needed to do was make it out of the lot as the streets were plowed. So four wheel went off for the trip to the house.

The trailer set out here all day in the sun to melt a lot of the snow on top. Going to get quite cold overnight, so I hope we lost some of the weight in water today.

So we are loading up, more later.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Fast Trip

One of the drawbacks to having real estate, pets, farm animals, and children, is they all need to be tended to. Ya, I know, I'll catch a bunch of flack for that statement.

So with those items in mind, yesterday it was the lake cabin that needed attention. As a rule, I try to be there once every month. Just to see what has changed. The month was up, so I went there.

If you drive and don't stop, it will take three hours. I go down the farm to market roads here in Missouri. Avoiding towns of any size, as they really slow you down.

When I arrived, the neighbor had his truck and a car dolly parked in front of our house. We share a common driveway so this is fairly normal. But in front of his drive was a large U-Haul truck pulling his flat bed trailer. They were packing. I knew that he was working in Denver, Co. and she was still at the lake.

Now we have chased away our neighbors on both sides here in KC, and now at the lake as well. Maybe we are,.... hard to live next too. Ha Ha!

All the things that are completed as you live in a house, just by living there were done in the next hour. Flush all the toilets to fill the bowls, run all the sinks to fill the traps.

If all the water evaporates from the traps, the sewer smell gets into the whole house and does not go away for days.

Air all the floating boat lifts, including the neighbors. Shut off the water and the water heater. Empty the mailbox.
So all is well at the lake. So I drove back to KC. Back to the snow cover here. There was no snow in Lake Ozark. It seamed a lot warmer there.

We are packing to get out of here by the first of the year. To go South toward Texas. To a warmer climate. We hope to spend most or all of January away from KC. After that we will watch the weather to see when we come back.

The start of another adventure!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cold Rain

Home again in KC, KS

8:00 PM Its raining outside and the temperature is 26 degrees. Its stuck on everything. We ran into the rain as we entered KC from the North. As we drove thru town, the rain really began to stick on the windshield. Heater on high, defroster cranked, and only then the wipers would clear it as water not ice.

Man it was so hot in the car, that we had to open the windows and tip the sky roof. We were glad to make it back in one piece.

Number one son brought the dog over as she was staying at their house. So tonight we huddle by the fire. Hang out and read a bunch of blogs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Prime Rib?

We came to the in laws home just in time to feast on a standing prime rib. Cut me off a big old piece. Complete with scalloped potato au gratin. Fresh baked rolls, and pie and ice cream.

Were in Des Moines for the Christmas celebration and will return back to KC in the morning.

Had a regifted grab bag. I didn't know what that was either, but you wrap up an item that you got before, and throw it in the grab bag. Something bad that you got last year, or yesterday if you are that bold. Then each person draws from the pile. Thats a hoot to see the awful gifts. Until you see something you bought a couple of years ago reappear.

There was some sideline swapping going on as well. Made some interesting fun out of otherwise mundane gift opening.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours have a MERRY CHRISTMAS! With all the relatives and guests coming over I am sure no one will have time to look at any silly blogs so this is short.

Its too late now to shop for anything that would be meaningful, so just do what I always do .

Money is always in style.

Crank out a nice check! Put a very small note on it, as they won't read it anyway, and your conscience is clear.

Remember too much Turkey and Ham causes the belt to get longer. But pie is always in style.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Digging Out

updated 10:50 AM Central Time

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A winter storm packing heavy snow walloped the central United States, causing at least 5 deaths and dozens of injuries as multi-car pileups forced authorities to close parts of several major highways.

The storm Saturday blew heavy snow from Texas to Minnesota. Much of the region was still recovering from a severe ice storm early last week that knocked out electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
The news folks have quite the way of describing things for sensationalism. But yes it snowed here yesterday. In Kansasn City we live on I 70 as a North, South dividing line. North you get one kind of weather and South you get another. We are 20 miles South of the I 70 interstate. But the weather from the North is routinely crossing the I 70 divider and nailing us with nasty.

I just doesn't happen as quickly as it did in Des Moines. First it starts as a nice day but then the clouds roll in from the West. When the warm moist air comes from the Sea of Cortez, and the North cold freight train comes in from Canada, you hold your breath to see which one will win.

By mid morning it was raining quite hard and the temp was 32 deg. Nice! Ice pellets are a lot like styrofoam in texture. And it covers everything. About 2 inches of it. Then the snow. But we are South of I 70 and got most of the nasty in rain. So we only have about 2 inches of snow on top of the frozen pellet stuff.

Our neighbor to the East has a JD garden tractor with a blade. At 11:00 PM last night he was out cleaning up the driveways. His and mine. That is a big help, as our JD tractor is not as big as his, and does not have a blade. We just store it away for the winter, because it still thinks it is a lawn mower.

So we are cleaning up here this AM. We will never see a city truck, as they will wait for the sun to do it for them. Saves money. But we will be sloppy for the next two days.

Lets hope it melts some by Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here we go again!

4:30 AM No heat again! I told the furnace man fuses don't just blow without a reason, when he was here on the 12th of Dec.

5:30 AM Still no heat so I get up and mess with the furnace. I see a fuse blow right before my very eyes. I get it to heat one cycle on gas. Never does cycle to the heat pump.

8:15 AM Call for another service call. The gal says "maybe" today!

10:00 AM I go buy more fuses.

11:00 AM It runs on gas for one cycle, and stops abruptly! No sign of the service guy.

12:30 PM Service guy is here! And spends some time cheking i t out!
1:30 He runs for parts.

2:30 He returns! This time he replaces the 220 Volt contactor in the outside unit. Its the black thing in the middle on the bottom.
3:00 It costs another $192.

Ouch and I didn't pay for the part (Warranty) or the service charge, because I paid one just last week, and they didn't get it fixed. Otherwise it would be $440.

They say it is going to snow Saturday, and it wouldn't do to be without the heat, so what are you going to do?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Little Camera

This is an impulse buy but I am working hard to justify my Christmas present to me.

When you have a SLR that is digital and two big lenses, why on earth do you need another camera?

Because! Well the SLR is big, and this is so little. And you have to go and dig the big one out and make a big deal about it. And it looks more professional so folks just naturally shy away.

So just because! Like mom said when she was tired of the question, Why?

Anyway this is a Nikon cool Pix S51. I bought it at Best Buy because they were 30 dollars cheaper than Target and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is out of them here in the three stores I looked at in KC. It takes a SD card so I got a 2 Gig card that is 60X speed. It still seems to take a bunch of time to write the picture. It is amazing that you mostly already know how to work it because the menu selections are just like the D-70. You can't do as much as the big camera but then, lets hope not for under 200 bucks.

Just the same old same old in KC today. Got up at the crack of 8:00. Spoiled about that. Had coffee and went to the store for some groceries. All the normal stuff.

The wife likes Jo-Ann fabrics. A lot! So she declared we were going to Jo-Ann's. In Independence, Mo. So off we went. Thats about 30 miles each way. They were holding a special Christmas gift for the Gkids that she had ordered.

Thirty miles does not seem too far but in our traffic here in KC, even on the freeways, it was all afternoon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

B S Meter

I've been forced to add a new device to the old computer, here at the home location. Seems that many of the blogs and emails received need to pass this detection system.

It seems to be indicating some sort of an anomaly even currently, as I type this post.

Have a good day!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Learning More

Last night the Johnson county Radio Amateur Club had their Christmas Party at the Christian Church fellowship hall in Overland Park. This was exactly the same social party that the club in Des Moines has. There was no business at all, as a motion to table all business was made, when the meeting was called to order.

There were at least 20 plates of food and goodies. Pig out! Sort of hard on the waist line, and of course I can't do anything with sugar. But I tasted it with my eyes! Actually sweets are so over powering, now that I have spent a long time away from them, that I just can't take much more than a little taste.

The meeting did not break up until after 10:00 PM. No one wanted to go home. There were even 8 or 10 wives. Nice to see the ladies as well.

The club's new web site is listed below. I went to this site and looked at field day pictures, and low and behold, there I was cutting carrots for the Indian stew. Scared to think I would be subject matter. But we did work in the kitchen for several hours.

Saturday Morning

I go to an MECC meeting this Morning. The explanation below is lifted from the NOAA web site.

Metropolitan Emergency Coordinating Council For Amateur Radio (MECC)

The MECC is made up of Amateur Radio Emergency Organizations such as ARES, RACES, and local and county Emergency Management Agencies. These groups provide emergency communications to local, state, and federal agencies, as well as private organizations like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army in Kansas City and surrounding areas.

The purpose of the MECC is to remove city, county, and state boundaries that often make communications more difficult (disasters don't acknowledge such boundaries). The MECC allows for organizations such as the National Weather Service and Skywarn to work with one organized body rather than several smaller groups, each with their own plan. The MECC provides a managing committee, technical expertise, and the manpower needed for Skywarn. Additionally, each local radio organization is represented on the committee. Through Skywarn, continuous communication is possible with the Pleasant Hill NWS office via a Packet Radio Network, and a team of well-trained operators are on call 365 days a year.

My attendance was truly a learning experience as I have no experience in any of these things. It remains a mystery how I might fit into any of these activities. If I hang around long enough, eventually I will know something that will be of help. Until then I'm mostly just a fly on the wall.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We arrive at Blogger

Why yes we are new at BLOGGER!

Like Sargent Shultz "I know noothing"

I have decided to move here from Yahoo, because it seems to be feature rich and easier to understand. For a fellow that types with only one hand, sitting in the easy chair. I liked the look of the old blog better, but then maybe I will do something custom here, once I get it all figured out.

So welcome aboard, and we'll learn together. You have to have a gmail account in order to sign up for this, but it is totally free. I generally give out my yahoo or google mail accounts to folks I know will bombard me with ads.

I copied several of the latest blogs over from Yahoo so you won't have to go find them. It doesn't seem so empty with a few posts that are from previous days.

So lets have some fun with a new blog!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ice Storm & $96 Blade Fuse

( A repost from old 'Yahoo 360' blog page December 11, 2007)

Monday morning I was really feeling cabin cramp. The house just seemed so confining. So I said I was going just anywhere but here. Road Trip! Well not quite like animal house movie of the 60's but we left even though we had to scrape a bunch of ice off the windshield.

We drove on the Kansas side up K7 thru Olathe, Bonner Springs, Leavenworth, and then to Atchison. This route goes over the Kansas (Kaw in indian) River and ends up in Amelia Earhart's home town. Everything is named for her, here. The streets, the bridge, the airport and so forth. We went to several old town shops and then to Amelia's house, overlooking the bluff above the river. It was a museum but we are not too fond of those, so we passed. And of course the Wal Mart, to see if they had the fabric, we were currently not able to get in KC. They had some of it.

From there we went to St. Joseph on the East side of the Missouri river. Drove all over that town, and realized that the place is much bigger than we knew, from attending the winter Ham Fest there. We were on museum hill were Jessie James was killed. But didn't go into any of the museums. See above. And of course to the Wal-Mart to get some more fabric, that the last one didn't have. I stopped into Menards just because we don't have those, down here in Southern KC. Didn't buy much.

Since this was our big day out, we went to Lone Star back in Overland Park, for supper of steak and shrimp. We went to bed stuffed. Now that would be where a normal blog would just end. Right?

At 4:00 AM, I got up and looked outside. Ice everywhere. It was raining when we were in Lone Star and it went below freezing on the way home. Now it seemed down right cold. I popped on the electric heater on the dresser. And went back to sleep.

9:00 AM coffee and breakfast, now Tuesday, and every thing is ice covered. Temperature was 33 on the back window thermometer. Man its cold in here. A quick check of the house stat and its only 58 inside. Burrr!

So I started to mess with it. Couldn't get the heat to come on. This new house has electric heat pump, over gas conventional as a back up. Or emergency, as the stat calls it. I reset every thing. Cycled the power on all the breakers. Looked at the inside of the furnace, and found a mother board that looked much like a 486 computer. Oh my! Leds flashing codes! Nothing would go!

In this day of specialty computers to run everything, you just give up and call the man with experience, and a test set. So I did.

He came, by 3:00 PM, and exclaimed they were backed up for hours. He read the blinking code as a 24, and looked in his book to find a low voltage error. Right in the middle of the heavily populated board was an ordinary blade fuse. A 3 amp fuse just like in your car. He stuck in a 5 amp, cussed the manufacture (Carrier), and said the fuse was too small for power surges like ice storms.

He messed with all the installer settings on the stat, and lowered the heat pump cross over temp to 30 degrees, and then tested the heat pump. All seemed well.

The bill was $96. $89 was just the service call trip. $7 for the 59cent fuse. His knowledge, Priceless!

So tonight we are not without heat, like a million or so folks down in Oklahoma.

And I still have cabin cramp............

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is your copy of Microsoft Genuine?

This is from MSNBC news stories,and is taken word for word.......

SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp. is pulling back from a system that disables programs on users' computers if it suspects the software is pirated, opting instead for a gentler approach based on nagging alerts.
Microsoft said late Monday it will roll out the new version of Windows Genuine Advantage with the first "service pack" for Windows Vista, due in the first quarter of 2008.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

When computer users activate a copy of Windows Vista or try to download certain software from Microsoft's Web site, the Windows Genuine Advantage system scans their PCs for signs of pirated software. Today, if the tool finds an unauthorized copy of Vista, the glassy Vista user experience disappears and other features are suspended.

In the new version, PC users found to have a pirated copy of Vista will continue to be able to use their computers, but with unmistakable signs their operating system is a fake. The desktop wallpaper will turn black, and a white notice will appear alerting users to the problem. Each time they log in, they will be prompted to buy legitimate software, and every hour, a reminder bubble will appear on the screen.

Users with a high tolerance for irritation can put off switching to genuine software indefinitely, but those who relent and buy a real copy of Windows can do so at reduced prices — $119 for Windows Vista Home Premium, half the regular retail price.

Nice huh! Now they won't just reformat your whole hard drive and life as you know it, they will just shame and heckle you to death. Even if they are mistaken!

The hard drive crashed in my oldest Dell computer. That is not all that unusual as it is a used machine I purchased about a year ago from Hypertech here in KC, Ks. It was a corporate pull and had Windows 2000 Pro on it. Paid about 150 for it back then. But I had Ubuntu on it. Thats right "Linux" and it was just gone, as the drive went Whopada Whopada trying to reboot itself. Probably had a million hours on it!

But the latest release of Ubuntu is out ver 7.10 . Seven for 2007 and 10 for October. The versions are released every six months so the next one will be 8.04, nice huh. To get this you just google and download the file as an ISO and burn it to a CD. It is then a bootable disk that you load into your CD rom. It will give you all the instructions to load itself as a separate partition so you can go back to Microsoft or you can just use it as the total operating system as I did on this new hard drive. Ya I bought a 160 GB Hitachi at Hypertech for $55.

The nice thing about Ubuntu is that it is FREE! It comes with the operating system and the browser (FireFox by Mozilla) and the Evolution email client from Novell. You also get the complete Open Office system from Sun Micro systems. Did I mention it is all free?

Open Office contains the word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager and the database programs. They will read any of the Microsoft files produced by Office 2007 and will write them back to that format so you can send them to your Microsoft bound friends. Neat Huh. And its free? No dinero needed. Licensed under the BSD (Berkley Software Design) license for you to use. Just don't change it without their knowledge. You do not have to worry about the software being a pirated version, they want you to distribute it. All you want. Tell all your friends! They even want to know what you don't like about the programs so they can change them for the better.

I use the Linux machine to run the amateur radio program Xastir, which is a Automated Position Reporting System, or APRS for short. This is quite a program and is beyond the scope of what we can cover here. But in the process I have become quite hooked on the Linux programs.

I am so much so hooked, that I have downloaded the windows versions of both FireFox and the Open Office. For both laptops. I use them most all of the time and do not have Office 2007 on either machine. I just can not bring myself to pay $129 for a disabled version of office 2007 that is called student and teacher version. Not when you get the entire suite for free and it does everything.

So that is what I have been doing here in KC to keep myself busy. Perhaps much busier than when I was working. Oops what was that W word back there? We can't bring ourself to do any of that kind of thing anymore. Perhaps this is more study and time spent having FUN!.............