The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

It rained! I ramble about groundskeeping, I complain about blogger, I attempt a link

It rained last night. I think I have all the straw picked up. Unless there is another field which I just thought of five minutes ago. It didn't really seem like there was enough baled for a full day of work...
Plus, I see I left 800lbs of pig feed and the mixer/grinder out in the rain. Plus, there is the bin of flax I knocked off the truck a month ago.
Whatever... I never claimed to be a good farmer.
Or a good groundskeeper.
My goal is to be the sort of cheerful ineffective lout that people just hate to get rid of... Already failed on the cheerful but think I've got the ineffective down.
I applied for a job at a different school. That was a mistake.
I get this idea that I should be the best I can be. This is a load of BS drilled into my by my early role models and three years in the Future Farmers of America organization.
The 21st century model of success should be to attain the maximum amount of compensation of the minimal amount of work.
I had a frustrating month at my job. My promotion has just given me way more responsibility and I am not as fast as the fellow who recommended me for this job. This is a two person (or one person who is really hyperactive) job. My workstudy student keeps having a conflict between he amount of alcohol he consumes and the balancing of blood sugars. He swears this is not true but he misses a lot of work. And then my supervisor tends to send me from one job to another.
Example: I saw the Athletic Director last week. Had a nice chat about upcoming events and what is getting done. I just give up remembering and tell him to make a list and give it to my boss. I point out that I have a lot to do and things get missed so a list would be great.
My supervisor gets an email that afternoon. It is 103 degrees F. He comes looking for me. I was off driving my workstudy helper though the sprinkler system in the Mule and wasn't watching my phone. I did not get caught.
However, we did a walk though problem areas. Two foot weeds were reported on the softball warning track. The weeds were not there. There were a few under the bleachers and the warning track was clean. People from work use the softball field so I keep it pretty clean. I didn't show him the not quite dead blackberries under the bleachers.
So... we were told to drop everything and weed the warning track. I pointed out that were sports fields that had to be mowed and that the track would have to wait.
The next day there were other issues.
My workstudy student didn't get the practice field completely mowed and I forgot to finish it the next day. There was a leaking sprinkler line at the edge of the field which I cut the time down on so that there would not be a swamp. I was told that if I didn't spend so much time talking to people in the morning when it was cool that I would get more work done. That may or may not be true but I just smiled and nodded.
Monday, I got the lecture again. So I filled out a time off request for two days. Tuesday, my workstudy student ran into the grandstands and broke the windshield out of the mule. The only object in 100 yards and he hit it. We cleaned up the mess but I got quite the lecture.
School policy is that students without licenses cannot drive golf carts even off the road. They can drive lawnmowers or their own bicycles (but not their cars) but not golf carts. I said I was training him.
Wednesday I applied at another school.
Friday the supervisor was not there.
After a brief discussion with fellow workers where they repeated things I told them when there were upset- it was pointed out to me that changing schools would probably just mean I had to work harder. I only get upset because I want to do a good job. The real reason to work is tuition, insurance, and retirement and it is a 15 minute drive from home.
Since then the absurdity of the whole thing has made me laugh. My supervisor came to grounds from cleaning services. He is learning about groundskeeping by watching YouTube videos. The same people that hired him as a transfer from cleaning services seem to expect him to do the job of a guy with a degree in Turf Management and manage a crew of oddball independent characters who are old enough to be his parents. Not sure I envy him...

My new phone is not very good for blogging. Google has made it hard to have two identities on the same phone. I can't post photos or videos like I could with my iPhone. The Blogger App is pretty much a waste. There are no good replacements.

Today I'm trying to lay down and keep ice on my leg. I seem to have pulled a muscle a month or so ago and it is starting to get annoying. I have a hard time getting in and out of the stacker or off of a lawnmower once I run it for a while. I have tried wrapping it but it is a bit awkward. I see kids wearing all sorts of clever sports type wrappings for sprains and injuries. I'm going to have to find someone in sports medicine to give me advice.

Now I'm going to try and post a video.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I buy a new phone, go to a high school reunion, run out of money, and urchins steal my gator...

It is a Sunday morning and it is hot.
My family went camping.
I expect them back today.
I fixed myself eggs for breakfast. The eggs were fresh out of the chicken. I found some peppers in the garden and some mushrooms in the refrigerator. The mushrooms were in a brown paper bag. They were not growing in the refrigerator. My wife has not been gone that long.

I should have put fewer peppers in the eggs. I grew Hungarian Wax Peppers and Jalapeno's. The Hungarian wax pepper can be quite spicy. It is good for cooking and you can control the heat by the amount of seeds you keep. The flesh is mild and mine were a little sweet, more like a Bell Pepper than your usual fry your mouth ball-o-fire pepper.

I've been having a lot of phone problems. I've gone through five iPhone 6plus 16 gig. The iPhone six plus with 16 gigs is a junk phone. If someone gives it to you sell it. It will lock up and will randomly not receive texts, not send texts, send phone calls but not receive and received and not send. Plus, there seems to be a problems with certain Apple iCloud servers and you can't restore your piece of crap Asurion refurbished replacement phone.

I just got my replacement iPhone after the last failure and I could not restore the phone properly. I missed many important phone calls and texts. So I went to my local Verizon store where I got the car salesman treatment from a nice young man.
I was going to buy either an iPhone six 32 gig, an HTC, or a LG s6. The iPhone was too expensive for someone who continually breaks phones. They didn't have the HTC. So I got the LG.
My salesman said I could get $250 for my old phone from Verizon's buyback program. But, I had to do that at home. He also found me a $200 credit for switching to the LG. He did try to sell me a Motorola but the Motorola doesn't have a headphone jack. I don't want to deal with missing or dead bluetooth speakers in the middle of a Librovox recording fifteen miles from home and eight hours of boredom ahead of me.
But, I digress...
I bought the LG and paid double what I should have for a hard case and now I'm back to the other phone system. It is ok. I'm not thrilled but my phone doesn't really define my life. It is requiring some adjustment. I really just wanted my iPhone to work. I had finally got the iCloud BS to actually work. I liked the voice recognition for blogging. I was using BlogTouch Pro (which I really liked) for my phone.
I think the bottom line is that Apple is no longer longer an innovative company. The PC side seems to have learned a lot from the old days of Apple superiority and I can now tolerate them.

But you are all waiting to hear how I made the local scanner monitor page on Facebook.

The fellow who got my old JD Gator when I was "promoted" went on vacation. I fried the belt on my Mule climbing hills behind the college and it was in the shop. So I commandeered the Gator. Apparently his workstudy student was leaving the keys in the glove box and these two juvenile delinquents attempted to steal the gator. He also left so much crap in the gator it is hard to shift the darn thing and while the kids got it started and into reverse they were not able to get the shifter into the forward position because the mirror had fallen off the roof and was stashed on top of the shifter and prevented shifting into forward gear. So they reversed it into a big pile of grass and clippings couldn't get it into forward and then ran.
Security chased them in the little security SUV but nearly got stuck in the wildlife area. The kids escaped and I have been getting a lot of comments.
There is now a new edict that we have to chain up our steering wheels. I produced my keys to security so I was not in trouble. They like me as I laugh when they harass me and so I didn't get reported over the keys in the glovebox incident.

Last night I attended my 35th high school reunion. There were something like eight of us. Class size was around 47. I was not going to attend as I hated every moment of school. I was also a weird kid with odd religious beliefs, didn't do the pledge of allegiance, didn't go to dances, didn't go out drinking with everyone else, and people made fun of me a lot until eight grade when I became brutally sarcastic and somewhat of a cynic. Apparently I was well-liked in high school but the bitterness lingers on.
The fellow who was hosting the reunion at his winery told me if I didn't show up he or his wife would come and drag me out of the stacker. I was picking up bales just down the road.
I figure that was as good and invitation as any so I went.
Strangely enough, all the people there were people I liked and none of the people I disliked (in High School) were there. It was nice.
It is amazing how your early school experiences stick with you though life.
I had a nice talk with a couple people I hadn't seen since graduation and when the hosts heard I was on my own they loaded me with food to take home.

Next week it is supposed to hit 105 degrees. This is going to not be so fun.

Note: Blogger app on the phone is not letting me add photos. I foresee problems with the iPhone switch...

Friday, July 21, 2017

I am recovered and doing my usual mucking about...

I have recovered.
I am still having phone issues so I have no photos to share.
Today I went to sleep mowing and hit the fence. This was a bit hard on the reel mower. It is ironic that yesterday I got in trouble for letting my student run the reel mower. He was making perfectly straight lines and driving perfectly.
It was I who hit the fence...
Oh well, that is why God gave us welders...
My phone is a frustrating experience. I have an iPhone 6plus which has failed at least four times in the year I've had it.
I have Asurian insurance through Verizon. It is kind of an amazing scam, or at lest as I understand it.
Apple gives you a one year limited warranty but does not cover screens. However, they will sell you a new screen for around $150.
If you pay through the nose for Asurian they will give you a "reconditioned" phone for $150. Apple will not honor the one year replacement warranty on the Asurian replacement phone. Asurain gives you a phone that someone traded in because it was broken. So you get a crap phone for $150 which will probably fail and if you get stuck with a crappy model then you can't trade your way out of it.
I'm not sure there is any point in Asurain insurance on your phone. I think if I get a new phone I will try a SquareTrade warranty. I had it on a computer once I was very happy.
Today I intended to go pick up bales for my neighbors. They loaned us a baler when our engine failed.
However, my brother and I went to look at a combine instead and then I made some pig feed.
Making pig and chicken feed is not as much fun as it used to be when I didn't have a job.
I now have a good and rather large New Holland mixer-grinder. It pulls easy and holds 4,000lbs. It will also grind hay.
I liked making feed because I could trade it for beef and pork and it was a nice break from working on tractors in the cold. Grinding dusty grain when it is 80 degrees and almost dark is not as much fun as I had imagined. Plus, I think feed prices are down and I'm not getting the serious buyers I used to get.
Tomorrow I'm going to pick up bales. But, I am using my old iPhone 5 which does have enough memory to store books on tape. So it will be a long day.
Perhaps i can think of funny stories to blog about.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A day off

I've been a bit busy.
Before I took on this job at the College I may have worked long hours but I usually had some sort of break to write the blog.
I have also been having frustrations with my iPhone and MacBook.
The iPhone 6s has died for the fourth time in a year and I'm back to the old iPhone 5. The small screen doesn't work for blogging.
I took the day off today.
Actually, I'm sick...
It is really frustrating as I have Muddy Valley's hay baled and it looks good. But it is now sitting there bleaching in the sun.
I went home at 8 p.m. last night. Decided after the second time I had to stop the stacker in the field and take a puke break that perhaps I should just go home. I was a little worried it would come out the other end next.
It seems like I spent most of the night puking my guts out and now every muscle in my body hurts like heck. Especially my back.
I'd try the hot tub but I still can't trust my farts.
I should have some adventures to post about but frankly I feel like crap and I'm going back to bed...
Perhaps I should just call in sick for tomorrow.
Soccer players should mow their own soccer field, with push mowers, it would build charactor...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Random photos of my week

It was meant to be a picture story but the photos are out of order...
I'm going to church.

Subjects covered by photos. Warm weather, hay, late planting, bicycle trip to the coast, Russians and pacifiers.

You may assign captions at random




Saturday, May 13, 2017

White 2-135

I still need to redo the inside of the cab. Right now I'm more concerned about the digital tachometer not working.
The mounting bracket's are on the front pulley and I think I have to remove the radiator to change the sensor.
Or rather, I think it would be faster to remove the radiator to change or adjust the sensor.
It has gone from 135 hp  at the dry bar, to an estimated 200 engine horsepower. I would like to put it on the Dyno and actually see.
This is the 3rd White tractor/army truck engine conversion and I think each engine behaves differently. This tractor starts harder than the other tractors but I have not pulled it hard yet so I don't know how much power it actually has.
The 2-155 that I use for planting doesn't feel like it has this much horsepower as the ugly 2-155 I bought from Missouri.
All the engines were the same model.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The past few weeks of which not much has happened but they have rapidly passed

Having a dumb job is different from not having a dumb job (in reference to a fellow blogger) and much different from being self-employed.
Much less stress when you discover that you don't really matter. I probably will not get a raise and I most likely will not get fired.
I always thought insanity was the ultimate escape but really it is Mediocrity. That way you can have hobbies. And still appreciate them. Waiting for the End of the World becomes just waiting for the end of the day. Tractors to paint, a Triumph to ride, a supervisor to gaslight. It's not a bad life...

This is a 90 year old Spider Lily plant in the library. I have not killed yet...

We are having "self-evaluations" this week at work.
This is idiotic.
The goal is a pitiful "merit" raise. It has been announced that there will be no "merit" raises because we have fewer students and have no money.
I took this job for three reasons, tuition for my daughter, insurance for my family, and retirement for me.
I did not take it to reach "self actualization."
The lady who sits across the table from me freaked out Friday when it was announced the evaluations were due. Apparently she had missed an entire weeks worth of complaining about the evaluations which happened every morning before work. 
She gave me a ride after I ran the diesel lawnmower out of diesel in the middle of the main street on campus Friday afternoon.
She was swearing up a storm about the evaluation. She wanted to know why she only had a day to do the evaluation and the rest of us had a week.
This was good as I had forgotten to turn my into the boss.
Well, actually I didn't forget all. I was contemplating doing my little manipulation trick of acting like I was getting it done but not really doing it and being super polite and helpful and sincere but really stringing the who thing out as long as possible just to push the authority figure to the point where frustration wins out over sympathy.
That approach just seemed petty.
I filled out my evaluation that morning in the greenhouse. I took me longer to find a stool, clean off the potting table, fix myself some coffee, sharpen a pencil, and find a good radio station than it did to fill out the evaluation.
First I checked the scoring to see how many above average scores I needed to get in order to barely qualify for merit pay. Then I started reading the questions. Then I got bored and checked boxes at random. "Meets Expectations" and "Exceeds Expectations."  In the comments I described my biggest challenge as being able to keep up the professional groundskeeper who had moved on to be boiler man.
My main adventure yesterday was running out of diesel. The diesel pump has a four pin round connector that is supposed to mate with a connector on the diesel vehicle you are filling. Apparently, sometime in the past, people would get the diesel and gasoline mixed up at the pump.
However, not all the diesels have the connector. 
I usually use a couple paperclips to hotwire the whole abomination so I can use whatever vehicle I want to transport fuel. But I was in a hurry Friday and the fuel gauge doesn't work right and I knew there were full diesel cans at the other building.
I wired up a much better system which is still rather unsafe but now I can at least fill the dadburned thing without looking for random drywall screws and paperclips. 

In other news...
I've almost finished the 2-135 paint. 
It is the classic "good from far, but far from good." I really screwed up the decals and had to mask and repaint a couple areas. I've just given up on quality and am attempting to just get it done. 
I had all the hoods on and discovered the lights didn't work. I had installed a metal firewall behind the fuel tank which would necessitate removing the said fuel tank and firewall to get at the wiring if it was a serious problem. It turned out to be a bad connection at the light switch which I fixed  by prying up the dash and wedging a screwdriver against the offending spade plug. I need a new connector but that would mean a lot of rewiring.
I should have been planting clover...
The weather has prevented any planting on our wet ground. I planted barley for my neighbor and got rained out. The tractor and drill are on the wrong side of town and the tractor duals are wedged full of goupy mud.
I think I'll bring it home today on the back roads.
I see the new "big time operator" has been advertising for summer help on Facebook. I'm surprised at the number of farmers who have liked his page. I'm also amazed at the people who use his services. He is notorious for stealing your land. However, throwing money around and talking capitalism makes farmers get all weak at the knees and while they talk big they really just want to be his special "friend" so of course he won't steal their land.
It reminds me of the hyena's saying "Mufassa" to each other in Lion King.

When they see his ten combines blocking traffic on Highway 18 they pretend to be angry but really they have secret, um... nevermind...
I would like to see land use and commercial vs farming tax laws revised but I don't trust gubment to do it without screwing the small farmer. The idea that large farms need tax breaks cause they are feeding the world is a load of crap.
The idea that large farms are good for agriculture because they hire lots of people is crap. Those kids that run balers and combines in the summer don't join FFA. They don't learn how things work, there is a service truck chasing them.
Kids who work for small farms where they are involved in the operation are the ones that go into agriculture careers. 
More farms make more jobs and produce people who know how to fix things, who have a vested interest in the future of their own land.
Feed the world my ass, feed their own megalomania more like it.

I included this photo to show the problems of painting with cheap metallic paint when you don't really know what you are doing. The metal flake tends to pool or spot, as in big spots, like metal flake camo at a lowrider convention. Which brings up another point. I want to turn my daughter's 72 GMC into a lowrider. But, no time or energy...

In other news...
Lulu likes the Blues Brothers.
This is my favorite movie.
I like the scene where they start swearing in front of the nun and fall down the stairs.
Last year I bought a faded copy on 16mm from a guy in Australia.
We will not mention how much shipping cost me.
I hooked up speakers and was prepared to be amazed. The sound was terrible.
Last night we watched in on Netflix.
Lulu likes Carrie Fisher so we were looking for all the scenes where Jake's exgirlfriend was stalking him.
This morning we are listening to Robert Johnson before church.
This is the lesser know Tommy Johnson. He also made the deal. I don't have a Tommy Johnson album... While quite influential he has a funny voice. (yeah I'm a philistine)
I made bacon omelettes. I started off with a lecture about the crossroads metaphor in literature and if it were possible for a person to trade their immortal soul and was heading straight for an explanation of faustian agreements and their importance in literature ending up Madonna stealing Brittany Speers soul and Katie Perry's supposed agreement with beelzebub but I saw her eyes glaze over and went back to cooking.
She just noted that all Robert Johnson's songs sound the same... But that she was still enjoying the album...
Yesterday she had Elmore James on the CD player.
I suppose it is alright to have a CD player if it is hooked to a 50 year old tube amp... And since CD technology is now considered yesterday and the new thing is analogue.
I'm such a rebel... Rebel lite...

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