Spam Comments

This blog gets anywhere from 20-40 spam comments per day. I periodically scan the spam filter to make sure legit comments are being filtered out. Spam comments are trying harder and harder to appear as though they are legit. This one tickled my funny bone:

I appreciate the way you use your platform to advocate for positive change, social justice, and equality, making the world a better place for all.

This one obviously doesn’t read this blog.

Oh, No!

I received some tragic news this morning by email. It appears that the bastards at my HR department began firing people here at AreaOcho this morning.

Dear divemedic,

Good Day,

Find below names of staff whose employment has been terminated with immediate effect.
Please find attached
<file attached that I will not link to or click on>

Kindly note that henceforth they should not be copied in all email correspondences.

Find where your name falls and comply accordingly.

Thanks and regards, Human Resources
HR/payroll Manager

This comes as quite a shock to all of us here at AreaOcho. The employees that were let go will be sorely missed, but I want my readers to know that it will no affect posting or operations here at AreaOcho headquarters.


I have received three reports of problems with my RSS feed within the past two weeks. I subscribe to my own blog using Inoreader, and don’t have a problem getting updates. Still, I validated my feed using this tool, and it seems to be fine.

The feed I am subscribed to is and it seems to be working fine.

All three of the people reporting the problem are reportedly using Feedly. Perhaps its an issue with them. If anyone else is having problems or has suggestions, you may post them as comments to this post.

Where I Agree With Aesop

CederQ commented:

As a nurse I am beholden to my oaths to do no harm as a lesser physician, to heal. 

Aesop replied:

I took no oath to become a nurse; I simply received a diploma, and passed a licensure exam. I’m about as invested there as I am with a driver’s license.

When I was in school, we were forced to take the Nightingale pledge. I just moved my lips, because I don’t agree with it, specifically these passages:

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.

I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.

The problem that I have with this, is what defines taking or giving a product that is harmful to health? I consume alcohol, salt, sugar, all sorts of thing that are harmful. Also, they DO know that this pledge was written for women to pledge celibacy, right? That’s what “pass my life in purity” means.

Even so, I am not such a willing martyr that I will submit to a communist takeover, nor will I fall on my sword when the Civil War begins. I will aid and treat those on the side of liberty, and I will mercilessly eliminate those who would bring violence and communism to my door.

Aesop, again:

I did, however, on three separate occasions for two different military branches, swear a very particular oath of allegiance to the Constitution. I was never informed of any expiration date on it.

I took an oath to the Constitution twice during my military service. I took it again when I became a firefighter, and again when I was promoted. I stand by that oath. I will defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The left has openly derided the Constitution, calling it a piece of paper that, being written by old white men, is no longer applicable. That decides it for me. The left is the enemy of the Constitution, and that is all I need to know.

The One Where Joe Blow Calls Me an Asshole

I apparently touched a nerve. Joe takes issue with me when I have a problem with plumbers charging $750 an hour for a simple job that a DIY homeowner can do for a fraction of the cost, including buying tools to do the job. Thinking that he is clever, he tries to turn it around on me by saying that

That remindeds me of the look on the ER Doctor’s face when I told my son I use Super Glue instead of paying $1500 dollars for a 3rd rate butterfly stitch and a bandaid.

I’ve got news for you- I agree with you. People come to the ED for some of the dumbest reasons, and if you went to the ED for a butterfly strip and a bandaid, you are part of that group. I see people every day who come in for flu symptoms and other minor maladies instead of buying over the counter medications. When I was a street medic, I often was called to the dumbest things you’ve ever heard of. Women with menstrual cramps, a woman who was hot and didn’t know how to change her thermostat, a woman with a flat tire.

Each of them could have benefitted from knowing how to do it themselves. The same as the plumbing job. Know that the plumbing company that is charging me $750 isn’t paying their employees anything close to that amount. It isn’t the professional making a living from his skills that is charging that kind of money. That guy is likely making less than $30 an hour.

When I was working as an electrician in the mid 90s, the company that I worked for was charging $100 an hour with a 4 hour minimum for emergency service while paying me $11 an hour. So the company got $400 and paid me $44. My service vehicle was a beat up old postal jeep for a year, and the second year I got upgraded to a used UPS delivery truck. I get that there is other overhead, but not that much. At $750 an hour, you are looking at charging 25 times the rate that they are paying that plumber.

As a business owner both past and present, I understand the costs associated with running a business are higher than than the costs paid to the person doing the job, but charging 20 or 30 times more than what you are paying your plumbers goes beyond that and causes people to want to do the job themselves.

Remember that a business isn’t just just competing against other businesses, but also against the DIY community. If McDonald’s charges $100 for a burger, people will go to Burger King or to another competitor. If they all charge that much, people will just stay home and cook burgers for themselves.

The same is true of any business. Installing that sink was a 15 minute job that cost me $50 in parts, yet the plumber wanted $600 for it. I found a plumber working on a nearby construction site and offered him $100 to do it. He agreed, but then didn’t show, so I did it myself.

I once had a drainage problem in my old house and called a plumber. Actually, a few plumbers over a six year period. No one could fix the problem. One plumber ran a camera on a snake down my drains and didn’t find the problem, then told me there was nothing wrong and billed me $500. The sinks clogged again three days later. After six years, I finally found the problem- I changed every AAV valve in the house (it cost me $100) and never had the problem again.

I do lots of stuff for myself- I repair brakes on my car, do my own oil changes, do many of my own home repairs, and cook my own food. Are there times I hire a pro, recognizing that the job is beyond my capabilities? You bet your ass, but I am NOT paying someone $600 to hook up a sink or $900 to hook up a water conditioner. A job I learned to do myself by watching a YouTube video. That’s part of what being a functional human that doesn’t need to call people charging inflated prices for something simple means.

I will also say to Joe Blow that his comment violated the rule that this blog has about personal attacks. I allowed it because he is a long time commenter, but that is the only mulligan you get:

 I hope your hack-job on the water pipe bursts and floods your brand new basement and your homeowners denies your claim because you were unlicensed.

The joke is on you, asshole. Houses in Florida don’t have basements, and the entire plumbing job is in the garage or just outside of it, which is below the grade of the rest of the house. That’s what “shit goes downhill” part of the rules of plumbing covers. See how easy it is?


In the past week, I have been receiving 100 spam comments per day, and spammers have been signing up for user accounts at a rate of 60 or 70 per day. Not only that, but I am getting 50 or 60 spam emails per day to my admin address.

So, for starters, I have banned the IP of the most egregious offender. I am also suspending the ability for people to sign up for user accounts. Sigh. I have too much going on right now to deal with this.

People Trying to Help

We closed on the house, which wound up taking all day. The reason it took so long was that the woman at the title company took it upon herself to “correct mistakes” that she thought that she had found in the financing paperwork. This caused a cascade of issues that added four hours to the time needed to close, and required a personal visit from the President of the mortgage broker’s company to fix. As a result of her mistake, it added $200 to the closing costs, which I refused to pay, so the finance company was forced to eat it.

My original plan was to spend a couple of weeks getting the place ready to move in, then we would spend another couple of weeks actually moving. There was a lot that needed to happen before we started moving in. I had to:

  • Change the locks. I don’t care if it’s a brand new house, I always change the locks so I can be sure that I know who has keys to my place.
  • I bought commercial concrete paint and sealant. It takes three days to apply and another three days to cure, but gives you a very professional looking, durable, slip resistant floor that won’t absorb things spilled on it, such as motor oil. It wasn’t cheap. Enough to do a three car garage cost about a thousand bucks. The floor looks great, though. I paid it because you only get one chance to seal a new floor.
  • I had to install four televisions on the wall, six ceiling fans, and replace 12 light fixtures. The light fixtures that came with the house were the cheap ones because I didn’t like the choices that they had, so I bought my own. The lighting looks great.
  • I installed a whole home sound system, the home network, added some power receptacles in the garage where my workbench will be, because I wasn’t willing to pay the $140 per extra outlet that the contractor charges to add them. I added 4 outlets for about $100.
  • I paid movers to move the furniture, and a locksmith specializing in safes moved the gun safe. We moved everything else. The movers took care of every single piece of furniture that my wife didn’t place off limits because the pieces were fragile or very valuable. For example, I have an antique AM radio that uses tubes. It used to belong to my grandfather, and my dad listened to the old radio programs on it as a child. I won’t plug it in, but it looks great in the man cave.

So that was the plan. The plan died when my wife’s family came over to help. They decided to do a lot of stuff while I was working, so it put things into overdrive. We wound up moving the entire household in only 8 days. Now I am sitting in my house, surrounded by dozens of boxes, trying to organize and put things away. I still have to get a plumber to come over and install the water softener, and I will need to spend a couple of weeks getting the old house ready to either rent or sell.

Normal blogging to resume today.

On a side note, my shower in this new house is pure indulgence. Three showerheads, it’s like showering in a car wash.


You will note that there was not really a post yesterday. There really isn’t one today, and there may not be one tomorrow morning, either.

Events in my personal life have been taking up all of my time as of late. We went to retrieve Mom’s ashes from the Funeral Home, then there are work obligations, preparations for the coming holiday, final inspections on our new home, completing financing and preparing to close on the same, and preparing for our upcoming move.

In other words, something has to give, and there is no spare time for me to post for now. Maybe by Tuesday.

At least college is on semester break right now, so that helps a bit. College sure is easier when you are younger and have fewer responsibilities. The only nice thing about being so busy is that my life and time are so full that I don’t have time to dwell on the loss of my mother and the grief that would otherwise consume me.