Quote of the Day: Plans

 

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ― Woody Allen

I am working on a book. (I know, I always am.) It is due in mid-October. The week before last, everything came together. I wrote 19,000 words in seven days. What makes that more remarkable was I did that on top of working 40 hours at a day job. Good stuff, too.  I still had the captions and the plate dialog to write, plus the instructions to the artist and map makers and a few other things, but with the main body of the text done, I was actually ahead of schedule. I could get it done on time. Maybe early.

Then Nicholas came visiting Monday night – Tuesday morning. Nicholas was a fast-moving tropical storm when it went over Houston. A minor thing. Some wind, a little rain. Came through it fine. No damage.

Then, Tuesday evening I lost power. After the storm passed Houston and was hours east of it. I had just finished a day at work. I had brought up my timecard to log my hours, and just as I entered the numbers . . . the computer went down. Power out.

It did not come back until Thursday evening.  Three days gone and I am again behind schedule. I was able to work at the day job Wednesday and Thursday by the expedient of going into the office. (It had power.) But I got no work on my book done. It was on my desktop at home.

What made it maddening was everyone around me except the block I live on had power. The people across the street had power. Only the transformer on my block was misbehaving. And the problem occurred well after the storm passed.

This happens occasionally. A raccoon or opossum climbs up the pole the transformer sits on and shorts out the transformer. (My late wife was convinced it was the local wildlife version of lover’s leap, where lovelorn critters went  to end it all.) Normally I call up the power company. They send a crew out. Power comes back on in two to three hours.

Except, there were no crews to send out. Nicholas had knocked out power throughout Brazoria, Galveston, and Harris Counties – and probably adjacent ones, too. Not just one piddly block, but whole neighborhoods and even towns. We had to wait until those were dealt with.

Now I am behind schedule again. But that’s just because I needed the challenge – and maybe God needed a laugh or two. No biggie, and back to work.

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  1. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Lots of people have backup generators now, for that exact reason.

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Seawriter: This happens occasionally. A raccoon or opossum climbs up the pole the transformer sits on and shorts out the transformer. (My late wife was convinced it was the local wildlife version of lover’s leap, where lovelorn critters went  to end it all.)

    Love it.  That sort of thing happens around here, too.  The main power line to the hospital I used to work at was knocked out one day by a squirrel who decided to leap into the transformer, apparently for no other reason than that he could.

    ***

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    • #2
  3. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    I trust you have the manuscript backed up in more than one bulletproof place. I’m OCD about backups. The main working backup is a terabyte Passport USB drive but I have other hidey holes that get updated daily. Dropbox helps me sneakernet files between machines and lets me review edited files on my phone. It would take quite a disastrophe to put me too far behind. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

     

    • #3
  4. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I trust you have the manuscript backed up in more than one bulletproof place. I’m OCD about backups. The main working backup is a terabyte Passport USB drive but I have other hidey holes that get updated daily. Dropbox helps me sneakernet files between machines and lets me review edited files on my phone. It would take quite a disastrophe to put me too far behind. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

    Computers made it easy before they made it safe.  

    I kept exhorting a friend who owned a small business (Houston and Seattle and one other place I forget) that he needed a back-up of his records.  Long time ago.  He learned the hard way I was right, and was very grateful for honest customers. 

    I never said “I told you so” but I thought it.

    • #4
  5. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I trust you have the manuscript backed up in more than one bulletproof place. I’m OCD about backups. The main working backup is a terabyte Passport USB drive but I have other hidey holes that get updated daily. Dropbox helps me sneakernet files between machines and lets me review edited files on my phone. It would take quite a disastrophe to put me too far behind. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

    I have it backed up on a USB, but did not save the latest version on Tuesday morning. I did some other work on my laptop off the USB, but that proved difficult because it is hard to read the keyboard in the dark, and I could not work on it during the day.

    I also e-mail the text to myself every other day. You guessed it. It was the every day, not the other day.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I trust you have the manuscript backed up in more than one bulletproof place. I’m OCD about backups. The main working backup is a terabyte Passport USB drive but I have other hidey holes that get updated daily. Dropbox helps me sneakernet files between machines and lets me review edited files on my phone. It would take quite a disastrophe to put me too far behind. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

    Computers made it easy before they made it safe.

    I kept exhorting a friend who owned a small business (Houston and Seattle and one other place I forget) that he needed a back-up of his records. Long time ago. He learned the hard way I was right, and was very grateful for honest customers.

    I never said “I told you so” but I thought it.

    This story takes a little while, so bear with me…

    My first “real” computer job – at age 19 – was for a medium-size manufacturing business (800 to 1000 employees in peak season) that had just gotten a serious computer system for their accounting etc.  They hired me for in-house programming because the company they had bought the hardware and original software from, was costing them a lot for not very much quality and it was slow going in part because that company had other customers to deal with also.  They were also ~100 miles away and at that time software updates had to be installed on-site.

    I did quite a few day/night/day shifts (go in at 9am, work until 2am, go home, get called at 4am to go back because something else broke…) and at that time they were only doing the Accounts Payable and Payroll on the new system.  Some other accounting for a different branch of the business was still being done on an older standalone NCR machine that used “ledger sheets” with a machine-readable magnetic strip on the back.  The sales side of the business was still being done manually.  And, as it turned out, not very well.

    While dealing with the AP/PR/etc problems, I also started looking at the Order Processing and Accounts Receivable software that had come with the computer.  What a mess.  They had purchased the source code too, and I quickly found that much of the source code they had, wouldn’t compile at all due to error messages – “procedure” files that didn’t match the rest of a program, etc –  and what WOULD compile resulted in object/runtime files that did not match what they had originally purchased/received!

    In between putting out other fires, I started re-writing the OP and AR programs, often from scratch.  I was just getting it usable, when one day the owner came down the hall from his office and announced that it was time to put all the AR on the computer too!

     

    [cont’d due to word limit]

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    [cont’d from previous comment]

    And fortunately by then, they had added more storage.  They originally bought the system with a single 25-megabyte (yes, MEGAbyte!) hard disk, which took its own floor-standing cabinet next to the CPU.  They added a 75-meg drive which also had it’s own cabinet…

    This was 1979.

    Anyway, the meat of the story is that after they had entered all of the open orders and invoices and already-received payments etc, and then printed out an overall Receivables report, they found that they had a little over $2 MILLION due that in most cases the customers had not even received an INVOICE for!  So they didn’t know how much they were expected to pay, and maybe not even where to send it!

    As far as I know, none of the customers made any attempt to dispute what they owed, and the money rolled in.  That more than paid for the computer system, and of course, for me.  :-)

    I was sure glad I’d been working on the software before it was needed.

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Seawriter: Now I am behind schedule again. But that’s just because I needed the challenge – and maybe God needed a laugh or two. No biggie, and back to work.

    Nothing like a bit of pressure to spark that needed creative frisson.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    It was the every day, not the other day.

    That gave me a good laugh.

    • #10
  11. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I am severely anal-rententive when it comes to backups.  Heck, I use laptops because the battery functions like an uninterruptible power supply . . .

    • #11
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I trust you have the manuscript backed up in more than one bulletproof place. I’m OCD about backups. The main working backup is a terabyte Passport USB drive but I have other hidey holes that get updated daily. Dropbox helps me sneakernet files between machines and lets me review edited files on my phone. It would take quite a disastrophe to put me too far behind. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

    Computers made it easy before they made it safe.

    I kept exhorting a friend who owned a small business (Houston and Seattle and one other place I forget) that he needed a back-up of his records. Long time ago. He learned the hard way I was right, and was very grateful for honest customers.

    I never said “I told you so” but I thought it.

    The Bible is very clear about “I told you so-ing” in your heart. 

    Sinner. 

    • #12
  13. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I always have Plans A, B, C and D. I’ve never had to go to E, but there are still another 21 letters in the alphabet. 

    • #13
  14. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    The big problem was not writing the text. It was time to move on to the artist’s brief and the map instructions, as well as picking out and processing the interior images for the book. That all requires the capability of my desktop, with its massive display screens and image-processing software.  The stuff I did on my laptop was work-around stuff. 

    • #14
  15. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Lots of people have backup generators now, for that exact reason.

    Off-the-grid solar is the only longterm answer. They can take your gas and grid. DARPA may have the ability to take your sun, but best to assume if they went that far, it’s game over, or tribal survival.

    • #15
  16. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    TBA (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I trust you have the manuscript backed up in more than one bulletproof place. I’m OCD about backups. The main working backup is a terabyte Passport USB drive but I have other hidey holes that get updated daily. Dropbox helps me sneakernet files between machines and lets me review edited files on my phone. It would take quite a disastrophe to put me too far behind. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

    Computers made it easy before they made it safe.

    I kept exhorting a friend who owned a small business (Houston and Seattle and one other place I forget) that he needed a back-up of his records. Long time ago. He learned the hard way I was right, and was very grateful for honest customers.

    I never said “I told you so” but I thought it.

    The Bible is very clear about “I told you so-ing” in your heart.

    Sinner.

    Yes, and thanks for the reminder: But I’m a sinner saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Stad (View Comment):

    I am severely anal-rententive when it comes to backups. Heck, I use laptops because the battery functions like an uninterruptible power supply . . .

    I get the real things, which are cheaper and more reliable than laptops.  Plus then I have the superior computing power of desktop computers.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Lots of people have backup generators now, for that exact reason.

    Off-the-grid solar is the only longterm answer. They can take your gas and grid. DARPA may have the ability to take your sun, but best to assume if they went that far, it’s game over, or tribal survival.

    The Chinese solar panel manufacturers are happy you think that.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Perhaps not DARPA, but Mr Burns:

     

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Lots of people have backup generators now, for that exact reason.

    Off-the-grid solar is the only longterm answer. They can take your gas and grid. DARPA may have the ability to take your sun, but best to assume if they went that far, it’s game over, or tribal survival.

    Oh, the government can take away your solar too.  All they have to do is say the panels are an environmental hazard based on the hazardous materials in them.  In some places, governments stopped people from collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns because they claimed to own it . . .

    • #20
  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Stad (View Comment):
    In some places, governments stopped people from collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns because they claimed to own it . . .

    Really? What places would those be?

    • #21
  22. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    In some places, governments stopped people from collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns because they claimed to own it . . .

    Really? What places would those be?

    Colorado, for one. A friend of mine there had that problem.

    • #22
  23. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    In some places, governments stopped people from collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns because they claimed to own it . . .

    Really? What places would those be?

    Colorado, for one. A friend of mine there had that problem.

    Probably after the place  filled up with Californians. 

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    In some places, governments stopped people from collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns because they claimed to own it . . .

    Really? What places would those be?

    Colorado, for one. A friend of mine there had that problem.

    And doesn’t Baltimore tax rainwater on property?  I’m glad SC doesn’t have a beergut tax . . .

    • #24
  25. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    In some places, governments stopped people from collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns because they claimed to own it . . .

    Really? What places would those be?

    Colorado, for one. A friend of mine there had that problem.

    Probably after the place filled up with Californians.

    I think it dates to the nineteenth century and fights over water rights. 

    • #25
  26. Raven Member
    Raven
    @Raven

    @Seawriter It’s squirrels in my neighborhood that skydive on transformers. They never seem to learn, but since we have an overabundance of squirrels…not always a bad thing. Good luck with the book. I find a deadline or a preorder helps with my creativity.

     

    • #26
  27. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Stad (View Comment):

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Lots of people have backup generators now, for that exact reason.

    Off-the-grid solar is the only longterm answer. They can take your gas and grid. DARPA may have the ability to take your sun, but best to assume if they went that far, it’s game over, or tribal survival.

    Oh, the government can take away your solar too. All they have to do is say the panels are an environmental hazard based on the hazardous materials in them. In some places, governments stopped people from collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns because they claimed to own it . . .

    At least Caligula sent soldiers. 

    • #27
  28. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    I sympathize. We went through this power loss crisis  on and off since 2018.

    We don’t have hurricanes here in No Calif, but the summer high temps mean the utilities go and shut down the power so the utility lines do not spark catastrophic wild fires.

    That is not going to change, but sitting in the dark and being behind on assignments is not part of our lifestyle.

    Back in 2018 we looked into a generator to be the alt source of power to keep at least one computer up and running and the lights on.

    But few people we knew could tell us how to configure the darn thing, or any specifics about it at all.

    However this past winter, that  had all changed. Every other person in our neighborhood had a generator. The same feed store where zero employees knew how to set it up back in 2018 now had five people who knew how. And two not only gave us specific directions and specific work arounds for problems, they offered up their home ph numbers in case any problems came up.

     

    • #28
  29. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    I sympathize. We went through this power loss crisis on and off since 2018.

    We don’t have hurricanes here in No Calif, but the summer high temps mean the utilities go and shut down the power so the utility lines do not spark catastrophic wild fires.

    That is not going to change, but sitting in the dark and being behind on assignments is not part of our lifestyle.

    Back in 2018 we looked into a generator to be the alt source of power to keep at least one computer up and running and the lights on.

    But few people we knew could tell us how to configure the darn thing, or any specifics about it at all.

    However this past winter, that had all changed. Every other person in our neighborhood had a generator. The same feed store where zero employees knew how to set it up back in 2018 now had five people who knew how. And two not only gave us specific directions and specific work arounds for problems, they offered up their home ph numbers in case any problems came up.

     

    Even better solution, and likely lower-cost too long term:  Get out of PRC.

    • #29
  30. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    kedavis (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    I sympathize. We went through this power loss crisis on and off since 2018.

    We don’t have hurricanes here in No Calif, but the summer high temps mean the utilities go and shut down the power so the utility lines do not spark catastrophic wild fires.

    That is not going to change, but sitting in the dark and being behind on assignments is not part of our lifestyle.

    Back in 2018 we looked into a generator to be the alt source of power to keep at least one computer up and running and the lights on.

    But few people we knew could tell us how to configure the darn thing, or any specifics about it at all.

    However this past winter, that had all changed. Every other person in our neighborhood had a generator. The same feed store where zero employees knew how to set it up back in 2018 now had five people who knew how. And two not only gave us specific directions and specific work arounds for problems, they offered up their home ph numbers in case any problems came up.

     

    Even better solution, and likely lower-cost too long term: Get out of PRC.

    Where to? Every time we come up with a place to re-locate, we look  into it and there is a shortage of housing due to so many from PRC already having moved there.

    Both of us are open to advice. Again and again the answer seems to be Arizona. I confess I have yet to meet someone from Az that I didn’t like right off the bat. Doesn’t matter as to their ethnicity, their age, or social class – they seem very likeable folks. (Unlike New Jersey where the goof balls on “The Jersey Shore” seem to be quite representative of young people there.)

    But I hate hot weather. I hate it being so hot in the summer here, but at least summer often does not begin until June and by September 20th it cools off. In AZ, it is hot all year round.

    Anyone who has any ideas of a place where housing still exists, and where it is possible to get there, we are both open to it. (Limited funds, so we definitely wouldn’t make it all the way to Florida.)

     

    • #30