Oh, common sense.

OK, that’s it, I’m actually going to get to sleep by 11PM! Oh crap, it’s already past 11PM.

Maybe if I lie or something.

I’ve been having enough trouble trying to stay asleep through the night because of the weather. It’s warming up and for some reason that interrupts my sleep patterns every year. It’s not even that warm out, but it is staying in in the high 40’s. Maybe if it clears up this weekend, it’ll be a bit colder. I can only hope.

Well, time to see if I can sleep and dream about antennas. A geek’s gotta geek after all.

Prius pluses and minuses.

Well, so far the Prius gas mileage isn’t looking that spectacular compared to my boring old Honda Civic Hybrid, but this weekend I remembered one of the other big reasons I wanted to buy the new car. I went to Costco and bought three 6′ wire racks and I didn’t know if they’d all fit in the back of the car. I figured that if I couldn’t fit the third one in, I’d just return it. But they all went in, as well as some plastic storage bins, and I was pretty happy. And since that fit, I got out the tape measure and checked to see if I could fit a 10′ antenna mast and it fit as well. Hooray! My old Honda Civic Hybrid had fixed rear seats and they couldn’t be folded down so I’m pretty happy about all of this.

Now if I only had some cable, I could hook up my ham radio antenna.

Getting old.

An intarweb friend of mine tweeted that she can tell she’s getting old because she’s starting to like Graham crackers and ginger ale. I must have been old as a kid then. She also wondered if she was going to start liking bourbon and it’s too late for me. I was even drinking Manhattans before Mad Men started up and made me feel like a tool for ordering them sometimes. I can tell I’m getting old because I don’t feel like staying up late to finish rebuilding my amplifier. I feel like I could do it, but I just don’t feel like doing it. Plus it’s a school night.

Now I feel like drinking a Manhattan. Curse you old age.

Like you need more proof.

I got both of my last outstanding packages today. One was the replacement for my drowned NetPC power supply. I needed that so I could use it as a ham radio logging computer. The other was a kit of parts to bring the power amplifier stage of my ham radio to the latest revision. Serious geekery.

Unfortunately, the NetPC has proved itself to be next-to-useless once again and the screen is too small for the logging program I want to use. I suppose I might be able to get around that somehow, but I’m letting it charge up a bit before I mess with it.

So the bag of parts was sitting on my desk taunting me and my sister just got me the new circuit board holder and I just had to go try it all out. I knocked off early because I’m beat. Not only is the gym making me tired and sore all over, I’m not sleeping all that well. So the radio is in bits all over my bench and half the components are replaced but the parts are neatly sorted in the Electronic Work Center bins. Hooray for my sister’s Xmas present to me!

Someone stop me.

I have so many things arriving via UPS lately that it isn’t funny. Most of the stuff isn’t very expensive, but there’s the radio gear and the antennas wasn’t cheap. Now it’s just random little stuff like a holster that may not fit anything I own. I did get my Xmas present from my sister, a Panavise electronic work center. It holds circuit boards while you work on them. When I got home from work I had to immediately put it together and put it next to my soldering iron. I actually have some circuit board work to do and I’m hoping to do it next weekend now that football season is almost over.

Maybe I just need to get out more.


Gung hay fat choy to you too, buddy.

They’re doing yoga on Mondays now and that means I’ve discovered a new hell. I’ve mentioned that I clean up at the gym after the last class, but Monday yoga is at the time I’m cleaning up. That means they crank the heat up and they play yoga music. My new hell is mopping in the heat while listening to new age hippie yoga music. (Yeah, I already know that I can use my iPhone earbuds to fix most of that problem.)

Speaking of hell, my W2 arrived so I have to start doing my taxes.

So my second train-derailment-delayed package arrived today with what I think is no problems. The shipment arrived fine, but it appears to be missing items just like the other shipment. There’s not mounting hardware (six feet, thirty lag bolts, and tar strips). Ah well, the rain will keep me off my roof for a while so I can wait.

I spent the weekend playing the geekiest game ever. it’s called Morse Runner and simulates a ham radio contest where you try to make as many contacts as possible. It sounds just like you’re on the radio and it sends all the information in Morse code. I suppose in this day and age, if you have a computer running there’s no reason to decode the Morse code on your own, but it is a game after all and why cheat?

Glad that week’s over.

I had to miss going to the gym this morning because I was waiting for 1-866-Junkway to show up and haul off all the crap from the basement flood. It was nice getting all that crap out of my hair. Now I have to decide if I’m going to do anything else in the basement to either avoid repeated flooding or just get the crap off of the floor for when it does flood again. I’m not all the clear on what I should do here.

I stayed home Friday to deal with the flooded basement. Of course, I wanted to avoid that so I ended up writing my yearly self-assessment which I had been putting off. So the flooding actually did some good, in a way, by getting me to do something I needed to do which I was avoiding.

The other thing I did today was see a reading of a musical play written by two high school kids. It was a work in progress and certainly a little rocky in places, but my friend Melissa did a great job singing and the whole thing was surprisingly entertaining. I’d definitely say it was worth my time to see “Fight Call.”

What a joy.

There are people who have real troubles and I would feel bad about complaining, but this is a blog that usually gets 10-20 hits a day, which means to me that both of my friends and several of my enemies come by to see what I’m kvetching about today. Yesterday I complained about two packages being delayed because of a train derailment and I got 944 hits. I’m hoping the people who are here looking for information on the train derailment just look at that post and move along.

It’s flooding in Oregon and my basement flooded for the first time in years. I was about to move all the boxes in the living room down to the basement and I’m glad I held off. This is small potatoes compared to the people dying or losing their homes because of the rain, but this is my blog that should only have 10-20 hits per day (as I said) and it’s my place to complain.

In any case, I decided everything that was on the bottom level of boxes was going into the trash, with only a couple of exceptions. The brand-new chop saw was taken out of the box and put up to dry. Some wet photo albums as well. Most everything else (including some Tyco model trains that I was sure I was going to put on ebay some day) are now in the trash. And really, I’ve been sitting around wondering when I’d get around to looking at all the crap in the boxes and it’s time to just get rid of the stuff that I haven’t looked at in years. I could be out dozens of dollars!

Water is still collecting in the basement. I used my Wet/Dry vacuum to get up a lot of the water and it just seeped back in. It’s going to be a damp mess down there for a while.

UPS and downs [updated twice].

I’ve been buying a lot of weird crap on the intarwebs (ham radio crap, obviously) and I’ve spent a lot of time using “Delivery Status” on my iPhone to track the packages. I had a bunch of antenna stuff coming on Friday but I got an interesting message email from UPS that said,

… delivery of the following shipment has been rescheduled

Exception Reason: TRAIN DERAILMENT

That’s kind of exciting in a bad way. Delivery Status even reports the location of the train derailment to be Wolf Point, MT, which means I can use the intarwebs to get news. The AP reports:

Train Hits Semi On Montana Hi-Line
Wednesday, January 18th 2012
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — BNSF Railway says a freight train with its whistle blowing derailed in northeastern Montana after colliding with a semitrailer that had pulled across tracks between Bainville and Culbertson.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says the semi driver was airlifted from the scene after the collision shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Roosevelt County officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

Melonas says there were no serious injuries among the train’s crew.

Ten of the train’s 40 cars carrying everything from diapers to washers derailed along with four locomotives, including two that were on their sides. Melonas says about 500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled, but the spill was contained and wasn’t threatening waterways.

At least 13 trains have been rerouted while the track is repaired. The track could reopen as early as Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

I hate to be mercenary about this but I think this may be one of those times that I have to be present when the shipment arrives and check to see that it’s not all beat up. I think the only thing I can do is reject the shipment when the guy arrives with it. I don’t think this had anything to do with the snow.

Speaking of snow, there were people sledding at midnight, and sledding means lots of screaming, “Whee,” and using other nonsensical interjections that woke me up repeatedly. When I got up at 6AM there was still a lot of snow, but it was raining cats and dogs. I drove to the slush to work, and got there at the usual time but was unusually tired. I hope we’re done with that foolishness.

[UPDATE] For all those people coming here looking for UPS info, my package is back on schedule to be delivered today, 1/20. That means I have to take a day off of work to wait for it, and reject it if it looks damaged. At least that’s how I understand how shipping works.

[Second UPDATE] I got one of my two packages delivered today and it was fine. True to MFJ form, though, (the ham radio manufacturer also known as “More Effing Junk”) it came without a manual. Oh, and I’m deleting the ruder comments because it’s my blog and I do whatever I feel like.


It snows a bit in Portland and it’s pretty miserable when it does. Most often we’ll get enough snow that there’s white bits in the grass but nothing more. The worst is when we get a few inches of snow, it melts to slush during the day and then freezes to a sheet of ice during the night. There’s no getting around in the ice, no matter what people tell you about their winter driving prowess. The weather forecasters are generally useless when there’s snow predicted and I was watching the dire predictions when the snow actually started to stick to my satellite dish and killed my TV reception. Oh, well. We now have snow.

Today’s morning commute wasn’t so bad. The snow was slush and most traveled roads weren’t slick at all. We’ll see how it its tomorrow morning. If I’m lucky, the rain will start early and the snow will all be gone tomorrow morning.

Getting closer to geektopolis.

It took a couple days of searching through all the boxes in the living room and basement, but I found my radio and my power supply. My antenna and a tripod should be arriving on Friday and I may even get to put it all up this weekend. So very geeky. I’ve been on the radio a few times and a co-worker even heard me at some point. I’m not sure what this all means other than my cave-dwelling radio geek days are getting closer and closer.

I even skipped going to the gym. The real reason is that I had shoulder cramping, a headache, and I’m old. I did NOT feel like I’d be doing all that much even if I went, so I didn’t. It gave me more time to search for my radio, though.

Good news everyone!

I spent a lot of time this weekend trying to reconcile my accounts in Quicken Essentials. I went back to my bank records from 2000 and looked at them month-by-month. By the time I got to 2011, something had changed and everything was back to normal. I’m not sure what I did and I’m most ly convinced that the software is just plain buggy. That was most of my Friday evening and Saturday.

I got a call from the urologist on Friday and found out that he didn’t find anything, which is what I wanted him to find and he really didn’t need to stick things in my privates to get there, but I guess he had to make sure.

Other than that there isn’t all that much a guy does during the NFL playoffs besides watching a lot of football.