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Old 01-28-2012, 02:59 PM   #9621
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Awake for every single second of it, baby. I'm pretty sure it was the size of telephone pole and coated in sandpaper.
I'm not sure if we're discussing the doctor's instruments or the object of their application, but I bet this one is good for about 40 double-entendres...

Back on track for a second, I hope everything came out all right is OK. And I sincerely hope this isn't associated with occupational exposure to ionizing radiation!
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:17 PM   #9622
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Gumby, it could be worse. I'll see your cystoscope and raise you a box of catheters. I've got a prostate biopsy lined up for Monday. Local anesthetic only. :-( Oy. They couldn't spare maybe a little happy juice?
Yes, it very well could have been worse. I hope everything goes well on Monday. I'll be thinking about you.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:22 PM   #9623
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Went to a meetup today in Dayton at the 2nd Street Market. Lots of neat stuff for sale. The reaction of my hip to the concrete floor reminded me why I retired.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:28 PM   #9624
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The "American Community Survey" census form is finally out of here. 38 minutes to research and complete, my ass. I had to look up old utility expenses and tax records to answer their questions.

They don't have a good category for "ER". I'm either going to get a phone call from the property appraiser or a social worker asking me if we need help paying our mortgage or sewer bill.

I sent snail-mail letters to Wounded Warrior Program and Fisher House about the book's royalties. The donations were made from my Fidelity charitable gift fund with the notation
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In honor of the contributors to the book "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement". Please use this contribution where it's needed most. See [blog URL] or e-mail [Nords].
That let me keep the donations anonymous (no name or address in their donor database) while providing them the book's contact information. I hope the followup letters will inspire a response.

I also sent letters to a local newspaper journalist & a radio show host. They might see a publicity difference between "writing a book" and "donated a bunch of royalty dollars". I also let them know about the seminar next month at Kailua Library, so maybe we'll get publicity out of that too.

In a couple weeks I have a guest post coming up in another popular personal-finance blog. It occurred to me that a bunch of their readers would come storming over to my blog and end up wandering around the sidebars in confusion over what to read next. So I spent a couple hours re-arranging the header menu and added a "**Start here!**" title. I was going to go with a static landing page of the "Start here" info but I decided that's mighty annoying after the first visit. Hopefully the menu option's not too subtle.

Note that rearranging all of those electrons did not actually generate a new post. Whaddya DO all day indeed.

I'm planning a rip-roaring Saturday night of paying some of Dad's bills and starting his tax returns. John Hancock sent his Form 1099-LTC today so all the pieces are in place...
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:11 PM   #9625
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I purchased a little fiberglass camper trailer in December and am having fun updating it.

My current project is to make it more electrically efficient so it can boondock longer on its battery power. I'm replacing the lights with LED panels off eBay and building little voltage regulators to protect the cheap LEDs. As an ME, my electronic knowledge is pretty basic, but you can learn anything on the internet. I've also discovered that you can buy just about any electronic component for pennies if you wait for it to be mailed from China.

I'm patient.
All right! Another ER member is going camping!

Prior to our long RV trip in summer 2011, I had converted most of the interior lights in our MH to LED, and I was very pleased. I had experimented with small circular LED panels like the following, at around $1.50 a piece. I bought samples from 3 different vendors, and although they all claimed "warm white", they were too yellowish, and one even a bit greenish. Additionally, I found that none of them put out enough light, which should not be surprising because the output was rated at only 90 lumens at a max current of less than 100mA.



So, I looked up the specs of the incandescent bulb that I was trying to replace, and found out that the common #1073 bulb put out 400 lumens, while consuming 23W. That seemed about right, as 4 of the circular LED panels appeared to be about as bright as the incandescent bulb. But I did not like the color.



So, I bought a sample of the following type, was pleased, and ended up buying 10 more. I paid something like $6/each on ebay. They were rated at 10W and put out 600 lumens. The color was soft white and even less yellowish than the incandescent. It was smaller than a penny. Even though the light output was diffused over a hemisphere (not focused like a LED flashlight), it was still so bright I could not look directly at it!



This LED assembly had an aluminum substrate, which had to be mounted onto a metal backplate for cooling, else the LED would burn up. It took 1A max at a voltage of around 10V. A regulator is a necessity, as the current rises up exponentially with voltage. The LED would be burned out with the 12V battery voltage, which even rises up to 14.4V when under charge.

So, I built a small regulator circuit, which along with the LED was mounted inside the stock light fixture. The circuit has a dimmer knob to control the light intensity. I found out that it was too bright, and set up the circuit such that the current would be no more than 0.6A, even when the user turned the knob to max level.

Thought I would mention this for you to try. You can get it from several Chinese vendors on ebay by searching for "LED 10W warm white".

PS. I have found that one can get 12V CFL fixtures that has the same efficiency as the above LED. However, I think I like the LED color better, plus the LED can be dimmed.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:49 AM   #9626
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I drove down to Aberdeen to look at another two properties for sale. One of them is a small vacant lot right in the middle of town, and the other about a quarter acre, which is actually in the adjoining smaller city of Cosmopolis. I'm still thinking about the small lot, which is even less expensive than the one I looked at last fall, but also not as nice a property. I'll pass on the other one. I can't afford to buy it right now and wouldn't pay what they are asking if I could.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:40 AM   #9627
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Cleared last nights 3-4" snowfall from around the property (walkways, deck, parking areas, etc) and refilled the woodbin. Then DW and I went to a college hockey game with SIL and a friend, then out to dinner at a new place.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:07 AM   #9628
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What I think of regarding Aberdeen: we were on a car trip and in Aberdeen I decided to take a nap while Lena drove. I woke up 45 min later and we were in the same place. Lena had gotten lost and driven in a big circle.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:29 PM   #9629
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For the tinkering RV'ers among us, I want to share how I frugally retrofitted the stock RV light fixtures. I drilled and mounted the dimmer knob, as shown below. I found a research paper showing how high temperatures would drastically shorten the life of these LEDs, but the metal back plate of the fixture was thin stock that would not conduct heat well. I took one lens cover off to show how I used a flattened 1" copper pipe strap as a heat spreader.



The underside photo shows the electronics tucked in the little recess space of the fixture. It is a switching regulator, less than 1 cubic inch in volume, that I designed using parts that I had on hand. My circuit is a DC/DC converter for better efficiency, but even so I still put a heatsink on the IC. It uses a small toroid inductor that is behind the electrolytic caps. There are several simpler linear regulator circuit diagrams that one can find on the Web and which would be easier to duplicate. But watch out for heat!!!

Each fixture was connected to the existing wiring with its own 1A inline fuse. Do not rely on the 20A main fuse, as it will take much less than 20A to set the electronic circuit on fire if something goes wrong!

I converted 9 of the RV fixtures, and when I turned them all on, my wife asked for her shades!

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Old 01-29-2012, 12:34 PM   #9630
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Enjoying a lazy morning on ER.org seeking wisdom as my DS is not feeling well and relaxing on the sofa next to me as he watch cartoons. DW and DD at church and off to have a girl's brunch.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #9631
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Went to see The Descendants and found it worthy of all its Oscar nominations.

I didn't realize it was set in Hawaii (so well-set that Hawaii is almost another character).
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:02 PM   #9632
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Two hours at the rental house weed-whacking the grass and pruning the shrubs.

The tenants have a 15-foot papaya tree and three 15-foot banana trees. They're all out of control with fruit. But they're the best tenants we've ever had, they're taking care of the fruit (and the water bills), and they're probably going to rent for another four years. We can live with a few fruit trees beating up the property.

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Went to see The Descendants and found it worthy of all its Oscar nominations.
I didn't realize it was set in Hawaii (so well-set that Hawaii is almost another character).
Kauai lives for these opportunities. Notice how the movie was released during the Mainland winter?
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:14 PM   #9633
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I've got a prostate biopsy lined up for Monday.
Done. I've had teeth cleanings at the dentist that were worse. Heck, the silly self-administered enema was worse than the biopsy. (note to self: next time, warm the darn thing before using it.)

The whole thing is done through a port in an ultrasound probe about the size of a forefinger, but smoother. The doc coated the probe with a lidocaine gel (warmed, even!) that numbed the rectal wall a bit, then injected lidocaine through the port to numb things up further. The only sensation was an odd feeling of coolness in the core of my body with the injections.

A total of 16 samples were taken, using a spring loaded gadget, guided through the port in the ultrasound probe. The first sample startled me, just from the *CLICK* *SNAP* sound. The only sensation was a slight, momentary pressure. "Hold still, please..."

*CLICK* *SNAP*
*CLICK* *SNAP*
*CLICK* *SNAP*
...

"OK, we're done."

I'm on Cipro, a potent antibiotic that I started the day before and will continue a couple days after, to reduce the odds of infection. The only sensation down there now that the lidocaine has worn off is a slight soreness, as though I had been constipated, or the ole 'rhoids had been acting up. I have to take it easy for a few days until the assorted little holes (like 18 gauge wire) heal up. Results in a week or two.

The plan for the rest of the day involves loafing. I'm getting better at that with practice.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:30 PM   #9634
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Thanks for the blow-by-blow *CLICK* *SNAP* description of the procedure. Sounds far less unpleasant than I envisioned - not that I can actually see back there even if I wanted to.
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:07 PM   #9635
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Thanks for the blow-by-blow *CLICK* *SNAP* description of the procedure. Sounds far less unpleasant than I envisioned - not that I can actually see back there even if I wanted to.
I thought it might be nice to put my experience out there to counterbalance the horror stories I've heard. "So, I've got a prostate the size of a grapefruit, and now I have to get a biopsy. They stuck a stapler and twelve knitting needles in me, they did! With Tabasco sauce for anesthetic!"

It's an invasive procedure, with a little risk. I learned that it's nothing to be nervous about from a pain or discomfort aspect, though.
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:09 PM   #9636
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After 2-mile walk and breakfast, went for my annual medical exam (which takes a while as it also regularly includes an ultrasound to monitor a benign condition that we hope stays that way). Then off cross town to the IRS office (in a grungy shopping center - but at least our tax dollars aren't being wasted on high rents ). This is because I need to file 2 1099-MISC forms for service providers who helped me start up my consulting business last year, and I found out Saturday that you can't just print them from QuickBooks or fill out forms from the IRS website - they have to be on the official red IRS printed forms . I didn't feel like spending $$$ at the office store to buy a whole bunch when I only need 2. Forms in hand, had a really nice pho lunch at a little Vietnamese place and then off to a meeting at a nonprofit I volunteer with. Checked out a store I've been meaning to go into for awhile (and decided I won't shop there, but at least it's off the list). Now hanging out in a Starbucks before another meeting as it wasn't worth the 30-mile roundtrip home in between. Then I'll go directly to the first rehearsal of the season for a community choir I like to sing with. Warned DH he was on his own for dinner - I'll probably heat up leftovers. Whew - I'm tired just writing all this! Tomorrow I get to do the 1099s and get them in the mail, oh joy!
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:15 PM   #9637
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Went skating as usual on Mondays. Was colder than a Witches Teat in there. Then I reminded myself that in the days of yore skating was done outside, in the wind, snow, whatever.

After 2 hours of scratching up the ice had nearly frostbitten toes, lilly white they were. The initial clue was the Johnson Controls truck parked at the service entrance.

20 minute ride to the cafe, heater on full blast aimed at the gas pedal toes took care of the problem, then a hot cuppa just mellowed the rest of the body.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:09 PM   #9638
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... and I found out Saturday that you can't just print them from QuickBooks or fill out forms from the IRS website - they have to be on the official red IRS printed forms . I didn't feel like spending $$$ at the office store to buy a whole bunch when I only need 2.
This may only be helpful next year, but IIRC the red forms can be ordered by mail from the IRS website for free. I bet 95% of the sales at the office-supply store are during the week before the deadline.

Next year you could even cheat a little... print up the plain black & white ones for the recipients and get those in the mail to them. Order the red ones from the IRS when they're available, and when they finally arrive then you can print & file them. They may be late but the IRS will never complain about it because they can barely get the red forms printed up every year in time for filers.

It's been a few years since I had to go through the 1099 shuffle, and I don't miss it a bit.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:24 PM   #9639
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:19 PM   #9640
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I did my taxes today. As soon as VG makes its brokerage data available, I will download and do the final reckoning and double check. No taxes are due to NYS , federal refund is $1600 so far.

Mr B has night classes tonight, so I will just hang out tonight and surf. We are both struggling with a cold bug HE CAUGHT and gave to me.
Kleenex, Mucinex, and hot tea with lemon are my best arsenal of cold fighting weapons.
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