June 23, 2017


There's a house down the street with a couple of grade-school age kids and a cherry tree in the back yard. Yesterday the kids and a friend of theirs picked the cherries, put them in mason jars, and went door-to-door selling them. The price was high but not unreasonable.

I don't like cherries, but there's no way to not buy some.

(Luckily my wife does like cherries.)

Posted by: Boviate at 09:36 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 68 words, total size 1 kb.

June 14, 2017

Gift Cards

My father-in-law is a retired accountant. He hates receiving gift cards; when he does get one he spends it as quickly as possible, for fear that the store will declare bankruptcy and the card will be worthless. I found this behavior somewhere between "charming eccentricity" and "relic of a bygone era".

Two Christmases ago, by brother-in-law gave me a gift card to Gander Mountain, and outdoor-goods store. I shopped but found it overpriced, and there was nothing I needed at the time, so I held on to the card.

As you've probably guessed after reading the first and second paragraphs, Gander Mountain has declared bankruptcy. The card is now worthless. When I asked at the front desk they gave me a slip of paper with information on how to make my claim at the bankruptcy court. I guess I might, but honestly there's no chance that it'll get so much as a penny on the dollar. I'm a junior unsecured creditor behind basically everyone. I guess I'm senior to the shareholders but that's it. And everyone knows they're getting nothing.

Ah well, maybe I can put it aside for 50 years and sell it as a curio.

Posted by: Boviate at 08:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 199 words, total size 1 kb.

April 26, 2017


It is with great pleasure that I announce the birth of my daughter. She was 8 lbs ½ oz, and 20.5 inches long. After a few days in the hospital, mother and child are both home and doing well. The cat is grumpy.

Posted by: Boviate at 12:48 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 44 words, total size 1 kb.

April 06, 2017

Oh Poo

There were some fun times at work last week. A few blocks downstream from my office, a city sewer main collapsed. We're talking a 60" diameter pipe, so as you can imagine, it wasn't an easy repair. It took them four days to accomplish. During which time, my office building was open to "essential personnel only" as they was nowhere for our effluvium to go. Or rather, fluid dynamics being what they are, the effluvium certainly would have gone somewhere, but not where we'd all prefer.

About 1500 people work in the building, so 3000 kidneys converting coffee to... not coffee... would have been a problem. The building engineers thoughtfully provided two (2) port-a-potties by the smoking area.

It wasn't necessary to use them, as they also procured the services of a "honey truck" to empty out our building's own sewer pipe, so we were able to carry on using the porcelain fixtures as usual. That was quite a relief.

Posted by: Boviate at 05:49 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 162 words, total size 1 kb.

March 22, 2017

Petty Corruption

We've got an artificial Christmas tree. The tree "trunk" is held in place in the base by three turnscrews. When I went to set it up last December, I discovered that one of the three screws had gone missing. I used a shim to get through the holidays, then sought out a replacement after we took the tree down.

The local home improvement store was useful in that they had a little sizer doo-hickey that confirmed that the screws were metric. But the store, despite being larger than any aircraft hanger I've worked in, did not have a replacement. So I ordered them off Amazon.com. They took about a month to arrive.

Anyway, they came today in a little pouch mailed from Hong Kong, China Post to  the US Post Office. It had the customs information printed right on the pouch. According to the customs declaration, it was a gift of the category "Cell Phone Accessories".

The screws were only a few bucks for the set. I'm sure the tariff saved was only a few cents. I'm not going to write my Congressman and demand an investigation. But it struck my fancy as being an excellent example of the petty corruption that one hears about in societies were the rule of law has not taken hold.

Posted by: Boviate at 10:30 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 218 words, total size 1 kb.

March 08, 2017

They Call the Wind "Wind" Because It Would Be Odd to do Otherwise

Wow, that was quite the windstorm. There were reports that the wind derailed a train outside of town. The highway was shut down due to multiple flipped trucks. Emergency vehicles were rushing up and down my quiet side street, apparently because the main road was blocked with downed trees and/or power lines. Some of the neighbors lost shingles- I think I'll look over my roof in the morning.

It's kind of reassuring to be in a century-old house during a bad storm. You know it's not the house's first rodeo.

Posted by: Boviate at 11:29 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 103 words, total size 1 kb.

January 20, 2017


Well, there's been another peaceful change of presidential administrations. My hopes are not exactly high, but I also have confidence we'll get through this. The new guy doesn't excite me with his competence, but we've had no few prior presidents that couldn't carry out the law and/or didn't care to, and we've muddled through.

When I say this on Facebook, I get attacked for "showing my privilege". Sure, I get that- I'm middle-class monogamous white straight cisgender male native-born protestant healthy & employed. (I'm not sure if being a veteran is a plus or a minus in the privilege score some people like to calculate.) I think I'm viewing this as a historian, not a MCMWSCMNBPHE scumbag, but who knows.

Here's the thing, though: I'm going to make some predictions. Feel free to grade me on them in four more years.

  1. Roe v. Wade does not get overturned. First, Trump is personally pro-choice. Second, polling shows people freak out when it looks like it'll get overturned, including people necessary for the R's in congress to get reelected. So while there will be laws picking at the edges, abortion will remain legal.
  2. Gay marriage will remain legal. Again, overwhelming popular support, even more so than abortion. And the Supreme Court, even with new conservative members, hates to go back on itself. (Stare decisis.)
  3. I'm less certain about the Affordable Care Act. Congress is intentionally painting themselves into a corner to replace the popular parts, but the popular parts aren't separable from the unpopular parts. If enough of their constituents lose medical care they will either panic or get thrown out of office. So I expect there will be something closely resembling Obamacare in five years. It will probably be rough on some people over the next two years though.
  4. We won't go to war with another major power. (E.g. China or Russia). Trump's easy to manipulate. His advisors will flatter him into visions of getting a copy of Obama's and Roosevelt's Nobel Prizes if things ever get too heated, plus the warning that his overseas property would get seized or destroyed.
  5. A general trade war is unlikely. We'll probably get something like the Chicken Tax, i.e. highly distortionary tariffs on a small sector of the economy. I suspect we'll be the first major nation to sign a new trade treaty with a post-Brexit UK, because Trump likes the cut of their jib.
  6. Trump only serves a single term. First, he might get impeached. Seriously! He has no friends in Congress, but his vice-president has plenty. It looks to be easy to find grounds to do so- start with the Emoluments Clause and go from there. If, on the other hand, he completes his term, the Democrats are likely to take either the House or the Senate during the mid-term elections, if for no other reason than the president's party almost always loses seats in the midterm. He's not likely to enjoy facing an explicitly hostile Congress, and will choose not to seek re-election in order to spend more time with his family.
There you go, those are my predictions. I guess we can check back in four years.

Posted by: Boviate at 04:41 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 525 words, total size 3 kb.

January 05, 2017

Insert Title Here

After a few weeks, the state DMV mailed me the fancy paper title to my new car. But there was an error! It listed a lienholder, which was kind of a shock to me since I paid with cash and as far as I know I don't own anyone any money at the current time.

The problem is that the dealer had requested a certified check. The dealer's back office presumably saw the check and assumed it was actually the bank loaning the money.

So I went to the bank, and they got in a bit of a kerfuffle because the standard lien release form specifies that loan number X has been paid off on date Y and the bank releases its security interest on the car with VIN Z. But there never was a loan, so they didn't have a X or Y to fill in to the standard form. I got passed up the chain to a person with sufficient authority to write a custom letter explaining that they never even had a security interest in the car, and if anyone says otherwise that person is wrong. (So to speak. I'm exaggerating the legal language.)

Now, I had a couple of options. I could keep the title with the fictitious lien and along with the letter releasing the non-lien, the car would be free and clear to transfer someday when the time comes. But that means two pieces of paper to track instead of one, and frankly I'm reluctant to keep around a legal document (the title) that has a clear error on its face. That sort of thing can lead to problems down the road.

The second option would be to go to the DMV. For $20, they'll issue you a clean title with documentation that the lien has been paid off. I presume that they would also have accepted the letter the bank provided for me, at least the bank assured me they would.

But then I'd be out $20. I realize that $20 is a very very small fraction of the cost of my car. The DMV is much closer than the dealership, so driving to and from the dealership probably cost me $1 in gas and depreciation. The time is probably a wash, driving time compared to time waiting in line at the DMV. But for the principle of the thing, I went to the dealership and argued until they agreed to send off the letter and the title themselves to the DMV to get a corrected one issued. They were reluctant because they didn't want to spend the $20 themselves, of course.

So I expect a nice clean title in the mail in a few weeks and I'll have the satisfaction of having wasted my time to get someone else to fix the paperwork error that they themselves caused.

Posted by: Boviate at 06:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 479 words, total size 3 kb.

December 13, 2016

Fit for the Purpose

So, I got one of these:
Yellow Honday Fit
It's a 2017 Honda Fit. While I loved my 2004 Chevy Cavalier, it was a coupe, and getting a baby into a rear seat was not something I looked forward too. Plus this car is a lot safer overall, with ABS, traction control, airbags, and a structure that will hopefully protect the occupants during a crash.

I'm going to miss the old girl, but I got a great trade-in value for it. The dealer thought it likely that it would be sold to an "enthusiast" and would end up with a turbo- or super-charger by next summer and be tearing up the track. One can only hope. Although if it ends up as some poor single mother's commuting machine, that's an honorable retirement too. It's got a lot of miles left in it, so I hope it gives someone else loyal service.

As for me, I'm adjusting. I keep reaching for a non-existent clutch. Also, the rear of a hatchback is heated space, unlike my old car's trunk, so I'll have to put my lunch in an insulated container. I'm still figuring out where to stash all the stuff that I keep up front– sunglasses, work ID, phone charger, etc. The sound systems is better than the old car, so there's that.

Anyway, here's hoping for another decade plus of reliable transportation. Odds are the next car will be electric, and perhaps even autonomous.

Come spring I'm going to get a hitch receiver installed, and then get a hitch-mount bike rack. My current rack won't really work on a hatchback. Later I could put in the wiring harness and actually tow with it, too. The manual says not to tow, but the exact same model of car sold in Japan and Europe, made in the same factory and the only difference being the speedometer set in km/hr and the language of the owner's manual, has a rated towing capacity of 1000kg and a hitch as a factory option. That's enough for a light cargo trailer or a pop-up camper.

Posted by: Boviate at 05:15 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 349 words, total size 2 kb.

October 31, 2016

Back When I Was Young

There was a time when the Simpsons was actually good.

Posted by: Boviate at 09:09 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Post contains 15 words, total size 1 kb.

<< Page 2 of 91 >>
35kb generated in CPU 0.03, elapsed 0.0711 seconds.
22 queries taking 0.0483 seconds, 64 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.