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Weekend miscellany

Just past the halfway mark of my six months without home Internet. Not too painful so far, right?

Its original purpose of lowering monthly payments to clear last year’s home-improvement debts kind of went kablooey when Dave quit paying for the blog. At that point, I emptied savings to clear nearly all that debt, figuring any unnecessary monthly payments would not be a good idea right now.

Kept a small emergency fund, of course. Always keep a small emergency fund unless you’re living in your car and eating out of Dumpsters.

My latest foundling

Meet my latest forest foundling …


Yes, a giant wooden mushroom.

It’s about two feet high and tickles my sense of humor. I brought it home yesterday and now it sits just uphill from the very pretty (but broken) bathroom sink that will soon become either a planter or a birdbath, depending on my mood at the time I get around to it.

Mostly, items like these will be tucked away where the neighborhood won’t see them. The inhabitants of the one house that does look down on my growing little garden of quirks won’t mind. They have, among other things, an old wringer washer in their front yard. Not as junk but as decor. They’ll understand.

Thanks for Amazoning

I’ve seen an uptick in Amazon link sales since Dave’s announcement. Several large purchases, too.

Many thanks for that. It helps more than you know.


A project drove me back to Windows this week. First time in years I haven’t been able to do everything I needed on Linux. I even had to hunt for whichever former work computer had a functional Windows installation on it.

One had Windows 7. And you know, other than taking 15 minutes to boot up (I’m not kidding and this is not some slow ancient machine), constantly popping up messages about what it wanted to do (or try to do, there being no ‘Net for it to access), and being a bit slow on everything, Win 7 was a thing of beauty. If MS had just stopped there and worked on speeding things up a bit they’d have had themselves a gorgeous OS.

Well, if you don’t count the fact that it was spyware, even then.

So why’d I need to go back to Win, you ask? Adobe Reader. I needed a .pdf reader that could search multiple documents at once. No native Linux reader does. I tried downloading the last reader Adobe supported for Linux. Then I tried installing an open-source program called Recoll that searches multiple documents.

Nada. Then I discovered that the update function on my Mint installation broke sometime in the last few months. Minor problem. Must fix, though.

Speaking of wood

I mentioned a while back that I was burning wood from the last two teardowns on the house. Some of you urged me to salvage those big old true 2 x 4s. Here’s why I salvaged very few of them.


The misbegotten addition we tore off last fall was badly built, had been leaking for years before I bought the place, and was in such horrific condition that a lot of its wood looked like that. It’s a wonder the thing was still standing.

Some of the wood was better.


And you can see that these were once impressive pieces of lumber. These in the photo were actually bigger than true 2 x 4s. But while some of them were tight-grained and as heavy as cement (I exaggerate), some were surprisingly light from being eaten away inside.

I’m no expert on wood. When I first saw how red some of these were when cut, I thought they might be cedar. But given the twisty grain, I’m now thinking hemlock. Between that and the inconsistent sizes of the 2 x 4s, I’m guessing these were locally grown and milled, with the milling probably done non-professionally.

Sad, but I burned nearly all of what we tore down.


  1. capn
    capn May 21, 2016 6:15 pm

    When I enlarge the foundling mushroom photo I see what appears to be a notch to the left (viewers perspective) of a protuberance that gives a decided impression of the beginning of a carving of a large cat’s head.
    How’s that for a run-on sentence?

    Is it possible that the right eye and the ears have not yet been delineated and added or carved?
    OR .. has my evening Shiner Bock influenced my vision?

    Stay safe,


  2. LarryA
    LarryA May 21, 2016 8:50 pm

    For work I’m being drug kicking and screaming into a Windows 10 machine. I’m really looking forward to spending a couple of weeks turning of “features” and disconnecting programs from The Cloud! At least I avoided Office 365, where the programs are actually located in the cloud somewhere, instead of on my computer.

    At least I was able to skip “Make your computer into an iPhone! Windows 8.”

    I still would like about fifteen minutes with the MS genius who thought up the idea that MS Word, designed expressly for readers and high-end writers, needed a McDonalds cash register graphic interface instead of menus.

  3. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty May 22, 2016 4:10 am

    Oh dear… I’d love to find a better PDF program for linux, but nothing I can imagine right now would drive me back to “windows” to get it. 🙂

  4. Brad R
    Brad R May 22, 2016 6:02 am

    I confess, I’ve never had to search multiple PDF files — I didn’t know Adobe’s reader for Windows could do that. A quick search for “linux pdf search” turned up this useful page , which suggested the ‘pdfgrep’ utility. I’m sure it’s more awkward than using Adobe Reader, so you’ll have to decide which is the bigger burden: booting a Windows PC, or using the Linux command line.

    (‘grep’ being one of my favorite tools, I’d happily use ‘pdfgrep’.)

  5. pigpen51
    pigpen51 May 22, 2016 2:38 pm

    I just got a new, old computer given to me from my work. I work as a maintenance man in a trailer park, and they replaced their old gateways that have Windows XP with Laptops running Windows 10. I ordered a wifi adapter, and will soon switch over to this as my part time machine. I will still use a laptop to access the web some, but I think the Gateway has more going for it, the tower and the ability to upgrade being just one.

    We built a deck awhile ago and I was shocked at the poor quality of the lumber we purchased. Not only is it not true dimensional today, but the sizes are not consistent. I wish that a 2×4 was really still a 2×4, but those days are long gone.

  6. Claire
    Claire May 24, 2016 12:06 pm

    “(‘grep’ being one of my favorite tools, I’d happily use ‘pdfgrep’.)”

    Grep is one of those Linux things that’s always been mysterious to me. I’ve used it. BUT … no, this is going to be a largish, ongoing project and I want a GUI for it.

    Once I get the updating function fixed on my system, I’ll try Recoll and see how that goes. Meantime, I’m simply keeping Win 7 on on the old system. No booting. 🙂

  7. Claire
    Claire May 24, 2016 12:07 pm

    “When I enlarge the foundling mushroom photo I see what appears to be a notch to the left (viewers perspective) of a protuberance that gives a decided impression of the beginning of a carving of a large cat’s head.”

    Capn … interesting observation. I had to wander over there and take a second look at the mushroom yesterday. I do see what you’re referring to; I hadn’t noticed it before. But I think it’s just a random cut that happens to be vague catlike. Kind of like seeing the face of Jesus in a taco. 🙂

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