[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2016-10-07

Buying a house with an HOA is like…

Filed under: Home,Humour,Society — bblackmoor @ 13:42

An HOA is like a venereal disease

Sunday, 2016-08-21

Don’t buy a house with a HOA or POA

Filed under: Civil Rights,Home — bblackmoor @ 08:12

A word of advice to young people: never buy a house with an HOA (home owners’ association) or POA (property owners’ association), no matter how low the fees are and how mild the restrictions are. HOAs/POAs attract the worst that humanity has to offer: liars, bullies, and thieves, who will lie and bully their way into ever more power, ever more restrictions, ever higher fees. HOAs/POAs are a cancer: worse than cancer, because there is no cure, and they only get worse. Inevitably, inexorably worse.

Here are some memes I made. They’re supposed to be funny. Comedy is hard.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Liars and bullies love POAs.

Thursday, 2014-06-12

Musings on a power outage

Filed under: Home — bblackmoor @ 10:07

The power has been out about five hours as I write this. I’m conserving my laptop battery, and I hope it lasts until power is restored.

I’m glad it’s cool out. I can’t bear the heat. If it warms up later, I’ll have to go down into the basement, or get in my car and drive somewhere. I don’t want to spend any money, though, and I know if I drive around, I’ll be tempted to buy a hamburger or an egg McMuffin or something. I can’t make coffee or even a bowl of cereal. So far I have had a couple of bananas, the last few Oreos, and a couple of glasses of warm cola. Breakfast of champions.

I have been trying to think of things do that don’t require electricity. I have our Red Cross radio on some local “classic rock” station. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Teenage Wasteland, that sort of thing. There is a lot of yard work I would like to do, but between everything being wet from the storm and my not having any way to clean up afterward (we have well water, so no power means no water), I probably won’t be doing yard work today.

However, there are things I can do. For example, I have been straddling two different laptop bags for over a year now. Yes, that’s ridiculous. It’s just been really low on my to-do list. But now I have gone through all of pouches and pockets of my old laptop bag, tossed a lot of things I never used (or just plain garbage), and moved the rest to various pouches in the new laptop bag. So hooray, I’ve accomplished something. That took the better part of an hour, if you include the time I have spent playing with Vixen.

I’ve also been playing with Vixen, of course. She seems to sense that something isn’t quite right, but she’s been making the most of it, batting around and chasing the odd little gizmos I pulled out of my old laptop bag but hadn’t yet thrown away or put into the new laptop bag. Now she’s taking a break and lounging on my calves.

I think I may tackle the pile of paperwork that’s been piling up on my desk. Old receipts, work orders from repair work on our house, that sort of thing.

Oh, hey! The power just came back on! Yay! Now I can spend the next two hours reading Facebook….

[ten minutes later]

And now the power’s back off. I had ten minutes of power, and I wasted it on Facebook (what, you thought I was kidding?). Well, when the power comes on again (if it does), I certainly won’t be wasting it! The first thing I will do is make a pot of coffee. After that, I will read my email. After that… I’m not sure.

I guess I will go ahead and sort out those papers now.

[later]

The power is on, I have a hot cup of coffee, and I am making a dent in these papers.

Friday, 2013-08-02

Snakes and stones

Filed under: Home,Nature — bblackmoor @ 11:38

rocksrockssnake

I was taking out the trash when I noticed that one of the rocks next to our front steps had a spot of yellow on it. I picked up a few rocks, looking at each, and I found three rocks that had letters painted on them: “HYD”, “HYDRANGEA”, and “BLEED”. After stepping back to take a photo, I realized that I’d also found something else. As the saying goes, if it’d been a snake it would have bit me.

It didn’t bite me.

Wednesday, 2013-07-31

Protected: Mountain Brook elections 2013

Filed under: Friends,Home — bblackmoor @ 17:15

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Sunday, 2013-05-19

Review: Logitech Harmony Ultimate

Filed under: Home,Technology,Television — bblackmoor @ 11:19
Harmony Ultimate

I received a Harmony Ultimate from Logitech because I own several Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote remotes and have recommended them highly. I was looking forward to the Harmony Ultimate, since I had given an unfavorable review to the Harmony Touch, and I was hoping that the Harmony Ultimate would correct the design deficiencies of the Harmony Touch. It does correct some problems, but it also introduces new ones. Here are some good things and bad things:

Good things:

  1. The removal of the number buttons to make the Harmony Ultimate a more convenient size was a good move. The on-screen numbers are easy to find, when they are needed.
  2. Overall, the size of the Harmony Ultimate is convenient and comfortable.
  3. Most of my settings were successfully imported from one of my Harmony One settings, so that saved me some time during set-up.
  4. Having a dedicated button for the DVR and for the four colored buttons is a great addition.
  5. The remote comes with a “hub” and a pair of “IR blasters”, which one could place in a cabinet to control concealed electronics. That’s nice, I suppose.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few things that make the Harmony Ultimate a bad fit for my living room experience.

  1. The location of the play-stop-forward-reverse buttons to above the screen makes using the Harmony Ultimate more awkward than using the Harmony One, even though the Harmony One is significantly larger. Using the play-stop-forward-reverse buttons on the Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote can be done one-handed. On the Harmony Ultimate it requires awkwardly shifting the position of the hand, or using two hands. This is a significant step backward in usability. However, what’s worse is….
  2. Putting the touch-sensitive screen between the play-stop-forward-reverse buttons and the up-down-left-right buttons is a terrible design. I was constantly hitting the screen when trying to use the play-stop-forward-reverse buttons, causing all sorts of mayhem. This rendered the remote useless.
  3. The addition of “favorite channels” is a needless complication. Every DVR has favorite channel lists built in.
  4. The Harmony Ultimate itself does not control a Roku box. The remote *only* sends commands to the Roku box through the “IR blaster” widgets. For me, this would require putting the Harmony Ultimate “hub” in my already crowded entertainment cabinet and re-arranging it so that the Roku box can face one of the “IR blasters”. Why not just have the remote itself send the commands? That’s what the Harmony One does,and it works perfectly. Even the Harmony Touch was able to get this right. This is a bad design.
  5. The Harmony Ultimate does not have physical buttons for “skip forward” and “skip backward”. To activate those frequently-used commands, you have to hold down the “fast forward” and “rewind” buttons. This is a bad design.
  6. There is no obvious way to access the commands for Devices, in order to send a command directly to one of your components. On the Harmony One, the “Devices” button is always easily accessible at the bottom of the screen. On the Harmony Ultimate, the Devices button is hidden in an on-screen sub-menu.
  7. After the activities are set up, they are listed on the screen, much like they are on the Harmony One (a great improvement over the Harmony Touch). However, the on-screen button for the bottom-most activity is located *behind* the on-screen “Menu” button for the remote itself (this menu is where the “Devices” menu is hidden). This makes accessing that fourth activity … difficult.

Conclusion: in a world where the Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote had never been invented, the Harmony Ultimate would be a nice addition to any living room. However, the Harmony One does exist, and has existed for years. That being the case, there is really no excuse for the flaws in the design of the Harmony Touch.

Suggestions for the Harmony Two, or the Harmony Ultimate Plus, or whatever the next version will be called:

  1. Put all of the physical buttons, including the play-stop-forward-reverse buttons, below the screen, where the user can reach them with one hand.
  2. Have physical buttons for “skip forward” and “skip backward”, located beneath the “fast forward” and “rewind” buttons, as the Harmony One currently does.
  3. Do not put any physical buttons above the touch-sensitive screen.
  4. Eliminate the “Favorites” screen and replace it with a list of the user’s “Devices”.

Monday, 2012-11-05

Lady Scrubbins

Filed under: Friends,Home — bblackmoor @ 09:46
Lady Scrubbins Old-Fashioned Goat's Milk Soap

By the way, that great-smelling soap that everyone was drooling over at the Halloween party is from Lady Scrubbins. You can order it on the Lady Scrubbins web site.

P.S. If you enter the coupon code “SIXFER” you can buy six bars for $25.

P.P.S. Here is a link to their Facebook page.

Sunday, 2012-11-04

7th Annual Blackmoor Halloween Party review

Filed under: Friends,Home — bblackmoor @ 23:21
Scary!

Another Halloween has come and gone, and the Blackmoor Halloween Party has gone with it. In our opinion, this year’s party was a great success, and possibly the best Halloween party we’ve ever hosted. At least, we think so. We hope that the people who came enjoyed themselves, as well. We love Halloween (we got married on it!), and have always thought of it as “our” holiday (although I guess everyone does), and we love sharing the festivities with people.

We don’t get to see any of our old friends as often as we’d like, and it was great seeing so many of our best and oldest friends. We are touched and grateful that our friends were willing to drive two, three, or even more hours to join us. It was also wonderful to spend some time with one of our new neighbors, and a few of our newest friends.

And now: photos! Not of everyone, alas, but I got almost everyone at least once.

P.S. I just counted the kids in our photos from Halloween night — 50 trick or treaters! That’s outstanding!

Tuesday, 2012-10-16

Bugs and mopping

Filed under: Gaming,Home,Work,Writing — bblackmoor @ 20:06
angry mop man

What a day. I tracked down a very devious bug of my own design and fixed it, so hopefully that project I am two days behind on will be finished before I am four days behind on it.

Then I cleaned the hot tub thoroughly with a mop and a bucket of bleach-water, in the dark. Thank goodness for security lights and cotton string mops! There’s nothing quite like a cotton string mop for a job like that. Then I filled the tub and started it up. The pump is running and the tub doesn’t appear to be leaking, but there’s a lot of water splashed all over the place so I can’t be absolutely certain about the lack of leaking. The current water temperature is 58 degrees — let’s hope the temperature rises!

And now I get to spend the next couple of hours before bedtime working on the Character Sheet Helper for Bulletproof Blues. I have renamed it from “Character Builder” in the hope that the new name will better convey the notion that this spreadsheet isn’t required to play the game: its main purpose is to help make attractive, easy-to-share character sheets.

Saturday, 2012-09-29

The wild, wild life

Filed under: Home,Nature — bblackmoor @ 16:53
The Hole

The wildlife around here is pretty amazing. Other than the usual birds and squirrels, in the last 24 hours I have seen a bunny, a deer, a huge possum, a tiny frog, and some kind of tiny, ground dwelling yellow-jackets.

The Hole

The possum led us to the yellow-jackets. Last night we were watching Cabin In The Woods (which isn’t bad, if a little slow and predictable). Suddenly, the motion-sensing light on the balcony came on, startling us. Looking out, we saw a huge grey skull-faced animal walking along the railing: a possum! It wandered around, but had meandered away by the time I got the camera.

The Nest

This morning I was out back, spreading grass seed and generally looking around, and I found a huge hole. Could this be why the possum was on our deck? Had it taken up residence? Crawling closer, a bug flew out. I backed off, and it flew back in the hole. Huh? I crept closer again… and a bug came out again and flew toward me. I backed off again.

The Hole

I retrieved the camera and took some zoomed-in photos. Examining the photos, it’s clear that these are yellow-jackets. Did they take over the possum’s hole and drive it away? If so, where has it gone? In any case, tonight I’ll need to do something about the yellow-jackets.

P.S. Here is a photo of that tiny frog.