21 August 2015

auto-motif meme..

It's not a meme when they do it. it's a meme when others (meslf incuded) copy (i prefer the term  "leverage" their idea!) and they become meme originators.   I salute thee!

So leveraged....I've been away at conference this week and parked next to this today:

Apologies for the pic quality.   I bought the phone because it's "a phone! dummy"/  Camera and other functions are 2ndary.  

I think it's an 80's vintage Chrystler LeBaronIt's a Buick! with a long horn hood ornament,   I didn't check the state of license (AZ or TX???)   Still this was a bit out of the ordinary, even for these parts.

So memed!

Update 8/28: as Wilson notes, it's a Buick.  Even when I was in to reading car mags, Land Yachts were never my thing (too hard to park!).  I was (and still am) a sports car guy.   Thanks Wilson for the correction!

14 August 2015

Today* I will do nothing...

... outdoors.

We all watched our friends in the upper midwest suffer last winter through record snowfalls while I was out toolin' around in the convertible with the top down into May.

And here is why (courtesy of ABC15 Weather):

Awhile back a bunch of us were duscussing our usual thurs pm up fun steel shoot.  I sent a clip of the 5 day forecast with the 118 highlighted.  (my implication = too hot for me!)  Not happening!

This is our comeuppance here in the desert.  We (might) have mild winters but even when we get down into the lo-teens, it doesn't come with much moisture.  It's just cold, and occasionally ice-foggy.

I'm not sure if I believe that low of 91F.  We have nights when the moisture moves in and we just don't cool off.  Then the night time low gets down to around 105.

The difference between here and our Northern latitude friends is, I don't have to shovel 3ft of 115F anything off my driveway!

I can see the attraction of the snowbird lifestyle!  Should I become one, at least I understand the left turn lane!

* Today assuming it will be Saturday by the time most readers get to this, even though I write late Fri PM.

10 August 2015

Gun Rights Policy Conference

I just registered and you can too!

I've always wanted to go but life keeps getting in the way.  This year, I'm going!  And it's local so I get to forgo the "airline experience" to make the trip.

See you there?

05 August 2015

This seems too perfect...

Bail bondsmen crash police chief's home.  Seems to me the bail bondmen poked the wrong hornet's nest.  They apparently acted on an unconfirmed tip.  I hope they enjoy their proctological exam.
I am surprised no blood was spilt.

29 July 2015

Hot Water is over rated!

The SandCastle has been without hot water for a few days now.

Now if there is a "good" time to lose hot water, it's in the desert in the middle of summer.  The water sitting in the heater absorbs heat from the surrounding air.  My morning shower wasn't exactly "cold", but just "cool", probably about 95F.

Fortunately the problem wasn't the heater itself, but rather the timer that controls the heater.  One of these:
Lifted from the Intermatic website, but I don't think they'll mind
We only need hot water a couple times a day:  Morning showers & evening cleaning.  Most of the rest of the time it sits there and wastes energy keeping water hot that won't be needed for hours.  It turns on our water heater for only a couple hours a day, presumably saving us tons of money.  And of something special comes up,  Hit the square button to manually activate.

This little guy works like a sprinkler or pool pump timer.  It even allows different programming for the weekends.

We are fortunate it was only the timer and not the heater for a couple reasons.  First the timer is a lot cheaper than the heater and it's also very easy to bypass.

So we have a new timer on order and this one is bypassed in the meantime until the new one arrives.

The Amazon reviews have lots of reports of not lasting very long.  Our results are mixed.  This will be our third unit.  The first lasted 2 months and was returned under warranty.  The 2nd, the one that just failed lasted 13 years.   I know this because of the note I added at the time "Installed 10 July 2002".

#include [std.disclaimer]:  No compensation has been provided or promised for this post.  We bought all three units at retail with our own money.  I am all for investing in technology that will save me money in the long run.  YMMV.

Update 8/10/2015 (Head hung low) I have the following prominently displayed on my toolbox "Check the fuse FIRST, dummy!".  It's there because of a circuit failure in a first car that led to a lengthy debugging sessions which ended up with... a blown fuse. :-(  I felt so stupid... obviously this is the first thing I should have checked.

Well now I need to add a 2nd line: "Hit the Reset!"

We replaced the battery, but the clock wouldn't reset and the relays wouldn't operate manually,  so we ordered a replacement.

Rereading the installation instructions getting ready for the replacement I noticed the reset button.  So I went out to the installed unit and viola'  It worked!  Clock and programs are reset and manual works too.

So this brandy new unit is going on the shelf for as soon as we try to return or otherwise dispose of it, the old one will go Tango Uniform.

25 July 2015


As is $Diety$ THAT HURTS!  and THROBS.

I got tagged by a scorpion tonight.  Scorpions are a fact of life in this neck of the woods.  The like to nest on the bark of palm trees.  Then the wind blows and dislodges them.

Tonight I went downstairs to talk to the SCSon and immediately felt a pain in my foot.  A couple throbs later and I was pretty sure what had happened.  Searching the floor I spotted the culprit.... And ran him over with a certain shotgun roller.  Several times!  He may have won the battle but I won the war!  He is dead and I am not,

I had immediate visions of a similar scene in the same spot several years ago when the SCSon got tagged,  Never having been stung before all I could offer the SCSon is "I know it hurts.  But you are not going to die".

We met some very nice people at Emergency Care.  A while later the PA comes in to assess as a very benign case but is willing to dispense pain killers... I think he mentioned Viocodin and Codine.   Eh, to me these are drugs you take to dim the pain of compound fractures and amputations.  Right now ice is controlling the pain so we'll stick with that.    I am no longer has me jumping out of the chair so..  While we've filled the Rx, it's the 3AM contingency plan.

If anyone wants to steal the Rx, the pills will be ground up and mixed in with next week's used kitty litter.  Enjoy!

23 July 2015

Armed drone legality

No doubt you've seen the vid of the armed drone firing shots (apparently) into a berm. There are many questions floating about regarding the legality of arming a drone.

IANAL but I am a CCW holder which makes me a member of a most law-abiding population.  I am also a pilot and as such have read up upon and internalized much of the relevant FARs (Federal Air Regulations) applicable to GA (General Aviation) flight.  The link has always been there on the left sidebar "FARs, direct from HQ".

Off the top of my head, It seems there are two relevant FARs:  91.15 (Dropping objects):
§91.15   Dropping objects.
No pilot in command of a civil aircraft may allow any object to be dropped from that aircraft in flight that creates a hazard to persons or property. However, this section does not prohibit the dropping of any object if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.
Now I am but a mere pilot and not a lawyer, Even assuming the guy controlling the drone is PIC, it seems to me the craft was well controlled and firing into a berm so it would seem to me "reasonable precautions were taken to avoid injury etc....".  Sorry no sale if I'm on the jury.

But there is also the catchall 91.13 "Careless or reckless":
§91.13   Careless or reckless operation.
(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
(b) Aircraft operations other than for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft, other than for the purpose of air navigation, on any part of the surface of an airport used by aircraft for air commerce (including areas used by those aircraft for receiving or discharging persons or cargo), in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
This is pretty much the FAA's "you are guilty if we deem you so".   Except, is a drone in this situation engaged in air navigation (case a)? It would seem to me not the case.  Nor would (case b) seem to fit as the scene could hardly be described as an airport.

This is truly a case of technology outpacing legislation.  I have great faith our vast army of FAA bureaucrats will write new rules making the arming of drones illegal.  But as of today, I don't think that is the  case.  And.. umm  insert legal doctrine "ex-post-facto" means they can't prosecute someone for an act today that wasn't illegal until tomorrow (or increase penalties in the same situation).

I also have great faith criminals with no concern about our laws will make great use of same-same technology to complete their missions.  Yet again proving laws only stop the law abiding, not the criminals.

Clearly the technology is out there,  Security has to react assuming the worst.  Making it illegal doesn't stop the threat.

Others have brought up the "machine operated gun angle" (does firing a gun from a computer operated solenoid make it a "machine gun"?)   I have no knowledge or opinion on that side.

#include [std.disclaimer]:  I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.  This opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it ($0).