Category Archives: Technology

Baby, Wanna Drive My Car?

An earlier blog this week about repairs made me think of a funny story from my youth. My very first car was an old Datsun stick shift.  I don’t even remember what model.  But it was old when I got it, had some rust and eventually a hole rusted through underneath so that when you ran through a puddle, you could easily get splashed INSIDE the car.

My boyfriend at the time (eventually husband, now wasband) and I both wanted to be “handy” so I taught myself how to change the oil/air filter and then we decided to tackle the rust spots. We got a sanding attachment for a drill (which we had to borrow from my downstairs neighbors) and some primer spray paint.  The idea was to sand off the rust, prime it and then paint over it with a coat of matching light blue.   This plan went off the rails in so many places that I can’t believe we didn’t see it coming.  First, as everyone can probably guess, when we started to sand the rust off it became clear that we would probably be sanding straight through if we weren’t careful.  As the old saying goes, the rust was the only thing holding it together in places.  That meant in a few spots, we just sanded it smooth but didn’t get all the rust.   Then, no surprise, the primer didn’t want to stick to the still rusty spots, so we really sprayed it on heavily.  Then we couldn’t match the light blue color of the car for love nor money.  We ended up with seven or eight cans of spray paint and seven or eight swatches of different blues along the back of the car.  BF was sure we could match the color if we went up to the Twin Cities to look (I was living in Northfield at the time).  Since he didn’t want the car to rust while we were working on the correct color matching, he put duct tape patches on all the rusted and primed spots.  (No, I am not making this up.)  From a distance it looked like the car had zits.

We never did find the right color, never did take the duct tape off the zit car. After another few months, we ended up with it in Milwaukee where the car eventually ended its life in the blizzard of 1979.  I’ve never even considered sanding the rust of another car!

What was your first car?

Springtime Plumber

Since February we called the plumber three times to fix leaky pipes, faucets, and toilets. We are lucky to have a very competent plumber who works evenings and weekends and doesn’t charge extra.  He even likes our cats, who try to help him as much as they can.

Tell about heroic repair people you have known.  Tell about when repairs haven’t worked so well. 



Today’s post comes from tim.

I watched a lot of Turner classic movies over memorial day weekend about World War II issues

when my dad was alive I used to wonder how he could sit and watch all that army stuff and cowboy stuff and get amazes me how today I love the cowboy stop in the army stuff

simple storyline and the bottom line solution to the issue of how to deal with the challenge seems to be the reoccurring theme that is the attraction

I think today about how different the kids in high school are that they were when I was in high school and I remember my dad thinking how different the kids were in high school that they were when he was in high school also

Tom Brokaw wrote the book the greatest generation and I read and enjoyed it but didn’t fully appreciate the big picture

today’s 80 and 90 something are from the pre-television era when you had to find a way to amuse yourself and occupy your brain

what a person came up with was all you needed to know about that person
engineer brain, artist? go tinker with stuff in the workshop? read a book and write a book
the way a chosen lifestyle came into being was different dad that it is today.
or is it?

and it was pointed out to me once that baby boomers  like to talk on the phone,generation X likes to work by email and the youngsters today like to work by text

my dad’s dad used to get the car and drive over to someone’s house and sit and have coffee with them

My dad booked someone for lunch every day to enjoy conversation I’m talking about life.
those mornings breakfast groups at the coffee shop with the old codgers solving the problems of the world were his greatest joy as his world came to an end.

the greatest generation is almost gone . 5 more years will whittle em down 10 more will finish it

each group has its own style. clyde and steve and margeret are between the greatest and the boomers

boomers are of course the best then they are followed by xyz millennial and my youngest daughters group who will be here for 2020 as young adults

the world had interesting as part of the deal going back a while but now feels different

do they really not get it?
can’t they see my way is right?
if you do you only had 48 hours to live how would you wrap it up?
what is the set of priorities that’s important to you?

Another Spring Planting in the Books

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

It went pretty well; no serious mechanical issues and, once I finally got going, wasn’t delayed by the weather for more than a day or two.

I planted oats on May 6 and 7th. Then it rained for a few days but that’s OK because I was dealing with commencement at the college anyway.

Then I did anhydrous fertilizer on the 17th. Had college events the 18th and 19th. Started to plant corn on the 20th and finished on the 23rd. (Well, really the 24th, but the field I planted on the 24th is at the neighbors and it’s for the deer so it doesn’t really count).

Started soybeans on the 24th, did get rained out for a day and finished on the 28th. Now all that’s left is cleaning up machinery and putting it away until next spring.

There was the one incident with the valve on an anhydrous tank but it was pretty minor. Spilled really very little. No one was in danger and no property was harmed.

There were 3 fire trucks, our local ‘CAT’ (Chemical Assessment Team) the Incident Command Vehicle, two sheriff deputies, Gold Cross Ambulance, The “Incident Commander” and his car, a call to the State Department of Agriculture, another call to the state Duty Officer, a visit from the local anhydrous dealer, six fully clad firemen, and, a few days later, an inspector from the State Department of Agriculture.

Everyone was very nice and very professional and the firemen gave me a Gatorade when it was over.

But really. It was just a little vapor from a valve that hadn’t sealed.

And no breeze so I couldn’t manage to get ‘up wind’ and just enough leakage that I wasn’t comfortable trying to get back up there and try to tighten the valve myself.

I thought if I could just get 1 guy with a respirator, they could close the valve tighter. It wasn’t supposed to turn into a big deal.

But anhydrous is dangerous and can’t be taken lightly. Just today I talked with a guy whose brother got a burst of anhydrous and inhaled just a little. He’s got a couple small, minor burns (freeze burns) and was hospitalized for a couple days because of issues with his throat from inhaling that bit. He’s lucky too.

I pushed my luck a couple times this year. And I wasn’t even trying! But that’s a story for another day.

 Had any experience with the fire department?

New Horizons

On July 1,  my agency,  along with all the other State-run Human Service Centers and the State Hospital are switching to a new electronic record system. It is totally different than our current system, which we have had for about 15 years.  There is anxiety and uncertainty leading up to the start date, especially since many aspects of the system are still being developed. It will be a good change and will reduce some paperwork demands.

Change is hard, though, especially for people who pride themselves on doing things correctly the first time.  We have to accept we will do things wrong for a while until we master the system.  Some of my colleagues are panicking. Some are just resigned to the inevitable chaos. I just want it to start so we can get a new normal.

What changes are hard for you?  What have been some big changes in your life?



How Come I’m Getting This?

We are finally getting a new refrigerator. Turns out Excel Energy has a rebate for getting a new one, and will come and pick up our old one as long as it’s still operational. (We’ll see if it’s quieter than the one that I yell at.)

So in making our decision, I first went online to gauge how many cubic feet our Frigidaire is (18). The next day I noticed a refrigerator ad when I got on the internet. I don’t ordinarily pay ANY mind to what ads are there, but the fridge ones caught me, and I’ve started paying attention. Here are some examples of what shows up:

  • solar panels
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Hulu
  • John Deere
  • Walgreens Rewards
  • (refrig)
  • Sears (refrig)

and ironically enough, a box that says:

  • Click Here to Start Blocking Ads

And then of course there are the Suggested Posts on Facebook…

  • Viking River Cruises
  • a home safety equipment place with Grippers for bathtub
  • Toyota USA
  • etee (apparently an alternative to plastic wrap)

to name a few.

For some of them, I can imagine how they came to be part of my internet experience, but Lincoln Continental? Do any of you bloggers know the ins and outs of this?

What kind of ads show up on YOUR computer threads?

There Ought To Be A Law

In 1950, one out of every twenty people needed a license to engage in their profession or occupation.  Today, one out of every three people need  such a license.  Folks with a libertarian mind set see this as government overreach. They may be correct. Others see this as a natural result of the development of technology and/or the result of increasing instances of harm to the public by unscrupulous practitioners. They may be correct, too.

Regulation of any profession requiring a license is a balancing act. Regulatory boards are most often comprised of  of individuals who are active practitioners of the professions they regulate.  As a member of such a board, you have to balance the need to protect the public interest without restricting trade.  Sometimes boards fail at this. Recently, a Board of Dentistry in  a southern US state sent cease and desist letters to businesses in malls that were offering teeth whitening services.  The teeth whiteners protested, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court. The Court agreed with the teeth whiteners, and stated that the dentists were only concerned with profit for dentists, not with the public interest.  This has spurred an anti-regulatory movement, which complicates things for we who are really concerned with the public interest as well as with economic growth.

The problem with regulation is that no one wants it until they want it. If you recall, there were some hot air ballooning accidents last summer, and the immediate reaction was “Why weren’t these balloon companies regulated?!”  I attended a conference of regulatory boards for my own profession last week  I learned that, in Washington State, boxing announcers must be licensed.  That struck me as one of the funniest things I had heard in a long time. I have no idea  why that type of license is necessary. Government is the great equalizer, as 45 has yet to understand.  No one is above the law. The tension for regulation is uncomfortable, but necessary, in my opinion.

What laws would you pass if you could? What laws would you strike down? Why do you think boxing announcers need to be licensed?