Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And the winner is...


Got a phone call about an hour ago advising me I was this week's winner of Dave's Rainy Day Giveaway. Prize: $1000.00. Not bad at all. My biggest cash prize to date and a dream come true, actually, as now I can finally pay off my credit card bill that I've been having such a hard time with.

I've been entering this drawing for at least a few weeks over at Hypersweep.com and was somewhat confused when I received an e-mail this morning- the last day of the drawing. The e-mail was supposedly from the folks at the drawing asking me to call them regarding my entry at "the earliest possible convenience". Rather odd, as I've never had folks running a drawing have me call them to claim a prize. They normally call you. I figured it was probably a sales pitch for something so was thinking of blowing it off.

Then, about an hour after that, I get a call and it's the same guy that sent me the earlier e-mail. He told me I was one of five finalists in the drawing and he had to ask some questions to make sure I was eligible for the prize. After the questions he says he was lying and that I was the winner but he wanted to make sure I was eligible first. Cool!

So he sent me an affadavit that most sweeps make you fill out when you win and a W9 IRS form. I had some problems figuring out how to open and print both forms as I don't have MS Word on this computer any more, but I finally got that done.

I'll fax both of them back after getting the affadavit notarized. That assumes I can figure out how to do that using my newly installed MS Fax program. It's a bit odd compared to my old Mighty Fax.

If this all works out, by the end of the month I won't have a credit card balance anymore.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rain Again!

Pretty neat, since I've always wished it would rain in the summer here. Looks like rain just offshore as I write this at 4pm. Forecast is for maybe an inch of rain between tonight and tomorrow.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Eureka's Safer Streets

I've gotten a bit frustrated with those saying Eureka's west side is so much safer since Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen took over. If nothing else, I've never seen how one person- be it a district attorney or police chief- can really do much in regards crime.

I'd say crime is about the same in my neighborhood as it's always been. You don't get victimized all the time, but it does happen and we've had things stolen from us off and on for years. I got ripped off yesterday right in broad daylight.

Sometime between 1 and 4pm, alongside busy E Street, someone stole a string trimmer from the back of my truck. They not only took that one but the one I had laying along the ivy next to the driveway hoping someone would steal. It wasn't working and I was tired of putting money into it so I lay it outside hoping someone would take it. They did, but they also grabbed the one I use for work I had laying in the back of my truck.

As I've already mentioned, such things have happened before so it wasn't any great shock. I don't blame Chief Nielsen for it, either.

I decided to call Eureka P.D. to at least report the working trimmer stolen so it could be listed as stolen property. Making that call was interesting in some ways.

I wanted to call their business number and had a bit of difficulty finding the number at first. I found it odd that the City of Eureka doesn't have the Police Department's listing in the phone book highlighted in bold print. I have a hard time reading the small print on the phone book so bold helps me see things. The Fire Department and Public Works is in bold, among a handful of other agencies, but not the P.D. Hmmm??? Probably just an oversight.

When I finally found the business number and made the call, I listened to the automated recording. It gave a few numbers for different purposes and finally told me to stay on the line if the numbers they gave earlier didn't apply to my case. After all was said the recording told me to call back the next day as it was after business hours. Ooops! Didn't realize it was that late in the day. It was well after 5pm.

In closing the recording said that due to "intentional misuse" of their message machine, callers are no longer allowed to leave messages regarding business with the department. Wonder what that was all about?

Anyway, I'll call them now and just give them the stolen trimmer's description and serial number but the odds are I'll never see it again. The main thing that pisses me off is having to buy a new one but at least they didn't get my more expensive trimmer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Has anybody seen any honeybees around here lately? For the life of me I can't remember seeing even one in at least the last month or two.

What got me to thinking about it was my one zucchini plant doesn't have any fruit yet. By now they should have some. I was wondering why and then wondered if maybe there weren't bees around to pollinate them? I haven't seen any, so far, and Connie doesn't recall seeing any, either.

Anyone else?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Think Of What You Could Do...

with the money.

Just noticed this Cost of War website that shows Humboldt County taxpayers paying around $376,546,551 to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. Arcata is the only local city listed. They spent around $35,415,004 of that.

No mention of how much we've spent on our attack on Libya.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Winco CEO In Town

Their big boss is here.

I was walking towards Winco's deli section about an hour ago and noticed an well dressed older guy speaking with one of the Winco employees. I guess it caught my eye because the guy seemed better dressed than most up here. I went about my business.

As I was walking by the beer section I saw yet another well dressed guy speaking with another Winco employee. Their clothes seemed awfully similar- colorwise, anyway. I figured something must be up in the store so made a point of getting a closer look and noticed the guy had an name tag on his coat pocket. I took a close look at it.

Yep, he was a Winco employee and the label identified him as the President/CEO of Winco. Wow! The boss of all those stores.

He noticed me passing by looking at him and greeted me with "Hi". The he seemed to go out of his way a bit and asked how I was doing. He seemed quite engaging. He caught me by surprise with that and I just muttered I was doing fine and scurried off.

Shame. He seemed generally interested in meeting some of the customers and I might have enjoyed chatting with him. Nice guy.

If I'd have anything in particular to bring up I suppose it would be if they'd thought of redesigning the entrance and exits so you could enter and exit through either side of the store as you can with Safeway. I guess I blew my chance.

Balko On Crime Rates

Radley Balko has an interesting piece in Reason magazine on the decline in crime rates across the nation. Rather timely, I would think, as a number of people over at the Humboldt Herald and elsewhere seem to be giving Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen credit for supposed decreases in crime on Eureka's west side.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Eureka Garbage Rates Increasing?

Gee. Who' a thunk? Looks like the Eureka City Council will be discussing raising garbage pick up rates by July 1 (bold letters mine for emphasis):

"The council is also slated to consider approving a rate increase for the city's garbage collection. If approved, rates would increase by 2.26 percent for all customers beginning July 1 -- the equivalent of about 53 cents a month for the average residential customer and $3.24 per commercial customer. Then, when the commercial recycling component of the city's garbage and recycling ordinance goes into effect, rates would increase another 6.6 percent, bringing the total average monthly increase to $2.08 per residential and $12.66 per commercial customer. "

I wrote here earlier about City Garbage increasing rates around 25% the year before garbage pick up was forced on Eureka city residents and here we go again. I also wrote earlier that I though local garbage service was a bargain at the time, until talk started of forcing it on everyone. The biggest concern for most people is that, should they eventually decide they can't afford garbage pick- up, they won't have a choice but to pay for it.

Told ya so.
I was also surprised to read in that news article (towards the bottom) that some gal was struck by a Highway Patrol vehicle on Rudy Street (Where's that?) in Eureka. First I'd heard of it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blogger Certification Post

I was just bugging our next door neighbors, the Strubs, about not promptly posting about their latest dumb home renovation project. I threatened to pull their blogger's license for not posting often enough if. Julie agreed to post something real soon to keep her blogging credentials updated.

Then I realized I haven't been posting very often myself. I have a good reason, though, since just about everything that can be said about politics has already been said. Still, what's good for the goose is good for the gander and I shouldn't be insisting others step up their blogging pace if I'm guilty of slow blogging myself. So, this post is just for keeping my blogging credentials updated. I sure don't want anyone telling me I'm cluttering up cyberspace with a dead blog.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Electric Cars vs. Carbon Dioxide

I'm not one who thinks that carbon dioxide is pollution but, for those of you that do, here's an interesting piece about electric cars and how much carbon dioxide they produce versus save.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Barely Online...For Now

Having some major computer problems so unsure how long I'll be online. Might have to take this machine into the shop again.

Had a major tangle with the rootkit.tdss virus. For those that don't know, rootkit is a pretty nasty one that can hide itself from anti- virus software. To make a long story short, despite my days long effort to battle it, I finally threw up my hands in surrender. The final straw was when it shut down the use of all my browsers and I couldn't access the internet.

So, I took it in to the shop to get the hard drive reformatted. I tried to reformat myself but the boot disc wouldn't work. The tech guy told me later something was wrong with it.

Got the computer back on Saturday and was excited I had just about a new computer, albeit with all the restoration hassles. It seemed like it was running great, though. First thing I had to do was hook up my DSL connection again. All seemed to go well, until I finished that process and neither Firefox or Explorer would connect to the internet despite all signs being my connection was good.

About the same time, just after I set up the DSL connection, I turned on the laptop and it couldn't connect with the browsers, either. Now I'm totally screwed except I managed to get a very slow dial- up connection going that seems like it's running about 8k.

Going back into the shop this morning as soon as they open and ask for advice. I'm figuring it's likely the reformat didn't clear the virus off this computer completely. Either that or it's a problem with Sbcglobal DSL- my first suspicion- but that would be odd as all diagnostic indications are my DSL is connected.

Tried AT&T phone support yesterday. They had one of those automated voice menu things that guide you through the diagnostic process. Its conclusion was I had a bad connection and that one or more of my data cables isn't connected right. I don't think so!

We'll see what the tech guys say. Suggestions are welcome although I don't know how much longer I'll have this computer available to view them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beware The Skimmers

This Santa Rosa Press- Democrat story gives good reason not to use a debit card to buy gasoline. Credit cards have some added protections debit cards don't have.

In this case some bad guys installed information skimmers inside gas pumps and surreptitiously recorded the credit card information as customers bought gas. I found that rather scary as I'd only heard of skimmers being placed on the outside of gas pumps (and ATMs). With a scam like this you'd be unlikely to know anything was wrong until you saw the charges show up on your account.

This made me realize using a restricted card for gas purchases, like the Renner Petroleum card I use, is a much better idea than using a Visa or Mastercard as they can only use my card at other Renner cardlock sites.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

California 3rd Worst In Freedom

Laer Pearce from Cal Watchdog comments on a recent Mercatus Center study that shows California the 3rd worst state, overall, in regards personal freedoms. We beat New York and New Jersey. No surprise to me and I'm not surprised that it's expected to get worse.

Pearce is working on a book where he'll make the case that everything wrong in the country right now started in California. Again, I'll agree without even having read the book. Let's hope his book becomes a best seller.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Another Ethanol Problem

I recently posted about Renner Petroleum selling "Pure gasonline", the reason having to do with problems ethanol causes with engines. Just found out about another ethanol related problem.

just announced a recall on some of their equipment because of a gas cap problem. I received my notice in the mail today. It seems that ethanol, among other things, affects the components of the cap making it difficult to install or remove.


My heavy duty Stihl string trimmer was fine for a few years but a few months ago it became a major hassle trying to open the fuel cap, and especially difficult to close it. I was thinking I'd have to take it in and buy a new cap but now, with the recall, they'll replace it free. Cool! Problem solved.

Makes me wonder how many more ethanol related problems will come to light?

What Is Your Emergency?

LinkThe Times- Standard reports 9-1-1 operators are seeing increases in non- emergency type calls. Those of you making those calls, stop doing that, although I suppose I've been guilty of doing the same thing.

I can think of at least once I probably should have not bothered calling. I called in to report some guy riding his skateboard out in the middle of E Street during the 4 to 5pm rush hour. The dispatcher sounded a bit annoyed by my call. No one ever showed up to check it out.

But I have to wonder just what the 9-1-1 operators are supposed to handle sometimes? I can't for the life of me remember the issue but I know I didn't think it was an emergency as I spent considerable time trying to find the Eureka P.D. business number in the phone book. It takes time for me to do that as the print is so small it's hard for me to read.

I finally find the number and make the call. After describing the issue to the gal at the other end, she patches me through to the 9-1-1 operator. Hmmm???

Monday, June 06, 2011

Anti- Malware Software Plug

Just thought I'd plug this Malwarebytes Anti- Malware program I've been using the last few days. While it says "malware", it seems to detect and eliminate the conventional viruses as well. I can't be sure but I'm wondering if it even works better than the Zonealarms anti- virus and firewall I've been using for some time.

I ran into a nasty and persistent virus problem a few days ago and stumbled on to MWAW while trying to get rid of it. Doing some research I found a number of people recommending MWAW as a way to remove the virus that Zonealarms could detect but supposedly not remove.

To make a long story short, it does seem to have helped more than Zonealarms but I'm not sure I've gotten completely rid of the virus yet. MWAW does seem to keep things under control a bit more, though, and it just detected a trojan a few minutes ago that Zonealarms seemed to have missed.

You can use the free version of MWAW, or pay for the registered version. I'm using the free two week trial of the full version now and think I'll be paying for it, eventually. I say eventually because at this point I think I'm going to reformat my hard drive if for no other reason than the virus disabled Windows Automatic Updates and I've been unable to restore them. Reformatting seems the best option at this point.

Give it a try. Get it up and running and do a deep scan of your hard drive. You may be surprised at what it finds.Link

Saturday, June 04, 2011

You Guys Suck!

Rather bizarre My Word column in today's Times- Standard, isn't it? No specifics, but the guy says he's running, rather than walking, as he leaves Humboldt County. Something about what jerks we are but he doesn't say why.

I have no way of proving it but I suspect he's one of those types that doesn't have much good to say about anyone and likely has problems with people everywhere he goes. If that be the case, I say good riddance.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Renner Offers "Pure Gas"

Just noticed the Renner Petroleum web page mentions they have "pure gas" available. The reason being their regular gas has ethanol in it which isn't the best for small engines. They list a few problems with using ethanol on the web page. I'll have to keep that in mind next time I'm buying equipment fuel.

I wonder if anyone else up here offers pure gas?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

California's Own Tornadoes

I vaguely remember hearing about these recent tornadoes. I'm surprised there wasn't more news coverage. Here's a damage assessment via the Sacramento Bee. Not real big tornadoes, as far as force goes, but still messed some stuff up.