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Another Useful Harbor Freight Tool

January 26th, 2014 No comments

image

Was using this wire stripper again today and realized I’ve had it for years and used it often, without any complaints. I don’t remember the product number, bit of it’s on sale, but one!

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New Work Computer

February 23rd, 2013 1 comment
This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Macintosh

Several years ago I wrote about making a transition to the Mac world with a 13″ MacBook. That was my main computer for several years. Back in 2009 when I first got it I wrote about a whole host of things I hated about the Mac. Like the fact that there was no decent enterprise e-mail client. That the ‘DEL’ key on a Mac is really a ‘BACKSPACE’ key. That the ‘COMMAND’ key is ridiculous. Most of what I wrote is still true. Outlook 2010 for Mac is terrible, so e-mail is still painful on a Mac. It is a pale comparison to its Windows sibling. Visio is still better than OmniGraffle. The only thing that improved is that Office for Mac got VBA functionality so people can write their own functions.

So earlier this year I finally had the chance to replace my work laptop. I opted for a Windows Ultrabook – a Toshiba Portégé Z935 to be precise. And this thing so unbelievably rocks it isn’t even funny. I had the option to get a MacBook Air, but I am totally glad that I didn’t. Being back in the Windows world in my corporate life is so much easier. And I’ve been able to configure this machine to do some really cool stuff.

Like the way I am running an Ubuntu 12.04 virtual machine on an external Western Digital USB hard drive. That’s right – a complete Linux install that runs perfectly on an external (hardware encrypted) hard drive. Running in VMWare Fusion as a guest OS on my Windows 7 machine, this thing kicks butt. I use it primarily as a Python and web development environment, but having the ability to whip up a quick web server doesn’t hurt. I also love writing documents using Restructuredtext as well. It supports multiple monitors and I haven’t had a single hiccup with it’s install on an external drive.

I’ll probably write more about this configuration soon, but for now – it’s awesome.

Wow – I haven’t written anything for a while…

December 23rd, 2012 No comments

But I guess that’s what an intense graduate school schedule can do, along with way too many things happening in life.

I do have a couple of things in the works, including a series of articles on how I build a home-office phone system for when I work at home, as well as some of my experiences working with the Raspberry Pi computer that someone gave me for Christmas. Let’s just say the Pi reminds me why I pushed Linux off my plate some years ago. Managing dependencies for software packages is an absolute nightmare – at least when trying to implement things that people have hacked on their own. As I write this I am 11 hours into a seemingly never-ending marathon of installing missing components just to get one simple program to work. What a nightmare.

Stay tuned for more.

Categories: Rants, Technology Tags: , ,

Warranties That Work

September 8th, 2012 No comments

Once in a while I give some credit to systems that actually work. Lately I’ve had three companies step up and honor their warranties with no hassles and no questions asked.

The North Face

About 13 or 14 years ago I bought a pair of winter pants from the North Face. I used them a lot over the years – here’s a picture of me snowshoeing them back in 2000. As one would expect from good quality gear, they’ve held up pretty well through numerous hiking adventures, skiing trips, days sledding, and playing in the snow with my daughter.

Then came the NHL Winter Classic of 2010. Or actually the alumni game on New Year’s Day. My wife and I drove to a Green Line (subway) station that would take us to Fenway Park in Boston. Out of the car I went to put on my pants and the leg zipper completely blew apart. This was unacceptable since I was wearing only jeans and it was snowing all day. I was so pissed I crumpled them up and threw them in a puddle under the car. Luckily there is an REI at the Landmark Center, which shares a parking lot with the Fenway Green Line stop near Fenway Park, so I called a friend we were meeting at the game and asked him to go to the store and find a new pair of pants in my size. He did, I got off the train, paid for them, and we were off to the game.

But the cool part is that I grabbed my pants when we got back to the car (and I had calmed down) and washed them when I got home. I went to the North Face webpage and got their warranty information. The warranty begins:

The North Face® products are fully warranted to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. If a product ever fails due to a manufacturing defect, even after extended use, we will repair the product, without charge, or replace it, at our discretion.

So I boxed it up and shipped it back. About a week later I received a postcard in the mail acknowledging that they received the package and were evaluating it. Then about 4 weeks after that a box from the North Face appeared. A inside were my pants with a brand new zipper, repaired for free. Awesome.

Thanks North Face – at least someone still makes quality stuff and stands behind it. These things were more than  10 years old and the North Face stepped up for the repair.

Totes Travel Umbrella

I work in the city – in Boston – and I always carry a compact travel umbrella (basically the older model of this umbrella) in my laptop bag (which is currently a Timbuk 2 Command messenger bag). For several years I have carried a Totes flat travel umbrella in case I get caught in an unexpected shower.

Last year I was walking on a wet windy day and a gust of wind collapsed my umbrella. Not the kind of wind that turns it inside out mind you. Rather, I was walking into the wind and a gust so strong came that it literally snapped two of the ribs while pushing the umbrella shut. After I arrived unhappy and wet at work, I went to the Totes/Isotoner web page and found their warranty information. Following the instructions I popped the broken umbrella into a box, included a $5 money order, and mailed it to Ohio (my office shares a building with a Post Office so mailing it and getting a money order meant I didn’t even have to go back outside in the rain).

About 3 weeks later a box arrived at my house with a brand new umbrella in it. Amazing. Thanks Totes for stepping up and backing your product.

Mountain Hardwear Synchro

The Mountain Hardwear Synchro soft shell jacket

Mountain Hardwear Synchro Soft Shell Jacket

My normal commute to work involves waiting on an uncovered train platform in Central Massachusetts for between 5 and 50 minutes (mostly due to the unreliable service from the MBTA Commuter Rail). Then I ride a train for 90 minutes, followed by a 1.5 mile walk from South Station to my office across Boston. In the winter this can mean a variety of temperatures and conditions, from sub 10 degrees on the train platform, to the train cars where the heat has only two possible settings: “off” and “blast furnace.” My walk is usually warmer, since Boston averages 5 to 10 degrees warmer in winter than the town where I live, and I arrive there later in the morning. Add in the seasonal temperatures and my point is that I need an effective layering system to remain comfortable throughout the fall, winter, and early spring. So in 2009 I bought a Mountain Hardwear Synchro soft-shell jacket to wear as my daily outer layer. (It has since been discontinued, more or less replaced by the G50 jacket.)

I really love this jacket, and for the last two and a half years I’ve probably worn it 100 to 120 days a year. It gets crumpled up and draped over my bag in the floor of trains, and stuffed into overhead racks. I’ve worn it in the rain and the snow and the wind, and carried backpacks or messenger bags every day. And it has performed absolutely fabulously. Washed once or twice a season, and refreshed with Nikwax, it seemed nearly indestructible. It’s my second favorite jacket in the world, behind only my North Face Mountain Guide shell that I bought back in 2000 and reviewed on Hike-NH.com (in fact I am wearing the Mountain Guide shell in the snowshoeing picture above).

But towards the end of last winter the right lower pocket zipper started separating from the jacket. Not at the end, but right in the middle. This jacket was built a bit odd – the zippers are covered with a rubberized membrane for waterproofing, so the zippers don’t seem to be stitched in the normal manner. I kind of forgot about it until now, but I decided I should get it fixed. So I followed the instructions on the Mountain Hardwear page and called for an RA number. A nice lady took my information and I dropped the jacket off at UPS. Mountain Hardwear’s warranty says:

 Mountain Hardwear also provides a limited lifetime warranty, to the original owner, on all products against defects in materials or workmanship. All defective or damaged products should be returned to us for evaluation and will be repaired or replaced at our discretion. Rips, burns, tears, and damages due to accident, normal wear and tear, improper care, mis-use or the natural breakdown of colors and materials over time are not covered by warranty, but can be repaired for a nominal fee at Mountain Hardwear’s discretion.

I just hope they follow it. Given the way that the North Face and Totes stepped up, they have a couple of great examples to live up to. I’ll keep this post updated.

In fact, Mountain Hardwear stepped up quickly. 20 days after I mailed this, an envelope was waiting by my side door with a Mountain Hardwear logo on it. And sure enough, my freshly repaired jacket was inside, good as new, done at no charge.

So there you have it…

Three companies who stood up for their products and fixed them no questions asked. I didn’t expect that in this day and age. Maybe I should have.

Thank you to:

You’ve earned my respect.

Categories: Rants Tags: , , ,

Red Oxx Air Boss – 3rd Review: 4 Days/3 Nights in California

May 25th, 2012 No comments
This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Red Oxx Air Boss

Trip Length: 4 days, 3 nights.

Time of Year/Weather: May 2012

Origin: Boston, MA (BOS)
Destination: Palo Alto, CA (SJC)

Outbound Aircraft (Airlne, type): American, Boeing 737
Inbound Aircraft (Airlne, type): American, Boeing 737

Purpose: Academic conference at Stanford University.

Contents:

  • Dress pants and shirts for 4 days in Eagle Creek 18″ folder
  • Underwear & socks
  • 13″ MacBook Pro in a Timbuk2 laptop folder
  • Asus Transformer TF101 tablet w/ keyboard in Timbuk2 Quickie Laptop Bag
  • Eagle Creek 1/4 cube with assorted cables, chargers, etc.
  • Eagle Creek 1/4 cube w/ assorted toiletries (toothbrush, razor, etc.)
  • Freedom Baggie
  • Running clothes and shoes
  • Bose Quiet Comfort headphones
  • Assorted magazines

The Verdict: I’m beginning to reach the capacity limit of the bag. Well, the comfortable capacity limits anyway, because as many people will tell you, the Air Boss will swallow lots of stuff. I haven’t had to sit on it to get the zippers closed, yet, but this trip’s load certainly stuffed it. The major additions this time were running shoes and my Android tablet and keyboard dock. Both of these were additions to the middle compartment and were the main contributors to the volume.

But, I still love this bag. I added a new strap since my last trip – an Op/Tech trap I bought from Amazon for under $20. Many people recommend the Absolute strap from Tom Bihn for the Airboss, but this thread on One Bag One World (and a few others) claim the Op/Tech strap is the same thing for much less money. What an improvement this strap makes! I loved the Claw that came with the bag because it didn’t slide off my shoulder. But the narrow piece that actually rested on my shoulder did cause discomfort when toting a heavy bag through several airports. This strap eliminated those issues. The buckles and hardware on the Op/Tech strap aren’t nearly as substantial as the original Claw, but for less than $20 it was totally worth it.

This trip saw two instances where gate agents were forcing people to gate-check roller bags that looked like they wouldn’t fit. On the way home I was in line and the passengers ahead and behind me had bags that were clearly smaller than my Air Boss. Both were asked to gate-check. Not a bit of attention was paid to my Air Boss though. And of course it fit right into the overhead without trouble.

I still give this bag my full recommendation. If you travel for business and don’t absolutely need a roller, this is the best bag I’ve ever seen. Like all good gear, it’s tough and it just works. And it works well.

Categories: Rants Tags: , , ,

My Review of Saucony Boston Pants (For Men)

April 22nd, 2012 No comments

Originally submitted at Sierra Trading Post

CLOSEOUTS . Whether you're training for your next marathon or enjoying a quick morning run, Saucony Boston pants will keep you comfortable with fast-drying, moisture-wicking fabric. Slim, contoured fit is ideal for athletic activities Moisture-wicking, fast-drying performance fabric Elasticized…


Great Pants

By RoadRunner Rob from Worcester, MA on 4/22/2012

 

4out of 5

Fit: Feels true to size

Pros: Warm, Comfortable, Allows Free Movement

Best Uses: Running

Describe Yourself: Avid Athlete

Was this a gift?: No

Liked the first pair so much I bought a second pair.

I’ve worn them in temperatures from 35 to 50 degrees comfortably, in both wet and dry conditions. Below 35 they need an extra layer for warmth.

Great pants. Buy them.

(legalese)

Categories: Rants Tags:

Best Buy Has Jumped the Shark

January 14th, 2012 1 comment

The other day I read an article asserting that Best Buy was doomed because of poor service and a failed business model. After my experience today trying to use their in-store pickup service, I am inclined to agree. What makes this even more amazing is how badly things have changed in just a few weeks, at least at my local store in Marlborough, MA.

In between Christmas and New Year’s I needed a USB sound card for my laptop. The Best Buy web ordering experience couldn’t have been better. I placed the order one evening and went to the store the next morning. Best Buy had a parking space near the door reserved for in-store pickup customers (which I didn’t use). When I walked through the door, the pickup desk was literally 5 feet inside. I walked up, handed the clerk a copy of my order e-mail, showed my ID and paid. The door guy wished me a good day and I was on my way. In and out in under 5 minutes.

Contrast that with today. I decided it was time to get the keyboard dock for my Asus Transformer TF101 tablet. I found it online for $25 less than the Best Buy price, but I was willing to pay the difference in order to have it today. I placed my order, and about 30 minutes later the confirmation e-mail arrived, so I headed to the store. That’s when I saw how much had changed in just a few weeks. When I walked in, the pickup desk was no longer conveniently right by the door. I asked the greasy door guy in the terrible yellow polo shirt where the pickup window went. He told me pickups now had to go to customer service. So I walked over and got in line behind 4 other people carrying things they were clearly returning.

I don’t know who at Best Buy came up with this plan, but one of the first rules of retail is: when a customer wants to give you money, take it! Do not make me wait in line behind 4 other people who are going to cost you money. As I was standing there wasting time, it occurred to me that it probably would have been faster to just walk to the computer department, find a keyboard, and go through the normal check out. But I figured I’d get a whole bunch of reminder messages about my unclaimed web order that I didn’t want to deal with, so I stayed in line.

The line was slow. It didn’t help that one of the original clerks helping the line decided that it was time to answer phone calls and stop helping people in line. This is always a source of irritation for customers – your floor people should never be taking phone calls. I’ve taken the time to drive to your location – phone customers are still on the fence. See my previous rule: if I’m waiting in line to give you money, take it. Don’t blow me off to prospect with people on the phone.

So I finally make it to a clerk. Things start pretty well – I show him the confirmation e-mail on my phone, he locates the box, and things look OK. Then I realize that the seals on the box are broken. The ones that ASUS puts there which say, “Check contents if seal is broken.” The box itself was scuffed and the keyboard inside was wrapped in a plastic sleeve that was ripped as though it had been opened. I asked the clerk why it was open and he said I shouldn’t worry – it wasn’t a floor model or anything. I still asked him to replace it with an unopened box. With a couple of quick calls on the radio and a 5 minute wait, someone brought up a new one. I don’t blame the desk clerk – but I’m willing to bet several people at Best Buy had their hands on this box and not a single one of them cared enough to point out that it was open and replace it with a new one. That says a lot about Best Buy’s culture of service.

So I finally had my keyboard and it was time for my final indignity. I know Best Buy has always placed an employee near the exit to harrass customers on their way out the door rather than invest in real security. That this is an acceptable practice to them when their main competition is the convenience of online shopping probably says all you need to know about their culture and why they are doomed. I hate this – and I barely tolerate it on a normal day because I know that the Best Buy door guy has absolutely no power to stop you from leaving the store. Today I was already fed up with my experience and was in no mood to stop. So when I was offered a bag at checkout I declined and headed for the door with my receipt and box in plain view. Keep in mind that I could see the front doors and the greasy door guy the whole time so it’s not like I was coming from some back corner of the store.

Sure enough the door guy asks for my receipt. I stop and show him the receipt which I’m holding right on top of the box. Instead of quickly looking and letting me go – I mean I bought 1 single thing, which wasn’t in a bag, while in plain view of his little podium the whole time, he instead says, “Just a second,” and turns to accost a family leaving with stuff in a bag. I can only assume they got his immediate attention because they had a much darker complexion than either he or I. He tells them he needs to see what’s in their giant bag, at which point my switch flipped. I simply announced, “I’m leaving now,” and started walking out the door hoping they would follow instead of letting some minimum wage sloth in a yellow polo shirt paw through their property. The door guy said, “Wait … I have to,” and before he could finish I said, “You know you can’t stop me.” All he could say was, “Really, Sir?” “Really,” I replied.

So at this point I agree 100% with Larry Downes – Besy Buy is doomed. And good riddance. It amazes me that Best Buy has abandoned the one thing that seperates them from their competition – good service. And I’m not talking about complex systems either. I mean basic service: allow your customers to spend money easily, pay attention to them while in the store, and don’t harrass them and treat them like criminals when they leave. I mean really, a door receipt checker? If you are worried about cashiers mis-checking items hire some better cashiers and put in some cameras to watch them, not me. I wouldn’t think of letting a random stranger in the parking lot touch something I just paid good money for, what makes you think it’s OK if it happens just inside the door? I’m supposed to be OK with it because you invested in a polo shirt for Mr. Door Checker Guy? Come on.

See you Best Buy – it will be a cold day in Hell before I enter one of your stores again.

Categories: Rants Tags: ,

Well Connected

December 23rd, 2011 No comments

I was working from home today and in the middle of the morning I realized that something really amazing was happening. I was working in a truly connected home. I paused for a moment to reflect on all the things which at that moment were transmitting or receiving data over my FiOS connection:

My work laptop was connected to a WebEx meeting.
My Belkin desktop Skype phone was connected to an audio conference via VOIP.
My personal laptop was uploading music to Google Music.
There were three cell phones connected tonWiFi in the house.
My Android tablet and my wife’s iPad2 were connected to WiFi.
A Squeezebox radio was streaming NPR in the kitchen.
My weather station server was cintinuously broadcasting data to the Internet.

For someone who once connected to BBS systems via a. 400 baud Hayes modem, this is pretty amazing.

Categories: Rants Tags:

Why I Take Amtrak Instead of Flying

December 4th, 2011 1 comment

I wrote before about how I have traveled Amtrak’s Acela Express from end to end – that is from Boston to Washington, DC. In fact, when I travel to DC, the Acela is my preferred mode of transportation. Some (most) of my friends can’t understand why. Why would I sit on a train for 6+ hours when a plane takes 1½? This question inevitably follows the puzzled look when I tell I am taking the train, because most people don’t know anyone who has ever taken Amtrak anywhere.

I’m writing this on yet another train trip to DC, doing 120+ m.p.h. between Back Bay Station in Boston and Rt. 128 Station in Westwood, MA. And I will be the first to admit that six hours on the train is a long time. But as I make this trip I am trying to put down in words what it is that makes me choose the train again and again over what would arguably be a simple airplane flight. I think the train does hold some advantages over the plane that help to reduce the time penalty and make the 6+ hours bearable.

Good morning America, how are you?

‘Said don’t you know me, I’m your native son.

I’m the train they call the city of New Orleans,

I’ll be one 500 miles when the day is done.

– “City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie

The Whole Experience is More Civilized

Part of the allure of the train is that, relative to modern air travel, trains are still much more human. Airports and particularly airport security are cold and impersonal. The train has none of this silly security theater. No x-rays, no full body scanners, no groping by TSA goons. No lines, ID checks, “Freedom Baggies,” or being herded like cattle through velvet ropes. You don’t need to take off your shoes, remove your laptop, or empty your pockets. Hell, if you pick up your e-ticket with a credit card, you rarely even need to show ID on Amtrak.

You know how you are warned never to leave a bag unattended at the airport? At an Amtrak terminal station (South Station, Penn Station, and Union Station on the Acela route) just drop your bag with an Amtrak Red Cap and they watch it while you roam around and do whatever. And, you know how in the airport, regardless of the best intentions of the crew, boarding the plane is always a long line and a fight for overhead bin space? The Red Cap Service gets you priority boarding as well so you can pick your seat and they will stow your bags for you too. All for the price of a tip (I usually give $5 a bag). And, I have never seen a fight for overhead bin space on an Acela. And that’s for bins that fit full sized garment bags without any issues.

Train stations, even the amazing ones like Union Station in DC, are still built on a more human scale than airports. No shuttle buses, trams, endless moving walkways, or underground light shows. Just easy to navigate, usually historic buildings, in downtown locations.

Dealin’ card games with the old men in the club car,

Penny a point; ain’t no one keeping score.

Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle,

Feel the wheels rumblin’ ‘neath the floor.

As the sons of poor man porters and the sons of engineers

Ride their fathers’ magic carpet made of steel.

Mothers with their babes asleep,

Are rockin’ to the gentle beat,

And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.

The On-board Accommodations Are Better

Everything on the Acela is business class or better. Like Jet Blue, all the seats are wide and leather-covered. The tray tables are huge and all the seats recline comfortably. But they go beyond that – seats are 2 x 2 and every seat has 110V electrical power. There’s FREE Wi-Fi on all Acela trains, and it works pretty well. Cell phone use is allowed at all times, as are all other electronic devices. Want to get up and move around? Go ahead. There are no seatbelts and no restrictions on when and where you can stand. Want to stretch in the area at the end of the cars?You’ll get no complaints from the crew or worries that you’re going to hijack the train. They even have a snack car and you can go there whenever you want – not just when the crew feels like bringing you a 6 ounce beverage in a cheap plastic cup. For this trip, I arrived at South Station about 45 minutes before my train’s departure. I dropped my garment bag off with a Red Cap and then went to the ATM without having to lug the extra bag everywhere. I grabbed two slices of pizza and a Coke at Pizzeria Regina and headed back to the Red Cap area 35 minutes before departure. We headed out to the train 30 minutes before departure. and I picked whatever seat on whatever car I wanted and the Red Cap threw my bag in the overhead for me. I sat down, reclined my seat, dropped my tray table, got out my computer and phone, plugged in, and had a little lunch. No one made me “return your seat back and tray table to the upright position.” I had a nice lunch, got up and threw away my trash, and returned to my seat to write this.

The windows are huge and there is actual scenery to see. Railways run through the heart of our cities. On the east coast, that means getting a close-up view of places like Newark, NJ, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. It’s important for people to see these areas – so many of which have been forgotten. Abandoned factories and run-down housing remind us that not all of America has prospered in the last decade and there are areas that still need help. The train serves this important function well.

It also means that you get some spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastal areas of Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland.

But all the towns and people seem,

To fade into a bad dream.

And the steel rail still ain’t heard the news.

The conductor sings his song again,

The passengers will please refrain.

This train got the disappearing railroad blues.

Good night America, how are you?

‘Said don’t you know me, I’m your native son?

I’m the train they call the City of New Orleans,

I’ll be gone 500 miles when the day is done.

Rail is a Worthwhile Cause to Support

Many of my friends say they support high speed rail in the US, but have never ridden a train. I believe there is an important place for rail in America and I choose to support that with my money and time. Do I wish that the Acela didn’t make so many damn stops between Boston and DC? Absolutely. I mean do we really need to stop in Stamford, CT; Penn Station, NY; Newark, Metro Park, and Trenton, NJ, and then Philadelphia? No. The stops should be Boston, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, and DC. But I deal with it because I think that rail is better for these short-range trips than planes. So I vote with my butt and with my time and occupy a seat whenever I can. I have to say – in all the times I’ve ridden the Acela – at least 5 round trips now – every train has been full, so it can’t just be me with this idea.

There are a host of other personal reasons as well … for someone feeling busy and over-scheduled, the six hours of productive time on the train is a welcome respite from the rush of airport commuting. When else would I have had time to do this post?

I’m somewhere near New London, CT now and still speeding along on one of the last truly high-speed sections of track. I’m going to recline my seat, close my eyes, and listen to some music. Somewhere past Philadelphia I’ll be back online preparing for work tomorrow.

But for now I’m riding the rails …

Categories: commuting, Rants Tags: , , , ,

Snowtober

October 30th, 2011 No comments

A few weeks ago I wrote about how country people and city people do things differently. This weekend’s weather reminded me once again how true those words are.

We had a rare early-season Nor’easter that dumped record-breaking snow on much of New England.

Really?! This is BEFORE Halloween?

The big problem is that this snow was really heavy and wet, and most of the trees still have their leaves, so the storm snapped off millions of tree branches. There are power outages everywhere … by this afternoon (Sunday, 10/30/2011) the Boston Globe was reporting that 669,000 customers were without power.

We lost power around 6:45 pm on Saturday. It stayed off … for 10 seconds because my whole-house backup generator came on. But my generator has been running for 22+ hours now. My local town news website reports today that we can expect to have no power for the next four days. I may need to beg my propane company for an emergency refill, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. As of this morning I calculated that I had at least 50+ hours of generator runtime with my current propane supply. If I am careful about my use I can probably get 72 hours out of it.

But none of this is what made me think about the country people / city people thing. What got me thinking about it was this:

Can you see it in there ... yup, that's my car.

This was what greeted me this morning. My car under the top of an oak tree. Upon closer inspection there didn’t appear to be any real damage. The glass was intact at least. But it was certainly under there.

Here’s a view from the backside:

It's certainly under there alright...

And based on the reactions of a couple of neighbors, I realized this was the perfect symbol of my country/city comparison. Because I realized that when presented with these circumstances…

City people call their insurance company and get the phone book to try and find a tree cutting service for an emergency call. Country people get their 19 year-old chainsaw and just cut their damn car out. You don’t need to work at a chainsaw mill to need a chainsaw.

And that’s what I did …

About an hour's work.

Car Cut Out 2

Now I can open the door ...

And I owe it all to the fact that I am prepared and have the experience to run a chainsaw without killing myself. Above all I’d like to thank my Stihl 032 AVEQ, which is at least 19 years old.

Never failed me!

So which are you? A country person? Or useless …