Keeping Score

Here are the winter milestones to keep track of during this winter. I go through this every winter. However, I am in a new location this winter, so we need to make new dates.

December 4th – Average high falls to the freezing mark. Note: Using Chaska coop data for temps.

December 10th – Sunsets start getting later. Earliest sunset is 433 PM in Shakopee. This compares to 420 PM in Duluth.

January 2nd – Sunrises start getting earlier. Latest Sunrise is 752 AM.

January 14th – Coldest day of the year on average. Average high of 23, low of 3 above.

January 16th – Sunset is 5 PM.

February 16th – Average high hits the freezing mark.

February 28th – Sunset is 6 PM.

March 11 – Daylight Saving Time – Sunset on this day is 715 PM CDT.

March 29th – Average high hits 50. Also the average date when the last 1 inch or greater snowfall occurs.

April 6th – Average low reaches 32.

April 16th – Sunset is at 8 PM.


  • Found a site that specializes in replacement parts for your old Atari stuff. That would be In my previous post I mentioned my reset switch was broke. Yep, they have those.
  • The Zoyx Compound has fallen below the 10 deg F mark for the first time this season. Below zero readings are the next benchmark. The temperature has fallen from 56 to 7 degrees in the past 40 hours. Yesterday my pond was still open. This morning, a solid sheet of ice. The canadian geese were sitting on top of the ice. They have since flown off. Single digit temperature readings should be enough of a clue that they should hit the road.
  • I called the water softener rental dude yesterday, asking him to collect his equipment. He then proceeded to send me on a guilt trip for buying my own Whirlpool water softener. He told me the softener will fail within 1 to 2 years, and that I should return it promptly. Given, I have made decisions of price over quality, and have been burned. Heck, he might be right about my new softener failing in a year or two. I still don’t appreciate the FUD spewing from his mouth.
  • I received “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” from NetFlix. The main theme from the movie that I got from it was, “drugs are bad”. I am sure there are some members of our society who view that movie and see, “drugs are good”. A quote from Hunter S. Thomson himself, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

Atari Retro Action

I brought out the old Atari 2600 system this morning. Must be the first time in over 3 years.

What got me going was the 2600 high scoring club found at the forums. Cool, some competition! I found my old high scores from back in the day. Looks like I have some work to do to catch up to the elite players. The fun thing that happened was that I started up Turmoil, and the first game I played, I broke my teenager high score. I’m not sure I can explain that. You’d think my 42 year old reflexes would of been a handicap. Must be all of those FPS games I play on the PC, increasing my skills.

The old system needs some care. For instance, some of the games don’t work. I suspect it is just dirty contacts, nothing a little isopropyl alcohol can’t fix. Also the exterior is a bit dusty, this is where the Armor All comes in handy. You can also see that the reset switch broke (click on thumb image). I have no clue when that happened. It was there the last time a played. I will have to see what my options are as far as fixing that.

This is an original generation Atari 2600. It was still called the Atari VCS at the time. I believe I bought my Atari in the Winter of 1978-79… so that would make me 14 years old. I had to spend my own money ($140), parents wouldn’t chip in on this. The first game I bought was Space Invaders… Breakout soon followed.

Clown Song

Someone finally posted the music video for “The Clown Song” by P-Control on YouTube. Looks like they uploaded it over 2 months ago and I am finally noticing. But at any rate, this fun and somewhat creepy video is below. Go ahead, play it at your next disco party! I sure will.


I finally sign up for Netflix. I join the 1 movie at a time plan because I am not the big movie watcher. My first movie I request is “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. It arrives. It is the bonus material, not the actual movie. Fuck Netflix.

All About Water Softeners

I’ve never needed a water softener, not until now. I am not hooked up to city sewer or water. I have a septic drain field for sewer, and I am part of a community water system. The community water has lots of iron in it. That is why the previous owner had a rental water softener installed.

I filled the hot tub from an outdoor faucet. The outdoor faucets are not hooked up to the water softener. The water just looked cloudy when the hot tub was being filled. After heating the hot tub up and adding chemicals to it, the iron precipitated out. The water quickly became a dark rust color, and the filter became iron choked. I had to empty the hot tub and refill from an indoor faucet that was tapped into the water softener. The water stayed clear this time.

The toilets in my house aren’t hooked up to the water softener either. In a couple days, without cleaning, the water in the bowl has a wonderful, pre-yellowed look to them. This is from rust collecting in the bowl. Looks like I need to clean the bowls a little more often than what I am used to.

As I type, a plumber is plugging in a water softener I purchased. This new one only recharges after I have used a certain amount of water. The rental unit I am replacing is set on a timer and recharges once a day, whether it needs to or not. So the newer water softener should use considerably less salt. The rental unit costs $30 a month, while this new unit has a one time cost of about $500. So I am thinking this new unit will pay for itself in less than two years.

As far as today’s picture (click on thumb), that is a port-a-potty with one way mirrors installed. The person using it can look outside, the people outside can only see the mirrors. I believe this item is quite old… I think I first heard about this about a year and a half ago.

Edit: Okay, final cost was $700. Plumber took his sweet time. Now it will take right about 2 years to pay for this water softener.

Ground Zero

I went to the Ground Zero night club in Minneapolis last night. I did this trip alone because none of my friends are quite into the Ground Zero freak show that I am. I swore I went to this club last year, but it has been a full two years since I made my presence known there (the post from the last time I was there). Odd thing about this visit was that they played a lot of music that I recognized. I was feeling pretty darn hip for awhile. Then it hit me that they were playing tried and true industrial classics just for people like me. A couple of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode hard remixes, Ministry, Rob Zombie, KMFDM, Convenant, Prodigy, VNV Nation, etc. People like the occasional new exciting things, but they seem to eventually settle back to what is comfortable. Around 100 AM they started playing music that I didn’t know. I noticed I was starting to yawn quite bit by this time, so I drove the 32 miles back to my house in the boonies.

Blind Date’s Son Has an Accident Day

You meet your date at a local Coffee Shop at around 3 PM. A friendly greeting is exchanged, you purchase your Chai Teas, and then sit in somewhat comfortable vinyl seats. Small talk ensues. The only uncomfortable moment was when you announce that the video game she has purchased for her son, contains large quantities of satanic content. About fifteen minutes into the conversation, her cell phone rings. After an exchange, she very calmly tells the person on the other side that she will be there in 15 to 20 minutes. After hanging up, she explains her son has been in a fender bender, and she needs to leave to go pick him up and have the car taken care of. While she drains the last of her Chai Tea, you ask her why she mentioned puppies during the conversation. “What?”, she exclaims.

Says you, “You said to ‘make sure to bring the puppies’ during that phone call with your son.”

Her face tightens, then says, “You know too much!”. She then whips out a billy club, and whacks you over the top of your head, knocking you out. As she is dragging you out of the Coffee Shop, she explains to the other patrons, “Must be an allergic reaction to the Chai”.

You awaken feeling very groggy. You take inventory… dark now… a bit chilly… some hubbub of people around you… wood smoke smell. You stir and open your eyes. Your eyes clear and you see a pyre of flame with people mingling around. You are on an outdoor lounge chair. Your afternoon date sees you stir and approaches. After a few blurry words between the two of you, she says, “You are probably wondering what this is all about. We are here to make offerings to our spirit to appease him.”

“What did you do to piss him off?”.

She replies, “My son had a brain hemorrhage as a result of his car accident. Western medicine was performed on my son to keep the swelling down and to keep him alive. Western medicine goes against our teachings and displeases the great one. So we must appease our spirit in order to repel his wrath.”

“Ahh. So what are we going to sacrifice today?”

Cute puppies. Adorable puppies are the only thing that will appease the malignant spirit. Thats the name of our religion, Church of the Malignant Spirit”.

You feel your head and the conversation before your head got bonked comes back. “Interesting cult. So no virgins?”

Her comeback, “Thats where you come in. No we’re not a cult”.

“Oh. One problem, not a virgin. Am I free to leave now, since you won’t need my services?”

With some force she says, “NO! You must stay!”

“Yep, I’m in a cult then. Otherwise I would be free to go. What is that guy doing, He appears to be humping a deer carcass.1

“Something new to the ritual. Just came down from the spirit”, she says.

“Who is in charge of communicating with the spirit?”

“That would be the guy humping the deer carcass. His name is Kyle.” Now yelling at Kyle, “Can you hurry it up over there Kyle, you are putting a lot of us off our feed”.

“Ah. This is making more and more sense.”

“Enough chit-chat. Need to get back to the ceremony.” She then whacks you over the head again, knocking you out. After five cute and cuddly puppies are fed into the fire, you, the “virgin”, are then dumped into the blaze.

Happy “Blind Date’s Son Has an Accident” Day!