An “Interesting” couple of weeks

For those wondering where I’ve been the last couple of weeks…

I’d finally found a place I liked. Close to work. Nice small kitchen in an afordable studio, at a hotel so no 12 month leases. Had gone to the desk mid week and said “I’d like to extend” and held up my credit card with a “Pay now?” question. Got told “Sure. Everything is fine” as some tapping on the keyboard was done (that I’d assumed was logging the extension). Then was told “Pay anytime, even up to Sunday” (my “prior” scheduled check out date).

Well, Saturday comes and I decide not to wait to the last minute and go to pay the next week. “No room for you”… I’m told they are all booked up with reservations.

After a modestly long “discussion” of who said what to whom when… “All booked up” was repeated.

So Sunday 2 weeks back I was all loaded into my small car again and looking for a place to be again and not liking it. It turns out that about mid July it suddenly becomes “High Season”. Why is a bit confusing, since summer in the tropics is NOT the best season. It is hotter and more rainy. But since a load of folks have August off in the EU, and since the USA is out of school then, it is “High Season”. The Motel 6 Studio had (most likely IMHO) a consolidator reserve all the rooms and likely will be parcelling them out via ‘tours’ (and my clerk was too junior to know that would happen and reserve the room when I asked to extend). The Travelodge that had been $30 / might on the weekly rate wanted $69 / night. (Yet still had $49 / night or some such on their sign out front… more bait and switch…) So I skipped them.

I ended up at a hotel about 6 miles further from work, more on the edge of things. Nice place, with decent rooms, and a choice of daily, weekly, or monthly rates. About $210 / week or $680 / month (plus taxes puts it up to about $770? something like that.) I get moved in.

First off, I have to do my usual room decontamination routine as it smells of tobacco smoke. Takes 4 runs over 2 days (alternating ammonia and vinegar sprays); but I get it done “well enough”. Then, having had sleep issues that whole time, I’m in the room about dinner time and find tobacco smell coming in again. Turns out I’m upstairs, and downstairs 2 doors ‘upwind’ are some folks who like to stand outside their door and smoke. Which then rises and drifts with the ambient wind right past my door and A/C. Which pulls it into the room… I have a choice of “be hot” or “breath”…

Eventually I figure out when they smoke (about 8 am and after dinner and mid-day) and turn of the A/C only then. As this was the LAST room available, changing rooms was not an option. I also figure out that the ‘central bathroom ventilation’ that makes for a very quiet bathroom, also means constant air intrusion from the front door area which means consistent smoke “suckage”. A custom cut piece of paper sucked into place over the vent gives me an “off switch”… Now I can modulate both the AC and the vent. I finally get to sleep through the night.

Last Sunday I was able to move “downstairs”. Once again, 2 days of cleaning up the room and decontaminating surfaces. The rooms may be officially “non-smoking”, but the people who have stayed in them are not… Many rooms have an old coffee can of sand stuffed with cigarette butts just outside the doors… About last Wednesay, I got this room to the point of being OK, and figured out the T.O.D. that the guy just upwind of me chooses to smoke outside his door. This is a bit better than the upstairs choice, but still “has issues”. Oh, and this room A/C is not as quiet nor as effective as the other room.

Bottom line: I’m going to be hotel hunting again. But would be anyway this time. The spouse is joining me for a week or two, and I need to go “upscale” for her anyway.

Along the way did yet more exploration of Motor Homes, Campers (Caravans) and all. Also did more looking into apartments. Hard to find things without a 12 month lease. (As a contractor who can be ‘let go’ at any time based on any business slowdown or ANY level of management wanting to redeploy the money to another use: I can’t sign a 12 month lease with a 2 week paycheck visibility…) Sigh.

So, like it or not, I’m still in the “Finding Housing” trap. Just with a smokey room that’s twice as far from work. So I’ve been very busy on that and just not getting to the blog. My apologies.

The Car

I’ve also been living without A/C in the car, and it is a very tight fit to get everything packed into it. I’d not expected to be “living out of the car” this long (figuring on a more perment solution by now). It also needed some other maintenance and then, last Wenesday? or so, the rear suspension sway bar link broke. (That do that some times). It makes a clunk sound on turns in one direction that can sound a bit like a wheel bearing failure. So I worked in “be a pedestrian” for a couple of days WHILE all the rest was going on and WHILE showing up at work every day.

The bottom line there was that I dumped $400 on what ought to have been about a $200 repair and learned that the Pep Boys in “Celebration, Florida” indulge in some serious “up selling”. Wanted to replace ALL the belts on the car and the hoses too. I declined, as I know the history of them and they do NOT need replacing. Only the A/C belt has a nick in it (that I put there) and it is quite servicable. Besides, the A/C isn’t working for other reasons anyway…

So I bought another car. For not much money (We’re talking ‘about $1k’ plus tires) I got a nice late ’80s Mercedes SEL. Pictures on “another day”. It’s in pretty good condition (though will likely need either a drive line fix by way of new flex disk bolts and maybe flex disks – which I hope – or via a transmission fix for rough shifts out of 4 th gear – which I hope it is not… but it will work fine for a few months in any case, while the other car gets fixed up.) But at least now I can easily pack all my stuff into a giant trunk and not care so much; plus have working A/C in August when the spouse comes to visit. For less than the cost of a rental car for the 3 or 4 weeks all that will take. Basically, if the car runs a month, I’m money ahead.

A friend will be helping get the SLC in for more significant repairs in the next month or so, as I look for both a better hotel for the first 1/2 of August, and more permanent housing. (again…)

Such is the life of an itenerant contract worker.

But at least I’ve got a few bucks to spend on things like new tires and car repairs and meals and…

I’ve also got about a half dozen hand written sets of notes for other postings. One on CO2 and IR, complete with reference links, showing that it is only top of the troposphere into the stratosphere that matters. But that is for another time. (I hope to at least get it started into the typing / posting phase this afternoon).

But for now figured I needed to do a “what’s up” posting just to bring folks up to speed on the Soap Opera of “living on the road”.

Galaxy Note

I know I have a prior posting where this really belongs, but it takes less time to put it here.

Having lived with the new Galaxy Note for a few weeks. I like it, but it is not a replacement for a real laptop computer.

The issues are mostly “fixable”, but still issues all the same.

First off, it is more OUTPUT oriented than INPUT. It’s just a royal pain the the petute to try to do things like ‘cut paste’ text and links to make a posting. Then typing is dirt slow. Fine for typing a search term into Craig’s List to look at cars; lousy for ‘production typing’ couple of page posting. Perhaps with an added keyboard and mouse…


It is an Android device. So a LOT of places and web pages detect that and treat it like a phone. OK, I’ve got a 10 inch screen, and I’m still getting pages designed for dinky phones. Others simply do not support Android (not that many, but an anoyance) and still others put you into App Land. So, for example, to watch Dexter on DirectTV, I have to dig out the laptop. DirecTV wants me to install some Google App to (maybe) see it on the Galaxy Note. I don’t particularly want that App reporting my life and viewing habits to Google. (And don’t even know if it will work right…) All because the browser can’t be treated like more normal browsers.

So for most general purpose “browsing and reading” it is fine. For my intended purpose of “take notes” it is quite fine. For the odd checking email and all, still fine (and works well with my “hotspot”). But for real production computing, not so much.

If you want a very small fully functional and non-odd computer, get some kind of ultra light note-book, not a tablet. If you want a ‘better than a phone’, get the tablet.

I’d shudder at the idea of trying to create a PowerPoint presentation on the Note, or tyring to knock out a 20 page proposal with a mix of text via typing, cut-paste, and links to sites; just as one example.

In Conclusion

So that’s the update. I’m hoping now that some of the car issues are behind me, and that I’m likely to have a slightly better hotel / housing solution “real soon now”, life will start to become more normal. Heck, just not needing to do a lot of ‘air management’ while trying to sleep would be a big improvement ;-)

With that, on to the next posting ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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35 Responses to An “Interesting” couple of weeks

  1. omanuel says:

    Good to hear from you.

  2. Petrossa says:

    about the Galaxy: Told you so :)

  3. Thinking Heretic says:

    Nice to see you back.

  4. Steve C says:

    Maybe you should consider buying a camper van next time ;-)
    Good to know it was “just” real life playing up again, and nice to see you back.

  5. JP Miller says:

    Ugh, so sorry to hear about your hassles. Hope you do find a suitable place for the longer term. Florida in summer is not good without the right A/C.

  6. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. Come on E.M.! you had all of us worried about you for TWO weeks, so we are sincerely guessing you have been making a computer program for a NWO´s Dark Quantum Computer :-)

  7. Great to know all is (almost) well. I still plan to dine at Grandma’s Kitchen, Kissimmee around 6:15 p.m on Thursday, August 1. Hope you can make it.

  8. Zeke says:

    Perhaps you should let Mrs.Smith find the place to stay. (;

    Glad to see you.

  9. R. Shearer says:


  10. marchesarosa says:

    So glad to hear you’re OK, Chiefio.

  11. Gail Combs says:

    Glad you are OK.

    On the cigarette smoke problem. Use a shallow pan filled with baking soda. Works wonders with a lot less hassle. (I too have an allergy attack in the presence of cigarette smoke.)

  12. Eric Barnes says:

    Too bad the blogging doesn’t pay very well. I’ve missed your posts. Good luck w/ the rest of your time on the road. :)

  13. Sera says:

    For the smoke problem: Ask the front desk manager if they have an ionizer- just don’t run it while you are in the room.

    I just quit smoking (finally) by switching to vapor. It works.

  14. John F. Hultquist says:

    Good to hear from you – may things improve.

    And speaking of smoke, much is in the air to our NE and SW.
    Two big WA State wildfires. Winds have blown both plumes away from us but we can see the cloud forming over the one called the Colockum Tarps fire 20 miles away. Hope the big MODIS link works and then scroll to WA east of the Cascades.

  15. Bloke down the pub says:

    No need to apologise, but it did seem to be out of character for someone so well connected to the e-world. I thought perhaps the men in black had caught up with you.

  16. omanuel says:

    Many of us suspected the same fate for anyone who refuses to follow guidelines of the thought police.

    Sent from my iPhone

  17. omanuel says:

    Many of us probably thought Big Brother had silenced you.

    But BB is as powerless over Nature as the rest of us are.

    Belatedly I realized that my entire research career was spent getting information past the thought police after world leaders and scientists took Control of the world on 24 Oct 1945.

    Although I didn’t know it, I was trying to “leak” information past the gatekeepers.

    See message sent to the Space Science & Technology Committee of the House of Representatives on 17 July 2013:

    Click to access Creator_Destroyer_Sustainer_of_Life.pdf

    With kind regards, – Oliver K. Manuel Former NASA Principal Investigator for Apollo

    Sent from my iPhone

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; Your travails, as a contract worker, give new meaning to living paycheck to paycheck!
    Just remember “As long as you work for a living, You will never make money.”
    I Am glad to hear that your absents was merely caused by being too busy and nothing serious.
    I should talk, as I have neglected my blog for months, just having too much fun with other work! 8-) pg

  19. omanuel says:

    If you read p. 9 you will understand that mainstream astronomers all believed the interior of the Sun was mostly iron in 1945, and that they all changed their opinions in 1946 without discussion or debate.

    References 34-37 show that reality almost leaked past the gatekeepers in 1983.

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Science awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics to scientists at Caltech and University of Chicago who promoted the illusion of H-filled stars, although Hoyle himself was excluded from recognition for work based on his 1946 papers.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,

    Oliver K. Manuel

    Sent from my iPhone

  20. Mike B. says:

    Mid July is high season because the Midwesterners are in between their kids’ summer sport seasons and the start of school. And for the folks in the Southeast, the heat and humidity is ubiquitous, so they’re just happy to get away.

  21. Verity Jones says:

    Glad to know all’s well, if rather busy.

  22. Mike B. says:

    Question I was thinking of the other day….Have you ever considered Inverse ETFs such as DOG or SH instead of cash during bear markets?

  23. Tim Clark says:

    I was just required to replace my go-to-work vehicle last Monday. Bought another small pick-up, 2003 Chevy S-10 with 93k miles.. obviously, I buy old, cosmetically challenged vehicles with low mileage. Had $5,700 in the last one and drove for 134,000 miles, or 4.25 cts/mile depreciation and “major” repairs, which ranks about fourth best for me. I used to try to break my personal record low-cost, but I sold a jeep for more that I had in it due to cash for clunkers. But I still try.

  24. Tim Clark says:

    { Mike B. says:
    29 July 2013 at 7:04 pm
    Question I was thinking of the other day….Have you ever considered Inverse ETFs such as DOG or SH instead of cash during bear markets? }

    Go out on a limb–SDS.

  25. philjourdan says:

    Glad to see you return. It was getting lonely. In the interim, my mother went total retirement and bought a place in the “Villages”. I understand that is some big to do down your way. She is moving next month. Right on her 80th birthday.

  26. Power Grab says:

    Good to hear from you again.

    I was just about to relegate your link to the list of “Stuff I like to read but they got too busy having a REAL LIFE”.

  27. Thus far I have only two others who are planning to be at “Grandma’s Kitchen” in Kissimmee at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 1 to welcome Chiefio to the fine state of Florida.

    Will Chiefio be there? If he can’t make it, I have a nice cardboard replica.

  28. Robert Austin says:

    “that it is only top of the troposphere into the stratosphere that matters.”
    Looking forward to your post on this subject since I maintain that only in the upper troposphere and above does increasing CO2 concentration influence surface temperatures but the difference is miniscule to unmeasurable at present CO2 concentrations.

  29. If you live anywhere near Orlando please feel free to come to Grandma’s Kitchen tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

  30. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; glad to hear things are working out as well as can be expected for the life of a gypsy worker. Kind of like a high tech version “Grapes of Wrath”. Just remember, “You can’t make money if you work for a living” Good luck my friend. Maybe this is just a busmen’s holiday. ;-) pg

  31. E.M.Smith says:


    Sorry I could not make the dinner. We were pressing for a significant event on 8/2 and I was up to my eyeballs in work / focus and just didn’t see the message about it in time.

    I was also dealing with the Hotel From Hell and generally not getting quite enough quality sleep.

    Perhaps in a couple of weeks…

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    I’m here as a resident. It’s just that the process isn’t a clean and simple “Hire and move”. More of a “move and work, save money to buy as you can’t lease on a 12 month basis, and do it all while living ‘somewhere’…” But the money is good enough to make up for the “issues”.

    @Robert Austin:

    I’ve got a good set of notes on that… but didn’t get it written up this weekend either. Sigh. It has to do with the behaviour of optically dense paths… Maybe mid week, now that some living arrangement details have been settled.

  32. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: What a sharp observation: Kind of like a high tech version “Grapes of Wrath”.
    It shows the high resilience of human beings…… “In times of deepest darkness I´ve seen him dressed in black….” Carole King´s “Tapestry”

  33. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Adolfo; I am an optimistic realest. That must be the reason why I am always dressed in blue denim. There is always work that needs to be done, so I am rarely bored. ;-) pg

  34. Gail Combs says:

    p.g.sharrow says:
    5 August 2013 at 1:31 pm

    @Adolfo; I am an optimistic realest. That must be the reason why I am always dressed in blue denim. There is always work that needs to be done, so I am rarely bored. ;-) pg
    Blue denim? Of course I am always dressed in blue denim. As you say there is always work to be done.

  35. R. de Haan says:

    The greenest US Government liquidation:

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