Not a Good Start :-(

Today is the fourth day that the United States Postal Service is refusing to deliver mail to my mailbox. Any mail. No tracks at all in the snow, not even to the neighbors mailboxes.

It’s also the second day that I have no running water. Again. In the past, it’s been a lack of electricity that turns the heaters off causing the pipes to freeze. A 14-1/5 hour power outage and circuit breakers popping to be particular. This time, all circuit breakers are on, and all heaters (two pipe heaters on the pipes, one magnetic oil-pan heater on the bottom of the brand-new pressure tank, and a 750 watt utility heater) are on. The pump-house is very warm, well* above freezing and all pipes below the pump-house are buried 5 feet deep, so I’ve been told.

It’s the… I don’t even know how many days I have been keeping the second chicken waterer in the house and switching it out with the one in the coop. I do know, that last year I did not have that problem. I never had frozen water in the chicken waterer last year, not a single time.

I also keep a utility heater in the laundry room. Because of that, and the fact that this winter I have more laying hens, I keep the eggs in there. ALL the eggs froze yesterday. Two dozen eggs in mashed paper egg boxes froze, right above the utility heater.

I took preventative measures this fall to avoid every single problem I’m having. Not one of them prevented any of the problems I wanted to avoid. Not a single one.

*Pun intended.

AF7OH

All my life I wanted to have a radio base station. The Dukes of Hazard county had their CB’s and remember Alf? The character who was the family’s father had a base station.

Fast forward to adulthood and I was envisioning a base station in my camper, and handhelds for my hikes. Sitting at camp one day with my dad, I told him my plans, but he wasn’t interested. In fact related a story about radio from the late 70’s when CB was the rage. He had hopped on the band wagon and then received a phone call from my grandpa to tell him he was going to call him on the radio later. That was a total turn-off for my dad, how idiotic was it to call someone on the phone to tell him he was going to call him on the radio?

Roughly 14 years later, I was surprised to hear my dad tell me that he was getting into ham radio. In fact, he was a technician class operator, and he was asking me if I would be interested in it. He explained to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was pushing members to become amateur radio operators for emergency purposes and that’s the reason he was now interested in it.

Well, I purchased a Baofeng handheld transceiver on June 27 of last year and have been monitoring the Malad link of the Intermountain Intertie ever since. It’s actually down right now, and has been for going on 3 months now, at least I think it is since I haven’t heard a peep from it since the beginning of December.

Originally, I was dead set against getting a call sign, since I’m a natural born American citizen and cannot be legally or lawfully compelled to license or register myself or my property. I took several months to study the United Stated code (U.S.C.) and the code of federal regulations (C.F.R.) concerning amateur radio. What I found would probably shock and maybe anger all amateur radio operators. I won’t go into any detail about that at this time, as it suffices me to say that I decided to go ahead and get a call sign.

I made the decision to get my call sign about 1 week before Thanksgiving 2014 and purchased the 3 American Radio Relay League (A.R.R.L.) training manuals along with their “Operating Manual”. They arrived the first week of December and I put all my normal activities on hold while I dedicated two full months to study for the three exams.

My study method was three fold: The first thing I did was record me reading the question pool and correct answers; I would listen to that first thing every day and while I was working; And finally, I used the manuals exactly as they were intended. It’s a miracle that I wasn’t dreaming about the exams, or the study material. 😀

I did get really stressed out as the exam date got closer and I purchased Gordon West’s amateur extra CD course. It arrived about a week or two before the exam date. It was fun to listen too, but since it was designed to go with his own textbook, which I did not get, I don’t think it really helped me. I ended up sending them to my dad who is going for his extra class status this week.

The exam session was 50 miles away, and I didn’t want the hassle of returning later so not only did I take all three exams when the day came, I took enough money for 2 make-up exam. I was prepared to fail at least one exam and thought it would be the general class exam. That was unnecessary as I passed all three exams first and only try. 😀

And, now that I am an amateur radio operator, I need to move out of my house because the owner of the house I rent does not want me to put up an antenna. 🙁 I was hoping to spend this month building a high frequency (HF) transceiver, but now I’m sorting through possessions and packing and throwing things out, and looking for a now place to live, which I haven’t found yet.

My plans for the hobby is to make my own radios and antennas and collecting QSL cards. I have no interests in the least bit of emergency communications.

My first radio build is going to be the Minima and after that, my goal is to build everything in the book Crystal Sets to Sideband. The author of Crystal Sets to Sideband, Frank W. Harris, KØIYE, recommends buying an A.R.R.L. handbook from the 1980s. I found a 1986 version on eBay, and purchased it. I love it. I cannot wait to get started making some of the devices in it, like the antenna analyzer and other testing equipment.

Morse Code Through Song

Had this wild idea to learn international morse cose about two months ago and found ‘The Ham Whisperer. At first, I thought I liked it. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it past the third lesson.

I had to give up on the him for learning. I just cannot tell the dit from the dahs and associate them with letters. But one thing he said at the beginning has stuck with me. He claims that memorizing morse code is like memorizing a song. I thought, ‘well if that’s true, why aren’t you teaching like a song?’
Then yesterday, someone posted an old military training course for morse code that emphasized the rhythm of international morse code: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNfiWmuqvGo&index=1&list=PLV_ZgDDShz2VB_h-GpHg4LbSfW4wCR7Xb


If that video were long enough to cover the whole code, I could easily learn morse code. It’s very entertain and well produced. After that, someone posted a link to Phil Kawa’s music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_qQZ92onhU&index=2&list=PLV_ZgDDShz2VB_h-GpHg4LbSfW4wCR7Xb


Now, I’m pretty sure I’ll be learning the cod, once I pass these exams this coming Saturday.

Once a Slacker, Always a Slacker…

Jeeze, just read my website. I need to update it, the last time I renovated it was when I lived in St. George, Utah. I no longer keep my blog updated often nor do I go to a library at all and web browsers on Linux are now the exact same as on Microshit Windows. And the friends page, yikes, I don’t even mention my two best friends, Garfield and her daughter Puppy Dog.
And there’s no mention of YouTube and Facebook! My guestbook no longer exists…
I’ve been slacking these past few years.

‘Community’ Canceled

Good riddance to an old favorite.

I absolutely LOVED the first three seasons of Community, back then the writing was awesome and the acting superior to anything on television and the show starred Chevy Chase.  Then came season four; What a disgrace, writing just plain sucked and cast tensions shined through the scenes.

With the departure of Chevy Chase, I lost all interest in season five of the show. After-all, Alison Brie is cute and sexy and all, but she can’t carry that particular ensemble show. I don’t know, maybe it would have been at least mediocre if Donald Glover had not left also.

Turkey Day! :-D

Some people, on a whim, will fix… French Toast for dinner. On a whim last week, I decided to fix a full out turkey meal, like the kind found on Thanksgiving day, for dinner sometime this week.

I bought the turkey last week and checked every day (after the first few, of course) to see if it was thawed. I rummaged through my collection of EveryDay With Rachael Rae magazines for my favorite turkey day recipes, November 2011. I had fixed the Kiss-of-lemon Roast Turkey (p. 127) a few years ago, and it was a big hit that Thanksgiving (It was me and my sister), along with the Classic Bread Stuffing With Sausage (p. 133), the Ruby Port Cranberry Jelly (which I personally did not like), and the Buttery Mashed Potatoes (p. 147). I fix those potatoes often. And it was those exact items I was craving!

Now, the first time I try a recipe, I follow it exact, if I like, I use it unchanged, if I don’t like it, I’ll note suggestions for next time.So there is a great deal of leeway when I make a meal. This time round, I could not find my zester, which was no big deal as last time I didn’t think the turkey had enough lemon flavor, this time, I had five lemons on hand. I have two left over, and I think it was the perfect amount of lemon flavor.

since I didn’t like the cranberry jelly last time, I stuck with the simplest recipe, which called for one cup of sugar and one cup of water and three cups of fresh cranberries. Yummy. I like it, but next time, I think I’ll add a few things to make seem a bit more complicated and unique.

The stuffing is my favorite! I’ll never change that. It is, in itself, a great anytime meal. I love it and will never change it intentionally. This time though, I made the mistake of not halving the ingredients. I didn’t even notice till after the sourdough bread was prepared and the sausage was all fried up. I kept looking at the recipe and saying really, “two large onions?”, it was when I was chopping those onion that I remembered, “oh yeah, last time I halved the recipe ahead of time…” Ooops.

The only change I make to the potatoes is, when I’m just fixing for me, I simply omit the cream, and don’t spend too much time mashing.

I did bake three loaves of bread the night before also, I was too tired by the time I cooked them, that I just thought, “screw it, I’m not going to let them rise any more”, and went ahead and baked them so I could go to bed. They turned out great, just not high of course. It was a new recipe, and next time I try it, I’ll ignore their destructions and follow my own tried and true and quick instructions, just with it’s ingredients.

Here are some pictures:

Doh! The pictures are on my phone because the battery for the camera was dead, and I don’t have a memory card for the phone because why would I ever use a telephone to take pictures?!!!

Well, here’s the Facebook picture I took after the battery charged while I was carving the turkey.

 

Why I haven’t Blogged Much These Past Two Years

For some unknown reason, Blogger used to have a limit of blog posts which was around 320. As I approached that limit, I slowed down my posts considerably. I did not know what would happen when I reached the limit, so I did not want to reach it until I was sure I had all my posts backed up. For years, I thought I would have to manually visit, select, copy and paste my posts into a word processor or something to back up my posts. A daunting task for which I sat down this week, only to have a marvelous “DUH” moment: wget. So, in less than a minute, all my posts were backed up on my computer.

Then, today I wondered if there was even still a limit of posts on blogger. Nope. The number of posts limit has been removed, so there may never have been a legitimate concern of loosing my posts as I reached 320. Yay!

But, now the concern is whether I can get back in the habit of writing for the blog… Only time will tell.

Righteous Choices

When this blog was new to me, I occasionally wrote movie reviews. After a while, I simply lost interest in such thing. I watch a lot of movies. If I wrote detailed reviews for all of them, I’d never have time to do anything else and prefer to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it.

Rating and liking and commenting about movies is way less time consuming and I think paints a grander picture of the types of things I am interested about and enjoy. If I don’t like something, I can just give it one star and forget about it. Easy peesy and simple. The more I watch and rate, the more “friends” can understand what aspects of films I like and look for, and what films I don’t like. We all have friends or family members whose taste in films and shows we know and can use that information to judge whether we are also going to like or hate.

Rating and sharing opinion through social sites like Facebook is a vast improvement over asking people at the local video rental store. I don’t know how many time I’ve heard idiotic things like “they say the ‘F-word’ a lot”. They’re basically saying, if this word or action offends you, better not watch it.

I live in community that is so obsessed with being offended, that they have forgotten, or chose to ignore, that it is their choice to be offended. Think about it; everything you see or hear presents you with a simple question, “how do you choose to respond”. Each response is either positive or negative. Positive to elicit a favorable feeling in yourself and negative to elicit unfavorable feelings in yourself. And it is no great leap in logic to align positive and negative with good and bad or righteous and evil.

Stop choosing to be offended, it will only elicit negative feelings within you.

Way To The Gated Wall

For those people who know me, it has come as a surprise that I joined Facebook last Friday. Many of you seem to recall that I once said, ‘I would never be on Facebook’, and that was sort-of true.

I have had a world wide web presence since 1998. At one point, my website, Waldo’s Web, was posted at three mirror sites. I have always considered myself an open book. Where all the popular websites did require an account to host profiles, and webpages, they were always open and accessible to the entire internet audience. I love that; no limit as to who could view what I uploaded.

And then came Facebook. A gated community. In order to view content uploaded to that service, you had to join. That concept clashed with my internet lifestyle, so, even though popularity was increasing, I was resisting. I told everyone, that as long as Facebook was a gated community, I would never join. And, I wouldn’t, but that was only one out of two reasons it was a safe bet you’d never see me on Facebook.

As you all know, Facebook was started at a college for college students. But, what most of you do not know, is that the terms of service (T.O.S.) document that many of you blindly accepted in those first several years, clearly required all members to be a student currently enrolled in a college.

The first road block for me came down a couple years ago. Perhaps an increase of celebrity and business pages had something to do with Facebook starting to allow visitors off of Facebook to access those pages. Maybe advertising had something to do; I just don’t know, and at the time I didn’t care, because the T.O.S. still limited members to college students.

I know, because I read all the T.O.S.’s. In the case of Facebook, I read it about every two years or so. Now, to be fair, the student requirement felt to me like it was only there because it had never been removed. What I mean by that, is that I had the impression, it was a forgotten clause in a document that was not formally written or assessed as a whole. That T.O.S. read like an impromptu document with clauses tossed in it later as situations deemed them necessary. In other words, I think they (those people who were maintaining the T.O.S.) were just thinking, “well, that happened, so better address that issue”, no one was thinking, “okay, Facebook has grown beyond college students, so we don’t need that clause any more”.

Well, last Friday, I thought to myself about how long it had been since I checked on the T.O.S., and decided to check again at that time. What I found, was a completely different set of terms, a document crafted out of grace and significant forethought into what Facebook has evolved to.

So, I’ve joined Facebook.

And in related news, I have reformatted the look of this blog. After joining Facebook, I wanted to incorporate it into my intenet lifestyle, and I could only do that by shedding the nine year old template I was using. If anyone out there has a new “Scribe” template, compatible with the new Blogger and modern social integration, let me know.

The Haunting Of Sunshine Girl

Picked up last months Seventeen magazine as I ALWAYS do if I find one of my favorite young women actors on the cover-Chloe Grace Moretz, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, AnnaSophia Robb, and so on. This month, it was Chloe Grace Moretz again and after her article, which was typical Hollywood teenager B.S., was an article on young women doing “pretty amazing” things.

Enter Paige McKenzie.

Nick named Sunshine in childhood by an aunt, she decided she wanted to be a star, but didn’t want to move to Hollywood to do it, so she became a YouTube star. She was sixteen when she started by researching the most searched for term on YouTube. As it turned out, ghost was the second most searched word, and “Ghost: The Haunting Of Sunshine Girl” was born. At least, according to Seventeen magazine. The ever unreliable Wikipedia has vastly contracting information, stating that The Haunting of Sunshine Girl was instead created by some unknown guy named Nick Hagen and one of the costars of the show, Mercedes Rose, who it is rumored is actually Paige’s real life mother.

Over the past week or two, I have been binge watching the show in my spare time.

First, I’d like to say that this show suffers from the same cliche film-making that became widely popular thanks to the horrid “Blair Witch Project” and, more recent, the popular “Paranormal Activity” films. That is to say, disgraceful handheld cinematography known as shaky camera. I hate that amateurish look and feel and despise just how cliche it is today, thanks a lot “Blair Witch Project” creators, and may you rot in HELL for all eternity.

That being said, or written as the case is, I do find the technique acceptable on YouTube, and consider it fitting for content created by an inexperienced sixteen year old girl.

I hate seeing big blockbuster budget movies with bad acting. If you’re getting paid to act, then do a good job. But, low budget television programs can be lax on the acting as long it’s fun to watch. I loved “Hey Dude”, “Saved By The Bell”, and the more recent “iCarly”, “Hanna Montana”, and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody”. So even though the acting sucks, and I mean really really sucks, on “The Haunting Of Sunshine Girl”, it is entertaining and fun, I love the energy, and camera tricks, so I put up with the bad acting, and enjoy the show.

Paige herself, is quite cute and adorable, and I consider it irresistible for a heterosexual male to develop some sort of crush on her. I also found it hard not to relate to Sunshine. On the personal level, she struck me, from the very beginning, as the female version of me when I was her age. But when I was that age, YouTube, of course, did not exist. Options for my generation were limited to Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and that was too difficult and unpredictable for amateurs, and teenage productions had no chance of getting broadcast. Anyway, I’m pretty glad she has the opportunity she has in this modern age.

The story has no real discernable arc to it, and established facts are often forgot about. I am reminded of the television show “Lost”, in that respect. I watched “Lost” late in it’s life, like season 5 or whatever, (there are blog posts about it here and here) and therefore was able to binge watch all the old episodes. It was somewhat entertaining, but not enough to warrant watching the latest episodes when I got all caught up; there was simply no reason to anticipate another episode justifying a weeklong wait. All because of the lack of a singular coherent story arc. I get the impression each episode of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is written on whim under the premise, ‘what can we do next?’ approach, rather than establishing a complete story first, and releasing a single scene every release day. Paige, and her team would benefit greatly from watching old serials from the pre-television days.

I am all caught up on Sunshine’s show, but unlike “Lost”, I will continue to watch, even though last week she killed off one of the fun and favorite characters.

I have subscribed to her channel, and even joined Facebook just to vote on her entry into The ABC’s Of Death 2 contest. I figured, if I can help her with her dream in such a small and easy way, why not do that? Youtube is making a lot of stars, and some of them actually deserve it, Paige McKenzie is one of those. Seasons 1-6 can be found here and seasons 7-10 (current) here.