Friday, August 23, 2019

What's up with commenting?

Comments have stopped working on a number of blogs such as Eaton Rapids Joe. The only commonality (other than I read them) is that they're all Blogger blogs.

I've tried different browsers. Disabled add-ins. Downloaded one browser and used it fresh. Nada. I've tested my blog and they're still working as they should.

Any wisdom from the crowd?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What do you call it?

What do you call it when there is simply nothing that moves you to write? I'm not talking about writer's block, where you have a subject but simply can't get the words out. This is more along the lines of...I don't know. It isn't burn out or a lack of motivation, exactly. There is simply no subject that is goading me into writing right now.

I suppose that's one of the differences between us hobbyists and the "professionals". Professionals gotta eat, so they learn to write something of acceptable quality about something on a schedule. I'm retired-what is this "schedule" of which you speak?

Maybe I can go over some of the stuff that's been going on around here. Nothing is earth-shattering, it's just the stuff that lives are made of. But some may find it interesting.

This morning, I've been on the evil Amazon again, managing my "Subscribe and Save" list. I understand that some people see Amazon as part of a growing Technology Axis of Evil, and I suppose it is. It's also what makes living in smaller towns easier and less expensive. I noticed they have the Keystone canned meats on offer now. I've signed up for a couple of cans every month. Yes, I'm sure it can be gotten cheaper by the case, but if I manipulate the system correctly, I get it for 15% off Amazon's price, I can bump all my other stuff from 5% to 15% off and it's shipped free. I also get to buy it in more budget friendly sized chunks. This will let me slowly expand the pantry again. After kids moving out, we've let the pantry contract, because 2 of us don't eat what 4 did. Pantry space is limited, so in addition to stocking staples, such as soups, pastas and the like, I'm starting on things that will store better. Happiness is a full pantry.

You might remember my tiny little step into solar power. One thing I noted was that the light wouldn't turn on when plugged into the panel. Well, a couple of weeks ago I had to finish mowing after dark. Putting the "tractor" up, I needed a little light, So I tried this thing out in full darkness for the first time. I found out two things. First, it really is a little light-you get just enough to see. It's about like the moonlight setting on a lot of flashlights. Second, it worked while plugged up. Apparently, if there is any power on the incoming feed, it won't work. Not sure what odd choices were made for it to work that way, but now I know the answer to one of life's mysteries.

I'm still slowly cleaning/reorganizing the garage and basement. Several loads have went to the Salvation Army and a couple to the dump. More await for both destinations. However, I'm finally getting some things organized where I can find them, tools especially. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with all of those extra sockets....

I'm starting to cycle around to ham radio again, and Mrs. Freeholder and I have had some conversations about the need for antennas. She objects to the idea that her house is going to look like this:

I've assured her that I'm not after that. No way I have that much money. :-)

Actually, I wouldn't want it either. It's simply too obvious what I'm up to. The 6m-2m-70cm beam is small and looks rather like a TV antenna. And while some nice beams for HF would be great, I don't care for everyone who drives by to know I'm "that radio guy".

At first the plan was for a couple of end-fed long wires, but with no reasonable anchor points, I was going to have to put up some sort of poles for them. I figured she'd hate the poles, but it's the actual wires she objects to. So after some discussion and the display of many photos, she decided that she would be OK with some sort of vertical, as long as it didn't require too many guy lines.

I looked into the subject, and while I can fund it now (sold the Subaru), I didn't really find anything I warmed up to. Too expensive and I was concerned about functionality. ARRL, you need to test more antennas.

During the looking, I enlisted YouTube. Did you know YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world? I've been using it a long time to learn about various things, so I figured why not antennas. During the search, I found the DX Commander. Rather than the usual vertical design, this is a fan dipole turned on its end. I like that it can be installed in a secure but non-permanent manner. It's a resonant antenna, which is good both from performance and price reasons (no remote tuner needed). Even more, I like the price, which is around 20%, perhaps a bit less, than what I was anticipating spending. Most of the parts that could wear or break are replaceable. Heck, from the descriptions on Callum's site, I bet you could rig one of these up yourself without too much trouble. It's on the way via slow boat (keeps the shipping costs down). When it arrives and the weather cools off, I'm going to dive back into things and get it and some other ham projects handled.

I'm still working on the pickup I mentioned buying. It has been even more sweltering than North Carolina summers usually are, and I've not done much outside on this or anything else because of the heat and my body's seeming inability to deal with it as well as it once did. I've got a few small things left to do, such as hooking up the halo lights (finally), replacing the jounce bumpers (think suspension stops) and checking the fuel pump pressure. But due to the departure of the unneeded and unloved Subaru, I can now finance some professional work, so the seats are going to get new foam and upholstery. Then I'm hoping to draft Son-In_Law for some assistance in installing the new stereo and my ham radio (and possibly a CB-die purists!). I may even get his paintless dent repair buddy to handle 2-3 of the most egregious cosmetic defects.

I've found someone very local who can supply me with firewood by the log. The price is good and I'm not paying for the bucking, splitting and stacking. We may not burn wood this winter, but we will be next winter and for another few years. This is something that really gives me some comfort. Happiness is also a full woodshed.

The Greensboro Gun Show is this weekend. I'll be looking for a couple of guns if I can find them at a price I like. I also want to see if there are any signs of panic in the gun market. That could signal a selling opportunity for some of my excess. Plus ammo is always a thing to look for.

There are near-endless other things going on, but you get the drift by now. It's just life for the time being. Yes, there are Big Things on the horizon that could cause trouble. But for now I'm sort of moving quietly along, doing the things I think need doing as best as possible. And I'm good with this.