It’s About the Lock

It's About the LockJust two weeks after changing web hosts, I changed hosts yet again.  Though this time it wasn’t because I was unhappy per se.  It was because of a couple of reasons both relating to security.  Not only for myself, but everyone who breezes by here.  The gator offered me full functionality of my security software, but wanted to charge me serious cash for a SSL certificate.  Even if I had my own, they wanted a fee to allow me to install it.  I wasn’t having that.

You see, recently Google Chrome started… I’m not going to say “shaming” but alerting visitors to sites like mine that they were unsecured simply because they don’t have a SSL certificate and use https to encrypt any data the visitor may share.  Still that’s like going to the neighbors house and seeing a red light on outside their door because they don’t have a video surveillance system installed.  You know the neighbors and you trust them.  But somehow now you have an uneasy feeling going over there just because someone else says boo.  However, I get it.  Plus, it’s only a matter of time that all other top browsers follow that example.

However, when I read this, I was shocked at the insane prices of a SSL cert.  A decent one was between $30 and $100 per year.  Anything free was only good for 1 – 3 months as a trial version.  As I mentioned before, this site makes me no money.  Sure I have donate buttons.  I think they last donation I got was 5 years ago to put towards a Ventrilo server I was renting for voice chat.  That’s fine, I don’t expect anyone to donate unless I do something for them first.  Lately I haven’t felt like fixing anyone’s computer.  Frankly I work too much and am spread too thin.  I try to enjoy my life outside of work.  Not work more.

Anyway, Bob alerted me to an organization who was out to help secure the web by offering free (and donation backed) SSL certificates.  However, you really need a web host that supports the system automatically as they renew every 60-90 days.  They’re called Let’s Encrypt.  So two nights of research and review scouring.  I settled on a web host here in Michigan.  Spent the weekend moving files and fixing non-secure links.  I have most of my websites they way I want them.

However, I’ve had CastleRain since 1999.  This iteration of CastleRain has been around since 2006 and contains over 500 posts.  That’s a lot of my life documented 🤔  It’s going to take me a few weeks to tweak each post and page to make sure they all get that nifty lock.  So if you see anything I miss, copy the URL link and send it to me please 🙂

So now if you use my contact forms, or click my donate links.  You can feel secure that the things you do here are encrypted so only I get what you share with me.

Sadly it kills all my social media share counters.  Nothing I can do about that but suck it up 😕

Short URL: https://gden.net/cd

The Smell of Gun Powder

Bullet HoleI finally got to shoot my new gun today 🙂  I went over to my Uncle’s house to do it.  I’m not about to pay $70 for a membership at the local range when the only thing they plow out is the parking lot during the winter (according to others who are discontent with it). ?

Apparently they only clean the snow at the outdoor range when there is a special event.  Screw that.  If I have to trudge through snow, I’m doing it for free.  Hooray for private property!!

My uncle is a Concealed Carry man.  He was impressed with not only my knowledge and attention to safety, but with my skill as well.  Hell I was shocked at how well I did.  Though practice will always be necessary.  We setup a target with a distance of 28.5 feet and the targets are 8 inches in diameter.  Out of the 55 rounds I shot, I only missed 5 times.  That’s 91% ability to hit the target consistently.  I used 50 Browning 9mm Practice rounds and tried out 5 Hornady American Gunner Hollow Point rounds.  Here are 3 of the targets I used:

Targets

Keep in mind, I haven’t shot a gun since 1994 when I was in Boot Camp for the Navy.  Even then I shot a whole 5 rounds of a .45 pistol at a much further distance if I recall correctly.  I scored “adequate” then.  Before that it was a .22 bolt-action rifle my step-dad got me that I just never had interest in.  I may have shot 10 rounds out of it in total?  My memory is fuzzy on my childhood at times.

So up until now I was never a gun kind of guy.  I think now it’s going to be my new thing.  I know at some point in the next few years I’ll upgrade to a Glock Concealed Carry.

I’m hoping to take the Concealed Carry class next month and get my permit after that.

There are still things I want to get.  Like a better holster and a super strong belt.  That and I should get me a new ball cap.

All in all, I enjoyed it very much 🙂

Short URL: http://gden.net/ca

What a Weekend

Moved HostsSo it turns out my websites were hit with some Website SEO Spam a few weeks back.  Taking various steps to handle it included installing better security software for my websites.  This led to realizing that the web host I was using, while good tempered folks, had features disabled that most web hosts have enabled.  Thus breaking my security software.  Not enough to stop it working but to hinder it working at full strength.  After asking politely to have the feature enabled, they suggested that my $7 shared hosting should be upgraded to a low end VPS for $13 plus cPanel expenses on top of it.  Which would put me at about just under $30 a month to run my websites that don’t make any money.  I pay out of pocket to have my individual space carved into the internet.  I decorate it exactly how I want, and I can be who I want to be here.  I don’t have to worry about Facebook removing my content if someone gets butt-hurt by it.  That being said, I spent the majority of my time off this weekend moving my sites to a new host that provides what I need technically.  They cost me $12 a month.  It will be a month or so to see if I stay.  So if things feel sluggish or broken, let me know.

A few days ago, I ordered a 3 zone cymbal pad for my drum kit.  A Roland CY-13.  I found it on Walmart.com for $199 from a partner seller called GigaSonic.  That’s $40 less than anyone else and I happen to have a Walmart Card.  So I jumped on it.  The lesson here kids, is do your research of the partner company before ordering.  Don’t just assume Walmart has your back.  As you see, last Friday a large box ended up on my doorstep.  It was from Amazon.  I didn’t order anything from Amazon.  It was addressed to me from Everything Music.  Of course I became confused.  Especially when I opened the box and found a Roland KD-9 Kickpad.  I didn’t order that.  It’s sort of the ballpark.  They are both Roland and both go to my drum kit.  So I wasn’t sure if someone else sent it to me.  Naturally I emailed the company via Amazon and as well emailed the other via Walmart.com.

It turns out they are the same company, doing business under different names on different online retailers.  Both sadly have some bad reviews from some very angry customers.

By 4pm Friday I had a UPS return label and had the item on it’s way back to the seller.  This is about the time I found the reviews.  As of today it’s in Illinois.  While I was hoping the company would simply ship out my cymbal pad.  They did not.  In fact it dropped off of Walmart.com and it’s now listed at the normal retail price of $239 that everyone else is selling it for.  Under a different company called Music123.  Which, guess what, also has some bad reviews.  Same company?  I’m beginning to think so.  Now I’m hoping I actually get the refund they owe me.  Granted, I have to wait for them to get the part back.

To top it all off, my left shoulder has been hurting for weeks with added numbness to my whole arm and hand.  This weekend was hard to do anything.  Especially sleep decently.  I fear I may have a pinched artery in my shoulder [Thoracic Outlet Syndrome] (according to initial thoughts of my Chiropractor today).  I will have something confirmed as soon as I can with my regular doctor.

Short URL: http://gden.net/c6

One Tired Puppy

Tired PuppyLately I’ve been one tired puppy.  This week I’ve put in over 54 hours of work between job one and job two.  It’s been like that for weeks.  Each night seem to end in my back hurting while I try to clean a restaurant.  From scrubbing toilets to scrubbing the floors with some really weak floor cleaner.  I’m too tall and too old to be bent over that long.

It’s not that I work more than 50 hours a week, it’s the fact that they are broken up from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and then from 4 pm to 10 pm (or later).  So after job one…  It’s shower, shave and then do any errands I have before having to go to job two.  This includes shopping, snow blowing, paying bills, doctor appointments and so on.  I work so much, and spend so little time at home; I had to make sure Isabel got a new home.  I never had time to spend with her ☹  Hopefully Darla can take her later on.  For now she’s with family of Darla.  At leash she made some new friends at her new home ?

Granted, the only thing that really hurts is standing on a cement floor for long periods and then the two hours of cleaning every night.  When I do have a night off, it seems like all I do is run about town.  I hardly ever eat dinner at home anymore.  I never visit family.  Or if I do, it’s because they want something from me.  Such as a computer fixed or something involving heavy lifting.  Yeah, because that’s what I want to do on my time off is more work ?

More recently I realize I have to work just a bit harder for a while to pay off Uncle Sam.  Well, Uncle Obama that is.  That stupid Obamacare bit me in the ass good this year.  They want you to guess how much you’ll make in a year and then give you a credit based off that guess.  If you don’t update your income status thinking it hasn’t changed, it can creep up on you.  I didn’t know I had made an extra $4000 last year.  When you break it down, it’s only an extra $70 a week.  Not bad, but after taxes, it’s an even smaller number making it hardly noticeable.  In the end, I got too much of a credit for my healthcare and now I have to pay it back.  To the tune of $750.  So much for that new drum cymbal I wanted or having money to put towards buying a house this year ?

With Darla back home in Bay City, I had my mom move back in with me.  Sharing bills isn’t the same as sharing all expenses.  Sure paying half the bills is good.  But some weeks are harder than others when you don’t have a pooled income.  Don’t worry, I can handle it.  I’ll make all of this work.  I always do.  Just may take longer to get it all done.  Though I really wish I could visit the chiropractor this afternoon.  Sadly, I’ll have to wait until next week.  Medical type folks like their weekends here.  No Saturday hours.

Short URL: http://gden.net/c5

Death to Legion

Death to LegionIt certainly was short lived.  My return to try Legion only lasted a mere two weeks.  I just cannot get into it.  I find myself bored out of my mind.  As a person who likes playing different characters and trying different things.  I couldn’t do it.  It’s an insane amount of work to not only level 7 characters, but 7 or more artifact weapons.  The new crafting, while more involved, isn’t worth the effort.  I’ve unsubscribed again.

Then there is the lack of community and team spirit.  Trade chat is so quiet now that Blizzard has instilled the auto silence for spamming.  If it isn’t for bad chat, it seems we have no chat at all.  Gloom, Despair and Agony Oh … uh.. them!

I agree with most of what Alexensual points out in his video below.

The worst part is, I tried to return to my legacy server Atlantiss.  Legion has bored me so much, I can’t even play there and enjoy myself.  I’ve no idea if this is the end for me and Warcraft once and for all.  Because I’ve said that same thing many times, only to find I’ve lied to myself.  So rather than repeat the lie, I’ll just let it run it’s course.  I’ve already tried a new game, Mad Max.  But new games are just so overly complicated now.  I just don’t enjoy them like I do the classics.  Though my determination still makes me look for something.  Perhaps Pantheon will turn out good.

Short URL: http://gden.net/c4

Personal Protection is Expensive

PistolAs many of you know, I recently became a gun owner.  I’m by no means an enthusiast.  I don’t plan to own a bunch of guns and go shooting every weekend.  Though, I have no issues with people owning or using guns for self protection and hunting.  So long as safety is always observed.  I have for a very long time wanted to buy a handgun.  It’s just never been within my top ten things to get next for my life.  That is, not until very recently.

While I would like to think of Northern Lower Michigan as a safe and family friendly corner of the world.  Crime is everywhere.  That and what I have chosen to do for a living has made me a target to be robbed while at work in the evening.  So among some changes I’ve made at work to help cut down on the risk of not only being robbed, but if so; I won’t be held responsible for lost income.

Every major chain I’ve ever worked for has a drop-box system.  After every delivery, the driver is to drop any large bills and credit card slips into a locked box so they are not carrying large amounts of money during their shift.  A drop-box is simply a wall mounted locked box that only the manager can access with a slot to insert bills and slips quickly between delivery runs.  The chain I work for now, has no such device.  That is until today.  I ordered one and will have it installed.  However, that doesn’t help me while I’m still on the road before coming back to the store.

This is where the handgun has become one of the items on top of my list lately.  Sadly these things are not cheap.  Even a budget priced gun has set me back several hundred dollars.  While I would love to have a Glock or other high end brand gun.  I have to start where I can afford.  So after much research and conversations with the folks at Jay’s Sporting Goods, I’ve settled on a Glock-like conceal carry gun.  A Taurus 709 9mm.  It’s not top of the line, but it’s got good reviews for the most part.

Costs so far:

  • Gun – $280
  • Ammo for Sighting and Practice – $14
  • Ammo for CPL Class – $28
  • Ammo for Critical Defense – $19
  • CPL Class – $120
  • CPL License – $105
  • Cleaning Supplies – $26
  • Gun Case (Rug) – $9
  • Safety Glasses and Hearing Protection for Practice – $25
  • Holster – $15

So all in all, I’ve spent $641 dollars.  That’s a lot of money for me.  That’s $31 more than my rent per month.  So yeah, I’m not taking this lightly by any means.  I haven’t even fired it yet.  I need a place to go and get it sighted in before I take the class later this month.  At some point, I’m sure I’ll have to tack on a membership to a shooting range.  Unless I make a friend who also owns guns and lives in the great outdoors.  It’s a shame I don’t live near Amber anymore.  I know she’d want to go shooting with me.

This will not only help protect me while working, but at home as well.  My home has been robbed in the past.  While I was home no less.  Then I had a .22 rifle my step-dad gave me and couldn’t get to it.  A handgun will be much easier to put that kind of nonsense to rest.  Down the road I’ll want to get a nicer conceal carry gun.  Maybe next year.

Short URL: http://gden.net/c3

Trying Legion

WoW Logo LegionIt’s not like anyone couldn’t see the pattern I use.  A new expansion for World of Warcraft comes out.  I hate the changes, go play something else for 4-6 months.  Then when I’m discontent with where I chose to go…  I end up right back at playing on Blizzards servers once again.  Although this time I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it.

Sadly Blizzard has gone silent on their thoughts on actually bringing legacy servers to their players of old.  Private servers only hold so much charm when they are laden with bugs and script errors.  Quests you can’t complete and Dungeons you simply can’t finish unless you find a way to exploit past whatever is causing the issue.

I still can’t grasp the concept of these Artifact Weapons.  So with legendary weapons, will they be useless in the next expansion?  Also, will the next expansion be something to do with the Lich King again?  (it looks like Blizzard is rehashing old story lines now thanks to the time travel element)  I mean they left it open when Bolvar Fordragon took the helm.  Oh hey, let’s relocate Dalaran again.  Or perhaps have it crash and add to the story.

In any case, I restarted my account on Christmas day.  Sort of a gift to myself I suppose.  Though I understand for us Altoholics, life will be challenging.  Who knows.  Maybe this will push me back to single player games finally.  It’s not like anyone I gamed with 5 years ago is around anymore.  I did just pick up Mad Max on sale from Steam.  Although, the invitation is open to come play with me 🙂

Yes… it’s weird I play on a game with other people and yet play alone.

Short URL: http://gden.net/c2

Been Places, Done Things

Sailor DennyI’m getting ever so close to being 50 years old.  My life isn’t by any means glamorous or financially stable.  It never has been and probably never will be.  I’d likely be a lot better off financially if I would’ve avoided all the horrible relationships I’ve been in over the years.  I’m a working stiff and have rarely been without work.  Many times, such as currently; I’ve worked two jobs to do what I have to do to get by.  The other night at my second job, the new Assistant Manager teased me about how I simply sit and drive to make money.  And that he works twice as hard and as much as I do.

At 20, I went from simple delivery driver to store manager in a month by proving that, “I can run this store better than you.  And I’ve only worked here 2 weeks.”.  I should’ve been fired for being so bold.  Instead I was given and opportunity and was rewarded for my effort.  That lasted a little over a year before I was given a better opportunity.

I was given my own Little Caesars to run in East Jordan.  I mucked that opportunity up, but I bounced back.

I spent two years working in a machine shop.  But coming home covered in Cast Iron dust wasn’t my thing.

I served my country in the US Navy for 4 years.  I got the opportunity to go around the world and see so many places.  Countries I have visited: St. Martin, Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Pompeii as well as Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Israel.

Most of the time I was a “pencil pusher”.  Dealing with the ships budget and filing requisition forms.  Super boring for the most part.  Though I will say this, and have been dying to say it for several months.  All this crap people talk about the military paying too much for things is a bunch of bologna.  I watched the money come and go and all the receipts.  Never once did I see a $200 hammer.  I think the most we ever paid was $20 and it was a damn big hammer.  Though one of our biggest costs was toilet paper for 3000+ crew members who were fed low grade and outdated food.  We’d save costs on buying dry food that was past the “best if used by” date.

During my time in the Navy I volunteered for a few exciting and dangerous jobs:

Firefighting

I now know how to fight a fire.  At sea or at home.  I think it’s something everyone should learn as sometimes the Fire Department can arrive too late.  I’ve never had to fight a big fire at sea, but let’s face it.  IF you fight a big fire at sea, you had better win.  Otherwise the alternative is death.  You won’t be energetic enough to swim for very long if your ship goes down in flames because you lost a long hard battle.

Shoring Team

Shoring was to temporarily repair breaches in the hull or piping if the ship takes damage.  It’s not fun and is full of very stressful happenings when things start to flood.

Basic Medial Triage

I never got to use my medical triage training.  Though I have seen a few dead bodies over the years.  Sadly I’ve forgotten most of my training from lack of use.

Mooring Team

This was a team that let loose or helped tie the ship to the docks.  I’ve been on this team the whole time I was assigned to the USS Enterprise.  Everywhere we went, rain, cold or shine I was there.  If you don’t do it right you can lose a limb or even die.

Naval Training Video showing the dangers of Mooring

Underway Replenishment

I was volunteered for Ship to Ship Replenishment detail twice.  If you want an adrenaline rush, try being a lineman on one of these during heavy seas.  You DO NOT want to be this guy if the supplies end up in the ocean.

Warning: Video is boring and does not show heavy sea swells like we dealt with.

Other achievements included a letter of Commendation from President Clinton for his visit aboard our ship.  I was responsible for his floor while he dinned in our officers mess.  Apparently he could see his reflection and was impressed.  ?

Making pay and rank increase without having to test for it by doing a job that is normally reserved for a First Class Petty Officer as an E-3 Airman.  Acing inspection in our department without any help.

The Navy is also where I began learning about computers.  This led to my job at Gateway as a Tech Support Specialist.  For 2 years I made serious bank and benefits.  Sadly it came to an end with all major computer companies outsourcing tech support to India and such.

Case BadgeAfter that I owned by own business for two years.  CR Computers+  I built custom computers and did in-home computer repair and upgrades.  I still keep a list of free software to this day and offer help to friends and such.  I still have one Computer Case Badge I keep around for nostalgia’s sake.

From there I got a job at a small ISP where I still work today.  It celebrated 13 years with them last September.  Personally I don’t know anyone who has put in 13 years in one job.  I’m sure there are plenty who have and have done more.  I just don’t know any.  So I feel it’s a decent achievement to have so much time in one job.

Over the years I have spent time working in Pizza.  Sometimes a manager, most of the time a driver.  Let’s face it, that’s where the easy money is and I’ve proved it time and again.  Little Caesars (x2), Domino’s (x2), Papa Johns (x3), Chanello’s, BC Pizza and Mancino’s.  I’ve put in more time at Pizza places than my current general manager and the assistant manager combined.  I simply don’t want the stress of being a manager of a fast food chain any more.

There were also little crappy jobs I didn’t keep long in there as well.  Being a clothing store pick-up boy wasn’t for me.  Nor was being a dishwasher.  Or a gas station clerk.  Anything 3rd shift got me fired.  I just am not a night owl.

So yes, perhaps this person does work more than I do and works harder.  He’s still quite young and has yet to do a quarter of what I have done in my life.  I’ve done more by the time I was his age than he’s done ever.  I’ve paid my dues.  I’ve served my time and my country.  It’s time I get to sit back and take it easier.  Looking back, I am proud of what I’ve done.

 

Short URL: http://gden.net/c0

Mr. Plow

Plow TruckI’m so over this snow shit already.  It seems lately all I do between job one and job two is shovel and blow snow.  Then by the time I get to the night job I’m exhausted and frozen.  Just to run about cleaning off my car 15 times a night to trudge through other peoples driveways that aren’t plowed and porches covered in snow.  I’m tired of freezing my ass off and being physically spent every night.

Not to mention, yesterday during early morning whiteout conditions, Darla’s car wouldn’t start.  So being I had to have my car for the night job, I tried to drive her to work in Grayling.  I think we topped speeds of 30 miles an hour.  Though mostly under 20 until we got to Waters.  I said, fuck this and turned around for home.  No job is worth having a heart attack over while stressing out in bad winter weather.

My next two goals are thus: 1) Get a house.  Hopefully by next winter.  2) Trade my car in for a truck with a plow.

I’ve grown up here and have never needed four-wheel-drive.  I have a fond memory of my friend Jeff using his 4×4 to pull out a car in the snow and he got stuck too.  I used my two-wheel-drive truck to pull them both out 😉  Granted, I was on the road while they were both in the snow.  Still felt good to know how to deal with it.  I digress.

Frankly winters up here are harsh and I’m over freezing my nuts off and getting my Carhartt clothing soaked nearly every day to keep my drive and walkways clean.  I want to sit inside a nice warm truck and be able to push the snow around.  Then do minor shoveling and snow blowing and be done with it.  Besides, I’ve been dying for a truck for years.  I’m going to make it happen one way or another.  It’s long past time to work on my dreams.

Short URL: http://gden.net/bZ

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