LaserJet 6 Fix?

HP doesn’t want to hear about it, and “good as new” probably wouldn’t help much, but I was able to print ten sheets of manual feed paper in a row without jamming by sticking this bit of cardboard as shown, attached with Funtak.

And while I’m at it, when my printing looked like this — — at the top of the page, the very top of the header text is cut off — I went to the LJ6 in settings / printers, right-clicked, “properties”, “paper” tab, “Unprintable Area” button, and changed the “top” value from 83 to 250 like all the others, and all was well. That’s in Windows 98; in XP it seems to print OK — but different — and in any case there’s no comparable adjustment I could find.

— Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Bogus “Missing or Corrupt ... Ntfs.sys”

More completely, the error message was

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
System32/Drivers/Ntfs.sys

when a precious Averatec XP laptop got in a snit.

... But the message was bogus; it’s probably got nothing to do with your Ntfs.sys file, although the evil message continued by suggesting you waste hours getting out your original CDROMs and trying to replace the file — which, in my case and probably yours, would have been completely useless — and impossible in my case and probably yours, since I’m at least not insane and don’t install my XP from Microsoft distribution media but use the wipe CD or whatever that comes with the computer....

It was bogus because a Knoppix (Linux rescue) CD was also unable to boot from the CDROM — and it doesn’t use the hard drive....

It was bogus, because cooling the wretched laptop off with a fan for half an hour made it rebootable, both for XP and Knoppix, and nary a peep from the troublesome and seemingly omnipotent Ntfs.sys.... And when it failed subsequently, you could see both Knoppix and XT crashing — weird video artifacts, etc. ... Not, presumably, Ntfs.sys.

Public Service

I’m providing this selfless if probably invisible public service because I spent many happy hours googling for “missing corrupt ntfs.sys”, joining many puzzled pilgrims, many of whom referred to a Microsoft site where the giant helpful monopoly explains this might happen when you try to convert your FAT32 system to NTFS. ... But I’m not doing that, most of the people on the web weren’t doing that, and probably Ntfs.sys is just the first thing the wretched start-up code tries to load off the hard drive, which has already been screwed-up by some other imaginative failure of the computer hardware — apparently, in my pitiful experiments, involving heat.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:15 pm

Monday, August 6, 2012. A Windows 7 laptop died with a comparable error message in a blue screen. Different bogus file name. But that laptop will never compute again in our world of light. However its hard drive was easily removable and worked perfectly in one of those USB/SATA 2.5’’ boxes. But it’s nice to know Microsoft error messages are consistently bogus over so many years!


JGO4: A Windows Sound Card Oscilloscope I Stold

See, my Hammond Chord Organ scope went up and broke on me; it’s cowering under a table now, waiting for my tender ministrations which are not likely to be successful1. ... So I replaced it with my pocketscope, and all is serene and sweet. ... However, now my imaginary attic recording studio has no oscilloscope! ... How can I produce imaginary sweeping works of strangely-antique beautiful music without a scope to debug my perilously-weird recording equipment!?!?

... Of course for years, people have used the sound card inputs wasted on the typical PC for just this purpose. ... And some evil people wanted money for their efforts!! ... But Gary Darby not only provides free software, he has free Delphi source! ... So I gave him $20, and proceeded to mutilate his careful work, producing JGO4 which I in turn offer to you, today no charge!

If you need to do real oscilloscope work, as I have occasionally done in my real engineering-type endeavors, then you need a real oscilloscope. ... If you’re curious about some waveform you can manage to get on a miniplug and insert into your sound card — why then, this kind of program probably won’t make things much worse!...

Hostile Threat

As usual I warn you that ANYTHING you do with this software is YOUR FAULT, YOURS ALONE, and if an entire 12 miles around your humble apartment or other dwelling place is reduced to glowing ash — IT IS ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT. Mr. Darby has thoughtfully made this stuff available for free, and so I in turn, and so you are doomed!

— a thing of shreds and patches
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 7:26 pm

P.S. In my very brief survey of these things on the web, I should mention va.zip “Visual Analyser 8” which I found at http://www.hitsquad.com/ smm/programs/VA/ download/ and you might too. It doesn’t come with source, but it has many features and was by far the best of the 3 or four I found. ... Immediately-obvious wacko weirdnesses included inability to set both channels to same time base or scale input signal down (turn down volume). ... Still there are so many features!

A H/W Interface?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 11:06 am. Here’s what I concocted so I could connect to various otherwise-useless laptops (with Vista for instance) running JGO4. ... I’ve only tried it with signal generators, so heavens knows what it’s good for; perhaps I’ll find-out someday. ... The “?” switch cuts the signal in half, and the zeners supposedly protect the laptop from overvoltage but your computer will set itself on fire instantly — if not sooner! ... Also apparently laptop microphone inputs (they often don’t have line inputs) have odd DC voltages lingering about, intended to run your microphone, and this circuit does nothing for that except, hopefully, swamp them via low resistance. These laptop microphones are also monophonic, even ’though they appear to have stereo mini plugs; http://www.epanorama.net/links/pc_sound.html seemed to be useful about PC sound, but then his microphone circuit didn’t seem to correspond to mine. ... I hooked-up with a mini-stereo-two-RCA conversion cable, and I just pick the RCA plug that seemed to have results. ... Thus does science march forth!

This circuit also works (?) with desktop line inputs, and with both kinds is useful because of the volume control: the idea is there’s no calibration anyway (the PC oscilloscope can’t tell you what the voltage magnitude is), and I want a nice signal filling the display. ... However, the circuit deliberately throws-away signal; if you want to see a low-level signal on your PC scope (1.) don’t do that; PC’s are too noisy anyway; and (2.) this wretched concoction is definitely the wrong idea....


Notes

1. Actually in an amazing turn of events, I was able to fix my RCA WO-33A scope! ... I actually examined the schematic, figured-out why the power tube I replaced blew again — it made a loud “bang bang bang” noise — which reason was a totally shorted .5uF 1000 Volt enormous capacitor. Which I replaced with two paralleled .22uF 1000V Metal Polypro Digikey part # 495-3616-ND capacitors. This is probably the first time I have actually fixed one of these tube things with actual electronic-type knowledge — this triumph somewhat dimmed by the probability that I blew the capacitor in the first place because I didn’t turn the thing off with the intensity pot, like I’m supposed to, so that wacko voltages don’t appear on that capacitor. ... Of course we modern in-a-hurry-type technicians don’t have time for such fripperies.....
.... Shockingly, until today I forgot to link the manual/schematic for the wo-33a! It’s a “deja vue” file, the viewer for which can be found at http://windjview.sourceforge.net/ — and it’s not bad!

But while it was in the shop, I swapped the wo-33a with the pocketscope....


The Southern Station

Now I can at last end the endless whining and technical obsessions and ostentatiously turn instead to Florida, Land of Warmth — ’n’ Alligators. ... To leave behind the bitter Northeast, home of mysterious destructive hurricanes and achingly-cold global warming, and submerge my tired tattered soul into a paradise of palm trees and sublime idleness. ... And more hurricanes of course. ... And warmth. ... Like I told the temporary condo board, I’ve been trying to goof-off — but it’s too much work! ... And like I told the Long Island neighbor what some guy said on the web, I can’t wait for global warming; I want it now....

So on to the South, and here I chronicle the delights and simple joys of moving 10,000 technical tchotchkes in a giant truck and then, finally, at last, the glorious denouement of unending sloth. ... In living color....

Friday, May 3, 2013. I will throw nothing away before its time. So a lot of stuff gets thrown away but I am still awash in technical debris, approximately reflected in the endless chronicles on the rest of this web site. We will pay skilled operatives to pack the humdrum like antique data books; I am concerned only with the gadgetry / toys / priceless junk, its endless pitiful panoply and uselessness and obsolescence. ... Does Florida need a burglar alarm from our Bridge Street loft 40 years ago, with a picture of a roaring mouse? ... Of course it does....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013. I packed the photographs from our last move. 4x6’’ pieces of paper, with images of all the things in our hallways and rooms so I could find them again in the distant dangerous land a few miles west. A primitive forerunner of my super-electron autostitched iphone photos which I prepared this time. ... As far as I can remember, the photographs, and intricate box-numbering indexing schemes printed on an LX800 weren’t much help. I do remember vast menacing piles of boxes; I retain a lovely diagram of where the numbered boxes wound-up, the production of which involved a manual survey. Which I will doubtless re-enact any month now again (and which indeed came to pass @ 8/15/13).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013. About that goof-off/work thing: up to box 146 and counting....

Sunday, May 26, 2013. The eschatological situation is grim. The old is falling apart — I’m taking it apart, precious gadget by gadget — and the global warming has risen to bitter intensity for Memorial Day. ... Will my precious rooms of junk be recreated in a better, warmer, place? ... Faith is weak in a 50º spring....

Monday, May 27, 2013. In a while, we will attempt a rented van to the South — cherry-picking a few treasures, to make a pitiful dent in the looming horde. ... And I remembered in the anxious night it was my beloved who drove a larger truck to the frozen North so many years ago. I had no driver’s license then, Manhattan born and bred, and wouldn’t until years later when she finally beat me into it. ... So, still, at least one of us knows how to drive....

Saturday, June 1, 2013. Oh the ominous tragedy! — the light sabers, forged in the dark corridors of Walmart — failed. Cheap plastic junk fell to pieces as I was thrusting ’em into the picture box. The econuts keep assuring us this stuff is immortal but so far like most such claims it doesn’t seem to pan out. ... That’s the light sabers over on the right in this ridiculously-imaginary rendition of the weapons horde wall as it was and never will be again. ... But I’m sure they can be made anew, at least as long as the Star Wars movies keep coming out and Walmart’s in business, and the other weapons horde population seemed to do well. ... Not to mention at least two other plastic light sabers which I’m sure will step into the breach if needed.

Monday, June 3, 2013. My last move involved around 280 or so boxes. This looks likely to go to over 600. At last, firm scientific numbers on decades of junk accretion....

Thursday, June 13, 2013. I have driven many boxes through hurricane and torrential rains and established a beachhead at the temporary forward camp. The alligators dance....

Monday, June 17, 2013. The tchotchkes are swarming; I have entered the intensity zone; they are everywhere, memories follies things I cannot remember or understand. ... On the walls, mostly; above is an example. It’s part of our college-dorm-forever decorating scheme....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013. I will have “2 in one day” stitched on my belt! I managed to complete packing two entire rooms of tchotchkes without serious injury in a single day. ... Actually I just finished one in two days, and then another in the afternoon of the 2nd day, but it’s still a moving triumph!

Friday, June 21, 2013. I have reached a resting place. I have packed almost enough to be ahead and I breathe quietly, admiring the view of empty rooms filled with boxes. ... Then again, check out this suicidal ditty with its empty rooms, which I realized was probably composed on the occasion of a previous move. ... But nevermind; soon the alligators will dance again....

Sunday, June 23, 2013. A cruel moment: I must deconstruct my beloved Nord Imperium. But with a more-or-less certain hope for reconstruction in a better or at least warmer world....

Saturday, June 29, 2013. I have found joyful compensation in renewed attention to my beloved Hammond chord organ which the skilled operatives must move because I can’t. However I’ve packed all the music for it already, except a tattered “fake book” with numerous old tunes, and I have found a new interest in chord rune interpretation. The Hammond books only have chords that are on the organ; but when the fake book suggests “F7b9”, I pause and ponder: what’s that in real money? ... In the context, probably Cdim. I actually have a hard time translating even the Hammond chords to the buttons; I can play them with my hands easily enough, but that would be cheating and in any case sub-optimal with the chord organ....

Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Pitifully I comb the pages of Sound on Sound, prizing the technology titillation I am otherwise deprived-of, surrounded by featureless boxes. ... When oh when will I return to my tech cave? ... And where? ... But, as I tell myself, at least it’s warm in my northern cave of boxes. ... Perhaps a little too warm, but can that be bad?

Sunday, July 7, 2013. So in today’s heat wave, it’s cooler in Florida! ... 80°in Delray, 90° on Long Island! ... So we migrate to the land of alligators for the cool....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A roomba lurks in a Florida corner. ... No alligator attacks yet....

Friday, July 19, 2013. However we do seem to have come to a waterworld. It’s really quite lovely in a cinematic sort-of blade-runneresque way, the giant condo towers on the coast piercing the ever swirling mists and torrential downpour, the great swamp out there to the West providing its own poetic backdrop. ... Although apparently “Great Swamp” is the official designation of a lovely New Jersey tract in the central North. ... But then Google conceded there were several great swamps, and even several Everglades for that matter. ... But how many look so much like a nicer-but-wetter Philip K. Dick sci-fi movie?

Monday, July 22, 2013. The last great box convulsion approaches, with the giant truck. ... And then I get to unpack. ... I have lived with the cardboard of my last move for twenty years or more, converting boxes into handy trays and other ad-hoc materials through the wandering years — a serrated bread knife slices ’em up nice! — and now, apparently, on into the future....

Friday, July 26, 2013. The balloon is up! Even as I type, skilled operatives are at work, transforming wandering herds of antique tube testers and voltmeters into giant boxes....

Sunday, July 28, 2013. I will tell you about the “packing service” since no one else on the web will, including the mover. ... A crew of 3 or four came, they saw, they packed; as I foresaw, there were hundreds of boxes. They cooperated in my TLA scheme; I put up signs in every room designating the room’s TLA — “AFW” for “Attic Front Workroom” etc. — and these wound-up on the boxes. Partly because they have an admirable audit scheme to keep track of them anyway. ... The biggest problem we had was preventing them from packing things we wanted to keep out. ... And they needed no stinkin’ “staging area”. They just packed the boxes throughout the house, and now we slither between them in the short period Before the Truck. ... It was a well-executed, harrowing experience.

THE SUMMARY: NO REASSEMBLY W/LIBERTY UNITED

Monday, August 5, 2013. We have moved. ... And now, the long slow road to recovery. ... Handy hint: if you have inexpensive furniture that will require reassembly because the mover disassembled it — don’t. Throw it away and buy new stuff at the destination. At least if you’re using Liberty United Van Lines; nothing requiring reassembly was reassembled until we whined loudly, and much remains as random piles of disassembled debris. The Driver and several of his minions were better reassemblers than I would ever be in a million years — but I wouldn’t need that long, and The Driver could only take about an hour-and-a-half when in fact to do it adequately would’ve required at least another day. Which was entirely predictable although not to me in my pitiful stressed-out angst, inasmuch as it took his forces until dark to pack the stuff in the North. ... I’m not terribly irritated because the moving price, equivalent to several organs at least, dwarfs the cost of the cheap furniture. However it does not create that warm good-references feeling when four little tables appear in Florida as a pile of table tops, legs and other debris mixed together, at least one key part of which was mislaid somewhere in the chaos.

... And then again, as I wander through the debris, they failed to reassemble my beloved Yamaha electronic piano! Not cheap furniture. ... So, basically, just don’t use a packing service to disassemble anything, at least with Liberty United. ... So when I was so amused at The Driver disassembling my beloved metal-stick and burlap workbench with such ease, and told him he’d be great at Christmas — for assembling the children’s toys — he didn’t explain it was a disassembly-only deal, and I would probably throw the randomized assortment of useless parts away at the end of the road, as indeed I did, even as bits and pieces reappeared in boxes far far away, even the instructions, which still did not tell how to reverse the dance of Shiva the destroyer aka The Driver — but the usual term for these kind of representations is fraud. ... And here I thought it was just good ol’ mediocrity, but the passing months are revealing almost a moral discipline; through the endless unpacking I repeatedly have come upon random (proprietary) AC power cords and power supplies among other oddities brutally separated from their gadgets with an apparently serene indifference to their eventual rapprochement....

More faults:

  • Enormous heavy “dish barrels”. Stacked 2 high. ... Actually almost all the Liberty boxes were, on average, twice as heavy as my boxes. ... The idea I suppose is that we should’ve paid for an unpacking service, since normal human powers cannot move these things. And in fact such services are promoted at least by some movers, but not to us, either because Liberty United doesn’t do that and/or it would’ve been silly in my case with my junk, i.e. there is no obvious household destination for a ’30s set tester.

  • Badly-applied packing tape. The guys actually turned boxes upside-down so the totally-missing tape on the bottom wouldn’t impede the unloading process. I always thought this was a fault of amateurs, but apparently it’s carefully cultivated by the pros too!

  • The audit system which I was so naively impressed-by turned-out to be totally-dependent on the supernatural abilities of the client — us — i.e., useless. It’s really a Liberty United CYA thing; when the client whines about missing boxes, the vendor can say “you didn’t check the unloading right”. It isn’t of course likely or even possible for a human being to do that. ... We were provided with “bingo” cards, with numbers from 1 to 500, and we were supposed to check each number off as the boxes came in, the numbers supposedly shouted-out by the unloaders. This worked-out as well as might be expected, with about a 10% error rate. A serious system intended to accomplish the supposed goal would require bar code equipment at least. ... I concede it’d probably work better if I were moving 80 rather than five or 600 boxes; too bad we didn’t know that ahead of time....

THE MORAL: DIY

I guess the moral here is that, at least with Liberty United, the packing service is better than nothing, but probably any level of DIY would be preferable. After all, I probably couldn’t’ve moved all those boxes to Florida; but I could’ve packed them, given 2 to six additional months ... or years. ... But I didn’t want to; I wanted the shameful luxury of getting someone else to do it — and really, I didn’t have the time. ... Whatever, I am punished by groveling in the dark and heat of my Florida garage, re-arranging boxes and trying to get them organized somehow or other in my head; and on a computer; and then in my life. ... So if you want to move hundreds of boxes of junk, start packing a year or two early. I started 2/13 or later for an 8/13 move, which was much too late — to throw things away. ... The process of packing one’s treasures could be an ideal time to decide which of them should depart this vale of tears, but not if you’re in a hurry; then it’s the worst time because one makes too many unrecoverable mistakes, and I had brains-enough at least to realize that and just move everything. Much of which I plan to dispose-of here in the sunny land of alligators, essentially paying an unusually high dumping fee....

FAINT PRAISE

But at least the ancestral suit of armor showed-up OK. ... And ignoring packing inadequacies and total reassembly failure, in just moving things and packing the obvious Liberty United did a creditable job with a lot of boxes. ... Broken crockery so far is what we knew was likely, and as far as we can tell no box was left behind. Although at the last moment The Driver detected a hidden pile of junk in some culvert of the truck which included my beloved cordless lawn mower — which I managed to reassemble a few days later. ... But my Hammond Chord organ went a thousand miles and still plays. ... And I eventually reassembled the Yamaha; although I did find a remnant of my revered pre-abused Wurlitzer strewn randomly in the debris. ... But I protected my most precious junk from the Liberty United Shiva-like hordes by packing and moving it myself; I shudder to think how the disassembly/nonassembly would’ve gone with my Nord et al.

THE WEARY EONS

... And then as the weary eons pass and decay, I was doing some test borings out in the garage and discovered that even rudimentary packing practices were missed, and some boxes didn’t get enough packing paper — the ones on the bottom of the enormous pile caving in from the massive weight of the heavier ones cunningly stacked on top. ... But the best surprise, so far, was after it seemed the dust had cleared but for a few loose ends, which included an odd 5’ shelf that looked like somebody else’s furniture, with crude injuries on its unfinished side; perhaps something I had rescued from some-assembly-required junk in the streets — but how, then, did it get moved? (I managed, intentionally, to leave my substantial horde of such found junk behind.) ... The lonely shelf was packed with some odd little black pieces of wood — and then I realized! That was my shelf — disassembled! Ripped-apart with gay abandon! I laughed and laughed at the playful destruction of Liberty United! What jolly jests they played!

... But the hits keep coming. ... I was at last trying to open a little drawer on a faux antique wooden table thing we have — conceivably pre-war faux antique! — and the amazing skilled operatives had screwed the drawer in! ... For some reason one of them felt obliged to try and put the top back on, which they had torn apart in the destructive disassembly process, and so he screwed some 3’’ wallboard screws — presumably mine — from the bottom into the thing. If he’d just left them sticking out a little more so they’d clear the drawer a little additional bit, I might’ve never noticed....

... But they didn’t steal anything! ... In my anguish and rage I had dark suspicions but after months of careful tests and random chaos, not a thing. They wrecked stuff, but nothing missing. ... Then again I suppose we hardly had anything worth stealing, unless you’re an antique electronics addict....

... THE SECOND CAR AND THE LAST BOXES ...

But there is always an epilog. And we returned again to the North for the fall, and the last boxes, and the second car in which they waited. ... Then we got there, and we just fedexed the boxes so there’d be space in the car to buy more junk on the way back! ... But I had to turn on the heat at the motel; it was 53° out there. Time to go home to my 500 boxes, and the warmth....

THE MIDDLE OF THE JOURNEY ...

Sun 9/29/2013. My music room, future site of further Nordesque frolics, is clear, sort-of. A few still-unpacked boxes are intentional remnants, gadgets for which I haven’t, and may never have, tables/shelves. ... Checking my meticulous records, I get an early date of Wed 2/27/2013, which’d make it 214 days in the Great Move today. ... And only 300 or so boxes to go — the half-life of the 600 or so I started with!

THE LAST BOX.

Sunday, November 24, 2013. Well I guess it was a short half-life; yesterday my beloved helpmate unpacked the last Liberty Destructive Service box, marked “books” but filled as usual with a cornucopia of beloved junk, and now the only remaining unpacked boxes are ones I packed and described in excruciating detail, and won’t unpack until we get that fourth dimensional extra space or I take them to the curb. And we are done. ... Now back to resurrecting the organ....

— the cranky but warm-enough-at-last-I-hope programmer

P.S. Thursday, November 28, 2013 6:19 am. Global warming has followed me! It’s below 50º out there in my sunny paradise! According to my regiments of indoor/outdoor thermometers, acquired to ward-off Northern climate changes. ... And according to the actual outdoors, for which I had to seek out my foresightedly-retained box of sweat shirts....

Saturday, November 30, 2013. We finally moved the last few dawdling boxes from the intermediate base camp, and it is truly done at last ... 276 days of the Great Move. ... And to my considerable surprise, they have seasons in Florida! Who knew, with all the scurrilous Northeastern mockery? ... I must admit, without much thought I had been counting on hot-all-the-time, and our arrival in August was gratifying that way — but in the fall we’ve had 50º nights! Yikes! ... No ice storms however, so far. ... But we have had ...

The Duck

Wed 12/4/13 6:20? am. Googling for “Florida Stupid Ducks” got me the image of our new mascot, supposedly a “muscovy” duck, but currently, even as I scriven, residing in our immense entirely useless fireplace. Which, I hasten to add, is the normally chic adornment of the splendiferous owenlabs studio ... & duck reserve. ... And Lo! at this very moment, the duck has fallen, just about 6:30 am, with the usual vast enormous cranking noises which it has been regaling me since the night before last, from the flue into the fireplace proper, where a bowl of water and bits of bialy await, to tempt it into this very action. Now I can see and hear the poor shadowy creature in its prison of cardboard erected by our intrepid duck hunters, sipping its bits of water. When I approached with a flashlight, it made a vast frightening battering convulsion as it defended its stupid territory from the incursions of strange evil lights. ... And then a short while later, it shot its head out of the top of the cardboard, I shouted at it and it went back inside where it cowers silently hoping the predators will depart — but in that brief instant I thought it didn’t look like the muscovy duck, it looked like some green migratory creature. ... We await the duck hunters with their pillow cases and expertise....

Freedom

In the event, it was a muscovy duck, when the duck hunters let it loose from its dish barrel on our front yard into the free suburban skies, into which it flew with a frantic haste, startling an early morning pedestrian or two. ... But the creature that stuck its head out of the fireplace before was a fierce combative thing, no suburban wanderer, nor the freeloaders I shouted off my lawn a few weeks ago. Showing that sufficient fear engenders heroism. ... The muscovy were introduced to beautiful Florida as pets, presumably because their advanced stupidity made them so easy-going. And when the fireplace duck wasn’t preparing to fight for its stupid life, it was quiet in its dark cardboard prison, awaiting a chance of escape when the giant mammals chattering around it shut-up and it could sneak away. ... And it occurred to me that even a duck in the fireplace craves society; giant mammals or no, it made less frenzied noise after the duck hunters opened the flue, so it was no longer obviously imprisoned in a metal tube. ... That was the day before it fell into the fireplace proper....

So alligator attacks are out; The Duck is in. ... If I could just get them together! Hard on the duck of course....

The Girl

... Wed 12/11/13 8:40 am. So the duck in the fireplace was a girl duck, who don’t have the facial wattles of the glorious males. Of course; as my beloved opined, she was just trying out the chimney as a typical tree-like nesting place. I realized this as I chased one of these creatures off my lawn this morning, finally so energetically it burst into flight — which takes a lot of chasing with the local muscovy idlerati — and noticed she had not the male uglification. ... I live in trembling fear that she was the chimney duck, so enamored of her experience she wants to come and live with us and help us understand Florida better. ... And that was why the fireplace duck looked so fierce, poking its head out that morning; she was a girl. ... And, I finally realized, probably a pregnant girl....

Duck Redux

It is just as I feared; the creature has returned with reinforcements, to a ridiculously vulnerable place on the front lawn within striking distance of the fireplace. My beloved assures me they won’t proliferate in swarms and batter against our chimney, but I am hoping for the lizards — or that gila monster I saw crossing the road the other day. Or perhaps an alligator will make a special visit in the night. ... But maybe the duck’s stupidity is smart. Perhaps she takes advantage of her craven welfare-seeking tolerance of human beings and nests at the street side of the garage, where people and cars scare away many of the predators who would eat her eggs. ... Nothing inhibits the lizards, but I doubt they’ll get far with her....

Well sadly it turned-out the strategy was just stupid: duck 0, racoon (?) 6 or seven eggs scattered in pieces across the lawn. I am torn in my loyalties; on the one hand I’m glad she’s been discouraged in an emphatic way, and perhaps she is less likely to seek our chimney or garage for future muscovy frolics, and we don’t get to see her shepherding her flock around the swimming pool. On the other hand, I was kinda looking forward to the latter, no matter how annoying. ... But such is the decree of nature with its “unseasonal” global warming, which brought temperatures down to 50° (!!!) and our space heaters in from the garage, and may have spurred a wily predator to unusual efforts.

... And then, in my increasing familiarity with the muscovy welfare class — I caught one of them furiously shaking itself off after it got caught in the rain in a Publix parking lot, so devoted to idleness are they — I realized the wastrels I’ve been abusing are the male muscovy, all with the astonishingly-ugly red wattle! ... The females, I assume, do the hard work out in the swamp to the West. ... Except of course for our delusional welcoming committee....

Not Muscovy

And in the turning seasons a year later, slightly more respectable ducks showed-up, and did not stay to settle-down, and begged no welfare. However they seemed to amuse themselves for a while in the morning.

... Florida Tips ’n’ Tricks ...

The Flowers: The state is shockingly deficient in lurid flowering vegetation (probably because of the cold), but Michael’s Crafts has an excellent selection, artisanally fabricated of the finest plastics and immortal chemicals, which I deployed with gratifying effect in some derelict pots in the front. ... As the glorious days passed, it became apparent the pots weren’t all that derelict, and invasive living plants are attacking my beautiful plastics! ... Actually some of the plants aren’t too shabby and really are almost as good as the fakes, except no living lurid flowers, just sort-of subtropical house plants. The weeds I’m driving out with ferocity....

And then I found a lizard frozen onto one of the plastic leaves! The pitiful little thing must’ve had some strange attraction and obscure chemical action glued him to the treacherous imitation plant, and he died. The lizards, like the millipedes, are careless of life, and are regularly dying in and out of the house. Of course the lizards are cute, and the millipedes loathsome. ... It took a bolt cutter to remove the errant leaf+lizard — those Michaels Crafts flowers are tough....

The Cold: People who move here will sometimes whine about all that closet space wasted with those warm coats they foolishly brought down ha ha, in relentless promotion of the ideal of always-warm Florida. ... I haven’t quite gotten the down coats out, but I am very glad I have warm things for the winter morning’s 60°-or-worse weather — 42° one morning! ... Actually I didn’t even realize the house had heat — which apparently most Florida houses do, and for which I am deeply grateful. ... Still, it’s marvelous fun to go on about how we hardly ever turn-on the heat, which is certainly true enough — but it’s only fun if you have heat, which we didn’t when it was 50° one tragic morning (11/2/14) and I found out my newly-installed central ac/heat didn’t heat. ... Once more, like my pitiful ethernet failure in executive oversight, I didn’t make the guy test the heat, demonstrating once again the cosmic validity of Owen’s Second Rule. ... Even in paradise....

The Power: Like other power companies, at least away from the all-important urban centers, Florida Flicker & Flash likes to pull the plug randomly when it feels like it at times nobody’ll notice like 6 am Sunday. So pay no attention to those outages; they’ll be back on within 15 minutes or a few hours after they’ve rearranged the extension cords and had a few cups of coffee, and denied everything....

The Air Conditioning: With my extensive Florida experience, I can offer this handy factoid: there are two seasons in Florida, the inadequate air conditioning season and of course the adequate. The latter lasts from around October to March (depending on Republican climate change conditions). ... During the adequate season, setting one’s air conditioner thermostat will also set the house temperature, at least in the vicinity of the thermostat. Until it gets too cold. ... By contrast, during the inadequate season, at around 7 am the a/c should be set to a perilously low value like 72º in order to keep the beloved Florida dwelling somewhere not too much above 80° in the anvil-of-the-sun afternoons — and return to a reasonable setting of 78° or 77° around 9 pm — that is, run the thing full tilt whenever the sun shines. Obviously a programmable thermostat aids in this strategy, but once set-up, it works OK, although a warm shirt is sometimes necessary in the artificially-cold mornings — adding variety to the indoor climate at least, what Northerners so whine-about the lack-of. ... And I will see if adding a 14,000 BTU (~1.1 ton) Whynter “portable” a/c to the bedroom improves things; so far @ 9/16 it seems to do the job without the morning super-cooling, although I do super-cool the bedroom. And then again, I may just be getting used to 80° afternoons. And it’s entirely possible some stuffy folks wouldn’t appreciate having a floor a/c with giant tubes running to the window; although it goes in/out pretty easy when we batten down the hatches for snowbird travels — i.e. as opposed to giant heavy window air conditioners. .... None of the foregoing, of course, applies to opulent folk who actually bought all-year adequate air conditioning.

6/17: The Whynter has definitely perked things up; it’s kept the bedroom more than cool-enough, although there can always come a new day of astonishing incandescent heat in which it will cower. But so far, not yet....

The “Sog”: A peculiar-to-florida I think weather condition where it rains for about 15 years approximately. Not a sky-splitting deluge, but weeks of drizzle unending. Presumably caused by Republican Climate Change, not signing the Kyoto Accords. Or Paris? ... But at least it’s not cold....


The Door

In the frozen North, I had a picture I called “the door into summer” =>; an unremarkable image of what it looked like through my front door in the summer. I would pitifully worship it through the ice storms of Republican climate change.

In my beloved Florida, I have walked through that door. Except for the occasional chilly winter moments ... lest I forget, I suppose. ... But I have no regrets.

... A kindly neighbor relayed an internet story: On groundhog day, a palm tree sees its shadow — so there will be 12 months more of summer....

— the warm-enough-at-last programmer
4/16