Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Whereabouts and Activities 9/28/2010

Spending time on the couch this week, but working for my first client in my new consulting business. I'm doing data hygiene work, de-duplicating some of their records, and making minor changes to the Access 2007 application I wrote for them earlier. This is a good client, doing good work, they recruit teachers for charter schools.

I remain happy and amazed at how fast I can make database apps using MS Access. I'm using 2007 and it rocks.  And it all ties into SQL Server, a big deal. At least I'm not working for SatanCo. All good this week.so far.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Whereabouts for Now

I'm no longer the database guy for QCI, so I have time on my hands. I'm starting up my consulting business, poaching the last salmon, and looking for what to do next.

First thing is start up my business. All you sympathetic people reading my blog, please send me your Access/SQL Server consulting business that you can't do/don't want. Thanks.

What I'm up to:

I am refactoring my blog.

I'll watch a little football on Sunday. The Ravens look strong.

We might take in a movie on Monday.

In the spirit of my childhood friend David Churbuck's blog, who also recently gave up his job working for Lenovo, I thought it would be good to post my whereabouts in case any of you need to find me to point me at a job or a potential client.

David's whereabouts looked like this back in the day: http://www.churbuck.com/wordpress/2010/04/whereabouts-4-18-4-25/
Churbuck is a good writer and an interesting person, so you might enjoy reading his blog.

My whereabouts this week are these:

Saturday: I'll be on the couch. Later I'll travel to the grocery store for food. I'll be off the couch cooking dinner in the early evening.

Sunday. Bed. Then the couch. Depending on whether I made lentil soup or a one-off meal on Saturday, I may need to shop for groceries, or not. So begins the complexity and choices in my new life.

Monday: Travel seven miles to the cell phone store to modify my plan, because my provider's website is too weak to allow my changes.

Monday afternoon: RTC (return to couch).

Rinse. Repeat. But keep looking for consulting work, relentlessly. Work I can do on the couch.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why Guns?

Anyone who reads this blog or my Facebook posts knows I am a left wing guy. But I'm also a left wing guy with a lot of weapons. What's up with that?

There are politicians on the left who would restrict my right to own weapons - so-called "assault" weapons, and pistols. Never mind explosives, claymores, det cord, edged weapons, on and on. I think the issue is more about what one intends to do with one's weapons, rather than what the weapon is.

I own firearms and other weapons because they are cheap insurance. I don't care too much about constitutional arguments on this issue. To me, it's a pragmatic argument. I want the right to own firearms, and I want law-abiding citizens to own them.

Suppose some people invade my home. They will likely fail to kill me and my family, because they will be shot as soon as they break in if they have weapons and approach within 21 feet. Other terrible fates might befall them if we don't shoot them. Yeah, they might shoot us first, but I think we'll win on the defense with our plan.  If we are asleep, they'll be shot a little less quickly, as soon as we wake up from the racket. We keep our tactical weapons close at hand and deployable in seconds. It's easy to do this. Unexpectedly to me,  the most likely event is that no one get's hurt. Home invaders almost always just flee once they realize they have happened on to dangerous target.

So it's just defense of life and limb for me. On the other side, here's why we ought not own firearms in the United States:


Tea party idiocy.
It's a conundrum.

I swore an oath to defend the constitution when I joined the military. I took it seriously. Now, people running for the Senate are advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government.

Whats up with that?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Auto Biography - Biggus Vicus

With the new nut covers
Another installment in the Auto Biography series of vehicles I've owned. This one is my Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptor.

My friend Doug Lucy said it was 
"sphincter tightening" when I followed him 
in the P71
 I bought this car to do two things. First, I needed to civilize my 100 miles round-trip daily commute. It was just too noisy in the Miata, and noise is just too tiring. Second, cars should be either tiny or huge. A Miata, BMW 2002, Alpha Romeo GT Jr., or an MG Midget, all examples of great tiny to small vehicles, but great large vehicles are rarer.

A 7 series BMW would be grand, but for a great inexpensive highway mile consuming car, it's hard to beat a  Crown Vic. And a P71 Police Interceptor is the best Crown Vic you can get.  You can't buy a new one, but you can get a used one. I was lucky to find a 98 with a little over 50K miles.

So, why is a P71 so great? It's got stiff cop suspension, so you can flog it along on a twisty road. External oil, power steering fluid, and transmission coolers. Better, cop differential. High output cop alternator to drive all the lights and computers and stuff. You can disable opening the rear doors from inside to keep your kids from escaping. It's not got great 0-60 acceleration, but 60-130 acceleration is pretty sporty and thrilling. And it will go 130 mph without a complaint.

Kim in the P71 in Gettysburg
Downside is completely numb recirculating ball steering, which makes that flogging it through the twisty bits a bit nerve racking. This is no Miata carving up the canyon roads.

The calming effect the car has on other drivers who might otherwise drive like assholes is remarkable, and something I didn't anticipate when I got the car.  Drivers quail a bit when you come barreling along in a P71. You go blasting down the highway, and people move out of the left lane to let you go by, and generally try to drive like the traffic law abiding citizens that they aren't. You don't get cut off. You don't get tailgated. People use their turn signals. They don't use their horns.

Next to my 89 Vanagon
Last, you cannot get a speeding ticket in this car. Other cops recognize a P71 on sight and at a distance. I have blown past speed traps at high speed many, many times in this car receiving nothing more than a friendly wave from the cop with the radar gun.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Auto Biography - 70 VW Beetle

No need to post a picture of this ride.

The VW Beetle is a brilliant exercise is simplicity and function. Volkswagon means "people's car" in german, and that's what the bug is - affordable, reliable transportation for the working people.

John Muir published a great book about keeping your VW's mechanicals working, which I bought. I learned how to adjust the valves and change the oil once a month. If you do that for your air-cooled VW it will run for a long time, which mine did.

Being far too old and dignified now to lay on the ground, I will not have another air cooled VW that I maintain. But if a Schwimmwagon  (also a VW) shows up, I might buy it. I know I want one. You should want one too.