Coping: Friday at the WoWW–Shoes

Here’s one of our reader reports from the World of Woo-Woo which you might want to noodle on:

Hi George,

Got one that has my family perplexed.

Couple Sundays ago, June 1st, we had some friends over for a BBQ; Hoss and his lady-friend.

Spent a nice afternoon, into the early evening with them, had some beers and wine.

The next day went to get ready for work, couldn’t find my “good” running shoes, NB brand.

I have two pairs of running shoes, the oldest pair for gardening and the newest for casual, going to work, running errands.

When I buy new running shoes, always NB, then my casual shoes become my gardening shoes and I toss the oldest pair out. So I only ever have two pairs of “my” running shoes at any one time.

So, couldn’t find my casual runners, but there was a slightly used pair of NB runners near where I keep my shoes. They looked almost like mine, but are not. Same size, just not mine. I haven’t bought a new pair for about a year, so I know mine to see them, even know that there is a small burn on the right shoe near the top from one of last year’s bon fires.

The shoes that looked like mine, but were not mine do not have this burn, and are somehow slightly different.

Contacted my friend Hoss, thought he may have unintentionally put mine on when they left and these shoes must be his.

He stopped by after work a couple days later, showed me the shoes he wore home, and they were not mine. They are his shoes. So where are mine, and who’s shoes are the ones left in our garage?

They are my size, even to the double E that I buy because of foot surgery years back when they fused my big toe because of arthritis. But they are not mine and look as we did, I mean everywhere, entire basement, main floor, outside deck and yard.

Who switched my shoes for almost exact duplicates?

Couple of weeks before, lost my John Deere riding lawn mower key. Looked all around for it, my wife also. Have a spare, so mowed the lawn. Looked again and cleaned up around the garage while looking. Could not find it. The next time I go to mow the lawn, notice the missing key on the floor just under where we hang the lawn mower keys in the garage. Didn’t see it there before when we were looking, but there it was.

Tell my wife we either built our house on some old indian burial ground or we have a sprite or something that shows up every now and again. Have had other things go missing over time in the house, but this is the first notice of something going on in the garage. Last night my youngest daughter, 18 woke up around 3 in the morning, went out to the garage because she said she thought she heard someone talking, maybe the radio left on. She saw, heard nothing after she opened the garage door. Garage is attached to house, not a separate building. I don’t know but think we have some strange things happening with more frequency now. Maybe drawing near the Summer solstice or full moon tonight.

Have a good Friday the 13th…

Gosh, I hate to bring this up, but does your wife happen to have a taste for men wearing…er… New Balance size XXX E-width shoes? 

Another suspect (hate to be the bearer of bad news here) might be Hoss.  Is his lady friend as cute as…?

OK, maybe it IS a woo-woo case, but on this one, the Sherlock in  me screams there’s likely other game afoot.  Remember, Stir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote that whole series of Sherlock adventures without resorting to alternate universes…

A modern Doyle would be checking cell phone logs, browser histories, and emails…not to be paranoid, but we’re looking out for you, buddy.

Oh, as the 18 YO if she had snuck a BF over when no one was home and maybe he hightailed it out the back when the grown-ups came home…

Come to think of it, since you’ve been married long enough to have an 18-YO, your relationship- with the wife is likely cool.  I’d move the daughter up to #1 suspect position, although similar investigative technique would apply.  And maybe a drug test…

Sergeant Preppers: What to Program in that Radio

We were talking earlier this week about those  Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band Transceiver (Black) radios which are so neat for prepping.  Now comes an email from a fellow extra class ham radio buddy, who has some ideas about what to program into the little beasties:

I got a couple of the Baofeng UV-5RE+ handle talkies. I don’t know how they do it. Under $35 from Amazon. Great little radio. Excellent audio!

For preppers, I suggest the following setup — all specific frequencies can be found readily on Wikipedia:

First, the “Family Radio” channels. By starting with FRS channel one on radio memory channel one, the rest of the 22 channels won’t need any brain-based interpretation — and most all preppers have some FRS radios, so your numbers will match theirs.

Second, put in the “Multiple Use Radio Service,” including the two nearby “color dot” frequencies, bringing the total to seven channels.Lots of preppers use these along with some local businesses.

Third, put in the rest of the full collection of 150 mHz and 460 mHz“color dot” channels. These are among the most common and most abused channels in existence, but lots of businesses like construction companies for example use them.

Fourth, put in the “Marine VHF” frequencies. These are not to be used or abused unless you’re on the water, or engaged in boating operations. Right. Use only the channels called “Non-Commercial.”There aren’t all that many.

Fifth, put in your nearby ham radio repeater and simplex frequencies,including the so-called “splinter,” or close-spaced simplex channels.Even if you don’t have a ham radio license, you can still listen, and in a really large or long-term emergency, listing to hams will give you much solid and reliable information. Don’t try to spoof the hams in pretending to be one of them. They’ll spot you very quickly as a “bootlegger.” Getting a license is easy. Do it now while the sun is shining. Any local ham club can and will happily connect you.

Sixth, put in all your most local police and fire department frequencies.Don’t put in too many, or you’ll be overwhelmed by trying to sip water from a fire hose. WARNING! Don’t EVER transmit on any of these channels. PDs and FDs get crazy insane angry about this — and they are entitled. DON’T screw around with these. Software allows you to inhibit the transmitter on these (or any) channels. Use this feature to prevent accidents. With all these numbers, it’s easy to get confused and break a major FCC No-No.

Do not try to “scan” everything. It’ll drive you crazy — especially in an emergency when they’ll all be quite busy. Instead, make up a short “alerting list” of primary most important channels to scan.

Use “Chirp” software (free) and the official Baofeng USB connecting cable to arrange all the channel data on a spreadsheet, and then load it tothe radio. Trying to do this without “channel-ware” will quickly make you crazy. Print out the list, and keep it with the radio. You WILL f orget what-all is in it very quickly. I print a miniature sheet, and tuck it under the battery in the radio so I always have it.

A number of other radios do all the same tricks the Baofeng does, but the Bao is just a Best Buy in bang for the buck.

Link to “Chirp:”

See Wikipedia for all the specific channels.

See “Radio Reference” for PD and FD data at:

Final word: organize and train people with the hardware. My old Fire Chief used to say, “Things that aren’t regularly drilled won’t work.”

“In Omnia Paratus” (In all things, prepared.)

Hmmm…no ham can ever let another have the last word on some radioly thing, which is why 14.313 USB sounds like it does, and it’s why there is ALWAYS something on 75-meter sideband late at night.

But, here goes:

1.  A discussion of “color dot” channels can be found over to here.

2.  And if the crap really does hit the fan, remember to program in the “Input frequency” of key repeaters, like fire and police.  When someone gets injured, you’ll sometimes hear the fire (or police) commander tell dispatch to “turn off the repeater” which means they will stop rebroadcasting and be on the input frequency only as they pass information such as the name of an injured first responder to dispatch.

4.  Learn fire, police, and medic unit code words.  For police agencies, you will need to do a little listening to figure out what’s going on.  Some jurisdictions use “10-codes” while others use abbreviations, and still others use penal code references.  Back in my news-chasing days, the Seattle PD used something called the Miscellaneous Incident Reporting (MIR) codes.  Haven’t kept up on that.

On the fire side, the response to a fire scales from something like a “service response” (good guys helping out with a water leak, or something like that – putting out the fire is only a quarter of what firemen really do…the rest is cleaning up the mess (and water) afterwards. Hazmat units are also often supplied by the fire departments in your larger cities.

When an actual fire is reported, a pre-determined response is sent.  But on a house, or duplex fire for example the first-in unit can call for a “second company”  [engine or ladder truck] if the first looks like more than first reponse can knocking down quickly.  After that (again, varies by department) it would be a 2-11, 3-11, or 4-11 (general alarm) fire. 

The general alarm (4-11) fire is rare, but best I can remember, the Seattle Cedar Fire back in 1958 was one of those.  I remember my dad came back from it with a decent gash in his calf.  Flames were reported 1,500 feet high at one point, as 7-million board feet of lumber went up.  Closest thing to a firestorm this side of Dresden.

Note to Big City Fire Dept. Execs:  In many departments, there are specialized units, like Seattle has Air-10.  This is a truck that responds to major fires and brings backup bottles of breathing air for the fire fighters (and some can compress air on the spot).  Have you ever considered putting a Bobcat loader on the back of one of those rigs because I’ve seen an awful number of fires over my news-chasing years where a Bobcat loader would be great for after-fire clean-up and even lifting heavy items at a fire scene.  Just a thought…I just my front loader on my tractor like crazy when we’re burning a big pile of deadfall out here on the ranch…

Oh, not too much on Medic frequencies (unless you like vitals and such).  The calls to listen for are when the medics on scene tell dispatch they need a  “blood run.”  Those happen when someone is down, the medics are working their asses off trying to save someone, but and need to a cop car to get a blood sample to the trauma center for matching because someone’s life is hanging in the balance.

And yes, that’s why Ures truly screams at the drivers who don’t pull over when emergency equipment is rolling because such drivers are ignorant pricks and really do get in the way.  But don’t get me started on that.

Life in Retrograde

A week, or so, back I was discussing how seemed like everything mechanical I touched was having issues.  Our retired (most excellent, but now low profile) consulting Astrologer, sent me this in response to my question about whether it was normal for some people to experience “retrograde in advance:”

First, you are not the only one who begins to experience an upcoming Rx Mercury before the actual start date. Most of us start getting a “preview of coming attractions” as soon as Mercury enters its shadow. That phrase refers to Mercury passing the degree of the zodiac where it will later turn back direct in motion. That can happen close to a week before the beginning of the actual Rx point. Since this time Mercury is turning direct in motion at the end of June at 24 degrees of Gemini, it entered its shadow period on May 22-23 when it was at 24 Gemini. A good visual of the whole Rx Mercury cycle, including the period AFTER it turns direct and before it enters a new degree can be seen here —

As for all the mechanical issues that have arisen for you lately. I believe those may correspond with the planet Mars — both its own Rx period and its turning direct in motion on May 20th after nearly 2.75 months of retrograde [all of March and April up through 19th of May]. Mars is associated with mechanical and electrical objects, and even during its own RX period it was part of a major tension-filled relationship [a Cardinal Sign Cross] involving squares to Pluto and Jupiter and opposition aspect with Uranus. This means that not only Ures truly have been experiencing problems with cars, trucks and household appliances since the beginning of March. For example, we lost a car [huge transmission repair not worth repairing, which required us to find another car within 24 hours], ditto for water heater, and minor repairs needed to our air conditioner unit. Also, a ton of work was done on the riding mower to bring it up to top working order during the same period beginning in March. 

Yes, we are still in Rx Mercury; however please note that I segued over to how the mechanical issues you mentioned are likely related to the transit of Mars, since Mercury’s “playground” involves issues related to transportation and communication [such as emails that get lost for 10 days!].  Mercury is still retrograde until the end of June. 

Additionally for Mars — for the last few days, it has been building towards a serious aspect with Pluto and Uranus [aspect = geometric relationship between two or more planets]. Mars is moving into a 90 degree square with Pluto and Mars-square-Pluto spells v.i.o.l.e.n.c.e, writ large! The opposition to Uranus adds the factor of totally unexpected, electrifying change. Events in Iraq this week are a good example — only we still haven’t hit the peak of this interaction yet, so hang on. There might be an actual physical explosion — natural or manmade — that shows up before its all over. Anything from a volcanic explosion to an oil refinery fire to a terrorist attack. This combo means serious business!

And THAT is why we pay close attention to astrology and our advisor’s input.  She is simply marvelous in her calls. 

Mix in the expectation of something “explosive” with our Nostracodeus project and the National Dream Center, and you can almost sense the changes in advance….

Guilty As Charged, But…

Yes, I didn’t have the link right Thursday morning to, sorry.

From one of our sources:

Hello George:
Not sure if you noticed this or not, but that recent Nostracodeus entry ( mentions this:
Event monitor suggests a reaction to the Iraq terror/Shiite/Sunni trouble will occur approximately June 23, 2014.
June 23 2014 is but 5 days short of June 28, 2014, or the 100th anniversary of the spark that set off WWI, and the horror show that followed for the next century.
Good Luck.

Yes, we noticed.  And we’re expecting the West to have a strong response – just as soon as it’s too late to matter.

Urban Discussion Board?

Quick question for you:  The software that runs UrbanSurvival is capable of allowing for readers to post comments. 

I’m thinking about turning it on and wonder what your thoughts might be?

This would be experimental (since I don’t want it to become a huge time sink) but  maybe we could share that…have a couple of community moderators and such…

Small Business Reminder

This weekend comes the June 15th Q2 IRS tax filing date.

I screwed up last year and got mine in on July 15th, and it cost me a couple of bucks in penalty for the late payment.  But since I had a refund, the ding wasn’t too bad.

Still, thought I’d mention it.  What with all the strict border enforcement and wisdom of Middle East diplomacy, not to mention the stellar recovery of the housing market and the jobs picture, I’m just sure you’re more anxious than ever to pay early and as much as you can….,

Around the The Ranch: Rain, Linux, and HCF

Although the National Drought Monitor shows this week that major drought continues here in East Texas, and horrific drought up in the Amarillo area, there’s some chance that the picture will improve a great deal in next week’s report.

That’s because we have put just a shade under 4-inches (!!!) of rain in the gauge here in the Outback.  I woke up at 1:15 AM this morning to another thunder and lightning show and it was accompanied by even more rain.

The good news, if you like beef, is that all this water is having a much impact of grass around here.  In part years, the Texas Forest Trail Highway, which runs 2 1/2 miles from us, has usually started to look sun-baked by this time of the year.

Instead, we are living in this verdant paradise:  It’s green and lush everywhere.  Which means, come Sunday morning, my spring routing of weekly lawn mowing will be run again.  I was half-hoping to see the lawn brown up a bit because price of beef aside, a brown lawn doesn’t grow as fast and that leaves time for other projects.

Adventures in ServerLand continue.  In my latest computer adventuring, I’m building up a Ubuntu Linux server for (yet another) development project.  I’d built one using Ubuntu 13 point something, but 14.04 seems to be the stable long-term support choice now, so building it.

Unlike my first adventure in LAMP stacks (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl) this one is on a pure Linux machine, not an old copy of XP.  One reason?  The underlying project will likely become a production server, so the security is just a heck of a lot tighter in a pure-Linux, stripped-down to essentials environment (with manual updates and such).

imageAll of which would be fine, but after the install (wireless laptop, AMD-64) and telling the Ubuntu install disk to put in everything (SSH, email, LAMP stack, yada yada) I can go to the command line of my Windows computers and ping the new machine (on BUT when I try to actually connect with a browser, I get the dreaded can’t connect error from Firefox.

If you have any ideas on what’s causing this (I suspect that it’s something hosed up in the config files for Samba, Samba-Doc, or LDAP) feel free to send along ideas.  The command line pings off the Win-64 machines are maddeningly solid.  And I long ago made the transition to object programming from command line stuff.

Yet that’s the curse here:  I might be able to work on things faster if I install a GUI on top of Ubuntu Server, but that would defeat the idea of moderate security that I’m after.  The development work on the XP box (with a Windows LAMP stack) worked fine, but the LAMP stackers screamed in their documentation “Not suitable for a production environment” so here’s this neat project and me back on task trying to get the underlying server set up so I can get back to the application development.

Sheesh.  Like I said, suggestions (other than go through the whole 386 pages of Ubuntu Server docs point by point) are welcome.  I figure I’d start on the Samba, Samba-Doc, LDAP pathing, but you know that eats time.   Especially if the last command lines I saw were behind Windows 3.1 so this leaning a new set of commands for Linux is another “full slice of bread” for the brain to digest.

It’s such a small consolation that the pipe command ‘ | ‘ is still similar to Berkeley Unix 4.3 circa 1985, lol…

Speaking of  computers of 1985…One other computer note, though this rolls over into mass media and entertainment:  I’m totally hooked on the TV show “Halt and Catch Fire” that’s rolling around.  Grand introduction (if you are a 20-something) and wonder “How’d we get here in computers, anyway?”  The first episode from the series is on Amazon Instant video and titled I/0.    If you are a high roller, you might part with $54 bucks for the  Halt & Catch Fire [Blu-ray].

And one television note:  My consigliere, despite my constant prodding (which has escalated to verbal abuse, but he’s been good-natured about it, at least so far) has not watched even the first episode of Suits .

Elaine and I love that one and I keep wondering if a thorough knowledge of all the Suits episodes might not be a pretty good B-school training manual for the “How to De3al with Lawyers” 403 course.

I could go on all day about how bad television is, but toss in Blacklist and Crossbones, and you can guess where my “decompression time” been going…

On that note, have a great weekend, see you Monday, and write when you break-even, have a woo-woo events, see an obvious error in our thought processes, or just have something to get off your chest.