I’ve been using Agnitum’s Outpost firewall for several years.  Like it alot and have recommended it.  Unfortunately Agnitum’s been bought out, and the firewall will be going away in short order.

For those of us with paid licenses they’re offering two years free of Kaspersky’s firewall.  Kaspersky’s not one I’d looked at closely, but doing so now I was less than thrilled.  Better than nothing, but not something I’m going to want to use long term probably.  I’d about decided to take the free install till I could find something else, when I discovered that Kaspersky doesn’t play well with my antivirus of choice.


Doing more poking around I ran across Comodo’s firewall.  Reviews look good, other than the usual “watch what check boxes you leave checked during install” thats pretty standard these days.  Anyone have any input on it?  Or for that matter, have a different firewall you use?  This is a Windows 7 machine, and though I keep saying I’m going to duel boot with Mint the Win7 side won’t be going away any time soon due to having too many programs that need Windows……


I was doing so well this  year……but I’m pretty sure I managed to pick up the virus thats been going around work.

Nausea–check (though I haven’t actually vomited ThankYouGod)



the feeling of having a fever without actually having a fever (alternately hot and cold with full body aches)–check

The doctor confirmed its not the flu, and yup, its viral, if it doesn’t go away in a few days to a week call us back.  Its the fever symptoms that are really getting to me though.  The house is currently 60degrees, and I’m SWEATING.  Which means that in a little bit I’ll have the chills…..and the full body ache absolutely sucks.  At least if I actually had a fever I’d understand WHY I feel this way!


Here’s a couple pictures of the wintering broccoli:

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Since yesterday was so (comparably) warm I opened it up, watered everything, and (after taking the pictures) did some weeding.  Yup.  Weeding.  Between the covers and the lights the tire-beds have been so warm that there’s weeds growing (and not just grass).  As part of the weeding process I pulled up the batch of radishes that I planted (in one of the end tires) back in the fall.  The radishes had never formed bulbs, but I’d left them in place just to see what would happen.  Well, sometime in the last three weeks they formed bulbs.

I’m utterly delighted with how this turned out.  Over this coming summer I’ll be looking at turning it into a more permanent structure that can be more easily moved than my quick and dirty A frame structure here so that I can rotate it around the garden and cover different sets of tire-beds each winter.  Although this setup works just fine for now, that much pressure treated wood is going to be a massive PIA to move and store without breaking it all the way down.  I’m thinking 1/2″ metal electrical conduit bent into U shapes and attached to a couple of base boards ought to do it, but I’ll have to play around.  Most lettuce, for example, is plenty cold hardy enough to grow in something like this.  We’d love to have fresh home grown salad all winter!  I’ve done some lettuce under lights inside the house, but it never heads right that way.


Mother Nature finally decided she’d better get her ass in gear and give us a proper winter.  Between late Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon we got a solid foot of snow.

The dogs are thrilled.


I was perfectly happy not having had to do any shoveling yet this winter…..

(Tomorrow, Friday, is predicted to have a high of 40……)


Between this last drawing, and the one before it, I won a whole $12!  Woohoo!

Before someone points out the odds, I didn’t really expect to win the big one, I would have happily settled for a 3rd place prize of $50k.  Also the money spent on tickets came from the “fun and pizza” part of the budget, so we’re not shorting ourselves.  I didn’t even bother to watch it on TV last night, just checked the numbers this morning when I got up.

Recording Kerosene Sales?

Recently the Hess gas stations in my area were bought out by a company called Speedway.  I’d never heard of Speedway before, but they kept their prices comparable to the Hess before them (Hess having been one of the cheapest stations in my immediate area), and other than the signage changes there didn’t seem to be any other significant changes.

We bought alot of our kerosene at Hess, and then Speedway.  Although our primary heating source is wood we do have a kerosene burning furnace in the house, and it kicks on during overnights and when Husband and I aren’t home for extended periods (such as during the work week).  We can get kerosene delivered from the fuel company, but they charge quite a bit more per gallon, a “rural delivery fee”, than if we bought it by the gallon at the pump.  So instead Husband and I will occasionally toss the kerosene cans into the back of one of the cars and on our way home from work stop off at Hess/Speedway to fill them to add to the tank.

We’d been a bit lax about keeping up the practice this fall, the warm weather had us being lazy since the furnace was barely running.  But the cold snap kicked us into gear.

And then we discovered that Speedway is now recording all kerosene sales.  They have a “signature sheet”, which records name/address/gallons purchased/signature, where your signature says you agree that the kerosene purchased will be used for residential heating and not for vehicles (which is supposed to be taxed).

Now we’re using it for residential heating, no problem there.  And they’re not checking ID or anything, infact they’re handing the sheet to you to fill out and then stuff it back under the counter without even looking at it.  But I find myself not liking it.  I’m not a HUGE privacy conspiracist, but at the same time I feel like I’m already getting tracked for everything everywhere and now they’re tracking my heating fuel purchases too??

I hit the internet, and a quick search didn’t turn up anything about legal requirements for this record keeping.  Does anyone know of any such that I couldn’t find?

If it’s not a legal requirement I find myself in a bit of a bind.  First off, if we were buying it from the fuel delivery folks they’d certainly be recording it.  Second, Speedway is the only station that we pass by on any kind of a regular basis that sells kerosene.  There are others in the area who sell it, but none of them are convenient.  And the last time I did go to buy kerosene from one of the others I found their price to be almost as high as the fuel companies prices.  I suppose I could just fill in bogus info on the sheet, since the clerk isn’t checking it when I fill it out.  But that seems like a bigger risk, since if someone DOES go back to actually check the info for some reason the bogus info would likely stand out.

Choices choices……

I’m calling success

According to Weather Underground (which has a weather station less than a mile from me) we dropped to a low of 5 degrees last night.

Here’s the thermometer that I placed under the covers with the broccoli:



According to that, it recorded a low of 38.1 degrees with in the last 24hrs.

I’ll say that works just fine!

Politician pay raises…..

Onondaga County NY (where I used to live) politicians have decided to give themselves a raise.  27% for the County Executive, and 15% for most of the rest of the county politicians.

The excuse?  Its been 8yrs since the last raise and:

even kids working at McDonald’s have had raises in that time.

There’s just one teensy little problem with that comparison……

Nobody, not nobody, in store level retail or food service, receives a 15-27% raise for staying in the same position.  Not in today’s economy!  And not for the past several years.  Certainly the largest raise I’ve ever gotten, with an Excellent yearly review, while staying in the same position, was barely 2%.  It was, btw, a whole $0.25 increase in hourly wage.  I guess, if you want to assume 2% times 8yrs I MIGHT see a 15-16% raise.  But in all honesty?  Not really…..

The County Exec will be receiving an additional $33,000 a year.

I don’t have a problem with the concept that someone who’s been in the same position for an extended period, who you feel has done the job well, deserves a raise.  But 15-27%??  No fucking way……


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When I went out early afternoon and checked the thermometer it said the temp had been holding nicely at 20degrees over air temp.  So barring anything drastic the broccoli should be fine.  Cross your fingers!

That’s a double layer of fabric frost protection cloth, with a layer of plastic sheeting over that (I don’t remember what mils, it was what we had around the house), and a single strand of non-LED C9 christmas lights string on hooks on the underside of the A-frame supports (1×6 pressure treated boards left over from building the front steps, the boards aren’t IN the tire-beds, but braced outside it, so the chemicals from the boards shouldn’t be a problem).  Once this weather is past I’ll pull off the plastic and unplug the lights, but leave the frames and cloth in place.  That way if the weather swings again all I have to do is plug back in the lights and re-drape the plastic.

Dear Mother Nature…..

…..I wasn’t actually COMPLAINING about the warm winter, I really wasn’t!

If you scroll down a little to the end of my last post you’ll find a screenshot from Weather Underground with the weather prediction for the (then) coming 10 days.

Take note of the weather predictions for the 3rd and 4th.

Then come back here and compare to the same days on this one:


I’m not sure when it changed, but it was Thursday evening when I noticed it.  Spent a couple hours on Friday scrambling to arrange freeze protection for the Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the garden.  Its supposed to be tolerant down to 10 Fahrenheit, but Monday’s low would be pushing it regardless.  So its now covered in a makeshift tent of fabric frost cover, plastic sheeting, and old style Christmas lights in an attempt to keep it from freezing tonight and tomorrow.  I’ll try to get a picture of it later today.  I did toss a digital thermometer into the setup, one that records the high and low for the last 24hrs, so we’ll see what it actually hits in there.