One More Reason

Ask questions and give answers about computers, mobile devices, game boxes, PC security and all manner of geeky stuff.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

Your story about messing with your dad's car reminded me of a YouTube video I once saw. Since I normally don't peruse YouTube it could have been a video you recommended. LOL The theme was the same as in your story. A guy parallel parked his car in a very small space between two other cars. He had about 6 inches of space in front and in back after he squeezed it all in. The amusing part of the video was that the cars in front of and in back of him could not get out of their parking spaces. They had to wait for this guy to come back from hiding. LOL As you must have done there was a lot of wheel turning plus back and forth movement only a few inches at a time. Since your dad had to go to work, I can understand why he was a bit upset with you. Otherwise it was pretty funny for you to do such a thing.

I played around with HO railroad models for a few years but never got past laying it out on the kitchen floor. I recall having quite a few accessories because one of my schoolmates had parents who owned a hobby shop. I didn't get any discounts, but I did have first choice of all the cool new things they had in stock. The entire collection was packed away in boxes and sold at a garage sale for $7.00 just before we moved into a new house. I recall the guy buying it hesitating because he didn't think it was worth that much. It was well used, to be sure. I never attempted to build it on a table or on a plywood panel because we simply didn't have that much room for anything so large.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

I saw a video once where a guy put his dads brand new car in the back of an old dump truck, nobody thought it even ran anymore. But this guy was working on it and got it back to running really well. They had a ramp up to a dock for loading cattle onto tractor-trailers. He just backed the old dump truck up to this ramp and drove his dads car into it, then pulled the old truck back to where it had been sitting for years, making sure to get the tires into the same place as they were with weeds around them. The whole highlight of the video was his dad coming out of the house, looking at his car and walking around the dump truck, most of what he said was bleeped out, hi hi.

My dad had an awesome Lionel layout that he extended greatly. Had a whole large room just for that layout too. Although my brother and I could play with it when he was there the room with us. When we got a little older, he gave both of us a key to that room so we could play anytime we wanted. He started his collection right after he built the house in 1949. In 1966 he was going to sell it, because he knew what he had was worth a lot, but had no takers. So he dismantled the whole thing and packed it away for a year as he got settled in the new house. Then suddenly he got all gung-ho about it once again, and built a waist high bench 6 feet wide and 20 feet long in a corner of the basement. Had my cousin paint scenery on the basement wall like you would see as the backdrop behind a railroad. Did some pretty fancy work on that new train board with elevations, trestles, and the like. In the '60s I was more into working on cars, so didn't pay much attention to his train layout, but was still interested in it. I just didn't like that 3-rail Lionel look of the track. Dad loved it because everything was functional. At least three nights a week he spent his time down there with his model railroad. On occasion, my brother and I might turn it on and play racing around the many tracks, sometimes having a crash, which angered dad to no end.

Around 1963 I got interested in HO trains, but more in design than actually running trains, and built a beautiful layout in the side of my room. It was only like 3 feet wide and 10 feet long, which is all the room I had in my bedroom. But with the work I did to it, it looked real, more real if you took a picture and looked at the picture. During my last year of high school, dad was having a house built out in Ballwin, and they would move out there in 1966 a few months before my graduation from high school. I had made my HO layout in such a way, it could be taken apart in 3 separate sections without messing up the design work. I sold it to a friend for like 250 bucks. Dad advertised his layout for months with no takers, not even after he cut the price in half like 3 or 4 times. So he simply gave it away to a long time friend of his who had younger boys. I later found out that this person he sold it to, ended up selling off the more expensive pieces one at a time for big bucks, but I sure didn't tell dad about him doing that. Heck, the big 25 pound 4 control transformers sold for over 100 bucks each used.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

My first train set was given to me by my godmother. It was an American Flyer train. Lionel was THE popular train in those days and I don't know why she decided on some other brand. It probably had something to do with the cost. Just before we moved here to Missouri I looked up what the going prices were for my particular model engine. My very used engine could have fetched around $125. The tracks, transformer, and an assortment of cars were basically worthless. I tested the dual control transformer and it still output AC after nearly 65 years of sitting idle. There was a model train dealer not too far from where I lived but I never took it in for an appraisal. Even if I got the $125 I was too busy trying to move. Thus I have it in my basement here. I think model railroads are a figment of the past. I only knew one fellow at Motorola who had an enormous layout and still maintained it. Now and days if I want to get into model railroading, there are computer programs for that. LOL

My godmother lived on the south side of Chicago near Comisky Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. It was a trip to another world when we went visiting there, and part of the charm was the family atmosphere out on the streets. You might say they were gangs. There were several so called gangs and for the most part they got along because they each knew to stay out of certain territories. My cousin never joined the family, but he was buddies with quite a few members. When he got old enough he bought a Trans Am. We went for a joy ride or two and it was an amazing car. He never parked it on the street, however. If he wasn't driving it, it was in the garage. Apparently things like Trans Ams didn't stay on public property very long. Well, cousin Bob told the story of one of his gang buddies who did not have a garage for whatever souped up car he owned. He did have a chain that he attached to an axle (back when cars actually had axles) and wrapped around a huge tree in the parkway. One day, so it was said, he came out to his car and it was reversed and still chained to the tree. The was a sign on the windshield that simply said, "if we want it, we can take it at any time." I'm not sure how true that story was, but that was indeed the kind of neighborhood cousin Bob lived in.
Last edited by yogi on 29 Jun 2022, 22:16, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

I once visited Rochesters home. The Rochester from the Jack Benny Show, real name was Edmund Lincoln Anderson I think, but folks who called him by a full name called him Eddie Rochester Anderson, hi hi.
I got married the first time in 1968 and we spent our honeymoon at Lake of the Ozarks and man was it cold.
A week after we got home from our honeymoon, my request for an invite for a tour to see Eddie Anderson's train layout and gardens was in our mailbox. I had spent almost all our money on the wedding and honeymoon, so had to borrow the funds to take a trip out to Los Angeles, California. We arrived on an earlier flight to LAX so had to spend some time there, since our ride was not scheduled until 10 am. There were 6 couples and 4 single folks we met all going on the same tour, so we all sat there on the bench at the pick-up area, until one of the single guys said here comes our ride. It was a humongous airport type of limousine, the kind that looks more like a squat but fancy bus. I thought it would take us to a motel, but instead we were taken straight to Rochesters massive house. There was a small auditorium on the right side, and this is where the limo placed everyone's bags, except mine, because I travel light and just held onto mine, but the wife's suitcase was there, right in front of everyone else's. We all took the chairs and listened to a couple of people speak about the house, the grounds, and Rochester's career. I don't think they would stop talking if it were not for someone else coming into the room and announcing that lunch would be served in 15 minutes. That's when another person called each of us and gave us keys to our room. Turned out, one wing of his house was the motel part of the package. After lunch the tour of the house started, and culminated in a long dissertation about his fetish with trains. Then came the tour of the trains sections of the house and gardens. They couldn't have had a more boring speaker talking about the layout, the cars and engines, and how it all works.
He had a train layout running throughout his house and garden, it had massive train turntables, both indoors and outdoors.
He ran both Bachmann and Lionel trains.
But it turned out to be our lucky day. Although we didn't meet Rochester personally yet, he was up in a tower, which was his control room we got to see early in the tour. He must have had about 10 different trains running on different tracks all at the same time. And we got to see him use the outdoor turntable to park one engine, and bring out another.
Most of the folks that were in the tour were only there for the tour and nothing else, while 4 couples, including my new wife and I were to spend the night. We had a wonderful dinner of which about the time deserts were served, Rochester came in to the center area of the long table and greeted all of us, did a couple of little skits with the servers. We were on the opposite side of the table, so didn't get to shake his hand. He only shook hands with two people on the other side of the table close to where he did his little skit.
After dinner we could walk in the back garden, but not where the train tracks were, we were pretty tired anyhow so went to our room around 8 pm. The limo to take us back to the airport would be there at 9 am, so we had to be in the auditorium by then with our bags, ready to go. There were only 8 of us going back to the airport and we all talked the whole way about the train layout and the house. Must be nice to be rich, hi hi. We were the only ones from St. Louis and that flight was ready to leave, we almost missed it by the time they get done with our boarding passes. The pilot walked up the gangway ahead of us, that's how late we were, hi hi. I carried my bag like always, and we had to wait for my wife's bag to come down out of the chute back and STL. And talk about cold back in STL, about froze my bejesus off waiting for our cab.

Yes, I've heard about the South Side of Chicago. They even wrote a song about it, hi hi.
I'll say this, I loved my 50th Anniversary Special Edition TransAm that my ExWife took as part of our separation, and left me the payment book, hi hi. At least I was making good money back then.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

I recall watching the Jack Benny show and the character Rochester. The house you describe sounds like something Jack would own, not Eddie. LOL I often wonder what kind of place I would live in if I were wealthy. Of all the times I contemplated the fantasy I never came to a conclusion. I would have a service staff and probably live on one of the Florida Keys or perhaps Tenerife. One of the people who used to visit this website regularly lived on Tenerife and told some amazing stories about the lifestyle there. But I have no idea what the residence would look like. I decided to put off the decision until a later date.

Ahh yes, Leroy Brown lived on the South Side of Chicago, so the song goes. Cousin Bob worked for Vienna, the people who made the hot dogs and were eventually bought out by Sara Lee. Bob was a programmer, but not like any of the programmers I worked with at Motorola. His job was to program machines that mixed the meats and spices to the exact specifications required. This programming was done with jumper wires that were arranged on a plug board that fit into the mixing machine. The jumpers determined what got mixed and in what quantities. Bob got to be pretty good at it and was treated well by the management. That's how he could afford a TransAm. But, alas, when Sara Lee took over they decided to upgrade to real computers. Bob wasn't trained in that kind of programming so that he left the company before he became obsolete.

The south side of Chicago got it's reputation back in the Civil Rights days when people started migrating out of the south and headed north. The neighborhood cousin Bob lived in was an island so to speak. The mayor of Chicago lived inside that island for many years and speaking in relative terms there was little trouble in what they called Bridgeport. The housing projects were a short distance away in one direction and downtown Chicago an equally short distance in the other direction. All the police hung out in the mayor's neighborhood, of course, because they were actually afraid to patrol or answer calls in the projects. People with guns lived there and they didn't favor police or fire fighters for that matter. The distance between the ghettos and the downtown business district was fairly short. It truly was amazing to see the difference as you drove through. And I did drive through some of those seedy neighborhoods. Never stopped, but I did drive through. :grin:
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

Can I brag for a second? I lived in an 18-room house with a second partial basement under the first.
Only stayed there 5 years due to the 1,200 dollar per month heating bill, hi hi.

If I was rich, I still would not have a big monster size house. Nor a two-story, it would be a ranch home of less than 2,000 sq. ft.
But I would have a cleaning staff for both house and yard! Especially ones good with landscape and laundry, hi hi.

What you just described about Bob and the blending machines, sounds almost like our soil blending and bagging machines.
Only George, Richard, and myself, knew how to set them up for a run. Originally, the machines hand those push-down clips you slipped the wires through to make it do certain things. But I replaced all of those clips with Banana Plug Sockets, and added Banana plugs to the wires. I also color coded the wires which helped Richard get it right the first time, hi hi.
We were a big operation, and supplied bags of potting soil and other items, to the area garden and hardware stores. Even Woolworths, Famous Barr, Kresgies, and some department stores with garden centers all bought from us in the '60s and '70s.
We also sold loose potting soil to other small greenhouses in the area by dumptruck loads.
You wouldn't believe some of the strange looking machines we had on our place, some of them dated back to the 1940's and were still in daily use.
I made many modifications and additions to the working areas of our place over the years, which not only sped up production, but also made the jobs much easier. Not all of my ideas panned out, they worked, but those who had to use them didn't like how they worked, although they were faster than doing it by hand or with the old machine they used, they said they were more tired using them than doing it the old way. When they showed my why it was more tiring, I made other modifications if I was allowed to. My uncle who headed the greenhouse operations didn't like the space some of them took up for what they did.

We had some really bad neighborhoods in downtown St. Louis also. You definitely wouldn't want to be stuck there at night, hi hi. But sometimes, even the bad guys surprise you. I had to go down to North Grand to pick up something, and when I came out, my car wouldn't start, and it was already dusk. I was the last customer and the store was locked as I exited. Some real seedy looking folks walking down the sidewalk gave me the evil eye. But I just sat there with my doors locked. I must have sat there for over 2 hours hoping the battery would build up enough to start the car, but it didn't. An old man in a De Soto pulled up beside me and said, you were sitting here when I went to pick-up my son, a young lad was in the back seat. I told him my battery didn't have enough juice to start the car, and asked if he could call me tow-truck. He said I'll do you one better than that, pop the hood and I'll give you a jump. He backed is car around in a loop on the street so he could pull in with the front of his car against mine, opened my hood and his hood and placed the jumpers. My car started right up. He put the jumpers away and closed both of our hoods. I cracked my window to thank him and offer him 5 bucks, which is all I had on me at the time. He wouldn't take the money. Said he would turn around and follow me until he had to turn to go home. And that he did, all the way through the bad area. I wrote down his license plate number because I still wanted to send him a few bucks, and with the police working as drivers for us, I figured it wouldn't be a problem for them to mail it to him for me. I don't know if he ever got it or not, but assume he did.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

Most of those ghetto bad guys suffer from being stereotyped. A lot of the folks who live in bad neighborhoods would not be there if they had a choice. But things like poverty and the color of their skin makes them do things most people try to avoid. The gangs of Chicago are generally fun loving young kids with a lot of time on their hands. Then, too, when playing with the gang their idea of fun tends to get extreme. I think your encounter with the helpful person when your battery died was not unusual. It just happened in one of those places we normally try to avoid being.

My cousin Bob was only a couple years younger than me. We lived on opposite sides of Chicago which was unfortunate because we got along so well. The neighborhood he lived in, Bridgeport, was where my mom's family came from. One or two of her sisters never left even when most of the other siblings came to the north side. It is a very old part of Chicago just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the original one that burned down. Bob married about the same time I did, but he never had any children. He and his wife lived next door to the house where he grew up for several years. Then one day we received some stunning news. Cousin Bob died in his sleep. I don't recall exactly how old he was, but I don't think he reached 40 yet. He was a bit over weight but we never heard of any life threatening diseases he could have had. All we ever were told is that he died peacefully while asleep. I guess such things can happen, but I also suspect there is more to the story.
If I was rich, I still would not have a big monster size house. Nor a two-story, it would be a ranch home of less than 2,000 sq. ft.
That is exactly the house I left to come here in Missouri. I was basically the maintenance crew because we could not afford to hire others to do the work. LOL We have a bit over 2,000 sq ft in the current house and it is a single story with a walk out basement. If I get lucky with the lotto my final resting place would be slightly larger. My bath, for example, would be about the size of the master bedroom which would not work in the current floor plan. I would also have a dedicated man cave for me and my computers. And, there would need to be at least three or four bedrooms to accommodate potential guests. Being wealthy I would expect more people to come visit than do presently. I also miss that small forest in the old house so that any new improved version would be on nothing more than 5 acres of land. My wife thinks like you do and would want to go smaller than what I envision, but I think she would change her mind if she didn't have to do all the housework by herself. :mrgreen:
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

The man was concerned enough about my safety, he followed me out of the area, and stayed behind me until he had to make his turn toward home. I thought that was super nice of him.
I do understand what you mean though. The area I live in here, due to its age, and now being a low rent district, with meth labs to the east, and projects to the west, and minorities moving in here all around us. It is not unusual to hear gunshot from either end of where we live. At one time it was a super nice neighborhood. Now, not so safe anymore.

Debi's nieces husband, only about 35 years old, was sitting on the back porch talking with the neighbor, his wife went inside to get him a drink because he said he was super thirsty all of a sudden. Before she got back, less than thirty seconds, he went crashing to the floor from his chair. His aeorta split, so they said he died instantly. Other than that, he was a thin guy like me, and worked everyday in an auto repair shop, plus had a small farm about 2 acres he kept planted and harvested.
One never knows when their number will be called up yonder!

I have my man cave in the garage, and honestly, it is much nicer than most folks master bedrooms.
I took out about 1/3 of the woods that were up on the back hill, but only because it was cleared once about 20 years prior, so no really huge trees, except for three which I kept in place. Plus there are several trees in the back yard before you start up the steeper hill.
I just wish I would have got done with all the renovations I wanted to do before my heart attacks, and now with COPD I can't do anything strenuous at all anymore. I only had to simple rooms to go too. The master bedroom, guest bedroom (Debi's Office), the Bathroom and Kitchen were the main ones I got done the way we wanted them. And the kitchen included tearing out an exterior wall to make it bigger, and enclosing the patio for that purpose. Then I enclosed the front porch but never finished the inside of it yet. The two rooms that are not done, I still wanted to replace all the wiring in them, plus on the front porch. My original goal was to make the front porch a small studio for Debi. Now I want it finished so I can move my office into there, since I don't do a business anymore and don't need the working space for getting all the paperwork and labels ready for the order.

Because of our age and health, it would be better if we were in a seniors apartment complex, but they all cost a boatload more money per month than I make in a year, hi hi.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

One thing about a gang type mentality is that they need a reason to be violent. They don't go around raping and pillaging just for the fun of it, unless it happens to be in a competing gang's territory. But that's a different story. I have taken a drive through some of the worst parts of Chicago and was warned in advance not to stop for any length of time. During the sixties when burning down the city and rioting was popular I drove through the heart of it all on my way to and from cousin Bob's house. There weren't many people nor cars for that matter, but we made it through without incident. In fact I worked on the fringe of a bad neighborhood. During those rioting days we would walk a block over to a restaurant and have lunch. One day we were stopped crossing the main drag because a bus was coming and it was surrounded by what must have been a couple hundred people. They were rocking the bus and it was slowly creeping along trying not to kill anybody. The crowd walked around us. LOL We didn't expect what we saw and were too stunned to run and hide. The guy in the restaurant thought we were nuts for being there. We probably were, but we ordered lunch as we usually did and walked back to work without incident. That main drag was empty by that time. It was a six lane street with no traffic in either direction as far as we could see. My point is the crowd of rowdies was not interested in us. They were after whoever was in that bus. So, in a strange kind of way we were safe.

One of the oddest things about O'Fallon is that from time to time I see people walking their dogs down the street in front of my house well after the sun has set. Not too long ago it was 11:30PM when I saw what appeared to be a dog walker out there. I lived in a fairly safe neighborhood up by Chicago, but nobody there would dare do such a thing. I think it was all perception and no real reason to be afraid, but people, in particular women, just don't go out alone at night even in their home neighborhoods. I read that O'Fallon was considered one of the safest places to live not too long ago. Then I also read in the neighborhood newsletter about things being stolen and weird characters roaming in people's back yards. Some post Ring Camera photos of the suspects. There is a lot of fear mongering going on, but there is also a lot of what could be naive people walking the streets too. It's a strange mix down here and I don't know what to make of it.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

When I was buying and renovating inner city houses, I had some folks in the know that knew which block of what street was safe, and which wasn't. One house I had, the last to sell was on California Avenue, and was like the second house down from a really rough neighborhood. But for some reason unknown to me, nobody up there dared cross beyond the intersection. And the people who lived on that street, both sides, were always nice to me, and couple were even helpful at times. I was glad when I finally was able to sell that house after a year long wait finding a buyer. Although in the end it was a total loss to me.

Where I live, although at one time it was all of Debi''s relatives who have been gone for decades. And all the original neighbors have died off, and a lot of riff raff has moved in. Next door to my west, their house was broken into several times, but by kids their kids knew and they only stole stuff that belonged to the kids.
But across the street where my siding guy used to live, he had more than a few people who didn't like him very much, and his ex-wife was always causing him all kinds of problems. His house was broken into at least three times before he sold and moved out. The first new family that lived there, they both worked, and someone who thought it was still the siding guys house broke in and shot both of their dogs and stole whatever they could get out of there. The police eventually caught them, and they were after the siding guys stuff, didn't know it was new people there.
The new family that is there now are very nice folks, the old man even brings my garbage can back up the driveway for me.

My wife and I used to do some fake maneuvers outside, and I used to hang Red LED lights up in different areas around the property that flashed like once per minute until the batteries went dead.
We had this very bright red LED that was part of a lantern, and Debi would go into the bedroom with it, and point down at my driveway entrance. I would walk down there, especially when we saw older kids playing around, and I would pretend that I was testing the distance trigger of the device. When I started walking toward the house, she would flash the bright red LED light at me. And we would do this for a while until it only flashed after I was 3 feet onto the property. Then I would act like I was talking to her on a cell phone, and would say, OK, that's about right, turn off the light and set it back to record.

I've now lived here over 20 years, and we never have people come onto our property, unless they are welcome, or belong here. Even my two storage sheds behind the house, that have locks, but I leave them unlocked, have never been messed with. We did have a couple of kids cutting through from behind us down the edge of our property, through the woods and out to the street for a while, but I replaced the red flashers and they stopped cutting through, went on the other side of the neighbors to the east. I guess they are all grown now, or driving, hi hi.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

It appears that you and I have had similar experiences with "bad" actors. Some are not as bad as they are pictured to be. Then there are the bad actors who you can't distinguish from the good guys. This was the case with the guy who laid down the sod at my newly built house up by Chicago. The general contractor hired him and the first time I met him was when he brought his BobCat over to level the dirt. He seemed like a nice fellow and knowledgeable about what he was doing. He gave us a copy of a contract that was simple enough to understand but we perused it overnight before we signed it. Wife added a small clause that said he would complete the "entire" job within the specified time frame. It was initialed and everything to be legal. Next day we gave him back the contract and he was very confused. He wanted to know what exactly we wrote in as an addition. It was pretty clearly stated but he didn't seem to understand it. After some hesitation he accepted it and said he would have his wife look it over but would begin the work anyway. We learned later that this fellow was illiterate. He could not read.

When I found out about his illiteracy I apologized to him and we got to talking a bit. He told me that he never learned how to read because he had a difficult childhood and spent a lot of time in a juvenile detention center where they didn't have much schooling. I thought that was unfortunate but he now seemed pretty normal and in fact runs a business. Then he told me he could not learn what he missed as a child because he murdered the guy his girlfriend was cheating with. Murdered? Yes, he lost his temper and could not control himself. This guy was in his early 30's so that I assumed he didn't spend a lot of time in jail for the murder.

Well it took him about a week to do the whole 1/3 acre. Each day he brought a different helper with him and arrived around noon. That was a pretty late start for most people in that business, but who was I to tell him how to run his business? The only down side was his late arrival must have added a day or two to the length of the job. Then, after the job was complete, I found out the helpers he brought were actually kids from the local detention center in the county next to ours. So, in essence this guy with a very questionable past was actually doing something to help out kids that needed it.

I like the scheme you describe regarding the red LED. It is reminiscent of those houses that have automatic lights turning on and off when they are away. Any crook worth their salt would recognize the pattern of lights being turned on and no people present. LOL My idea of security if I ever needed to get serious about it would be something like CCTV that records events initiated by unexpected motion. Now and days you can get cameras that broadcast live to your smartphone too. That's all compliments of IoT. Oh, yes, if I ever do that I WILL remember to change the default password. :lol:

There seems to be a trend lately reported by several neighbors in our newsletter. Apparently gangs of kids, some identified as pre-teens, have been running up to houses late at night and ringing the doorbell and/or pounding on the front door. Of course they run off an hide to the consternation of the home owner. We had that happen only a few times up north, but never (so far) down here. It's all kind of innocent fun, but I don't quite get the fun part. Then again, it's been a long time since I was a kid. If that's all the problems we have around here, I'd be happy. But apparently the victims do not appreciate the pranks. Not much you can do about it anyway.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

Wow, an interesting story. I'm glad the guy was doing something good. He probably committed the murder before he was 16, maybe even much younger. I once read about an 11 year old who shot her step-father. When the reason why came out, she was cleared of any wrongdoing.

When I first moved down here, I had the empty tube from a Furuno Radar system for boats. It still had the 12 volt DC motor attached that made it spin. It looked more like the kind Garmin now sells, since Furuno are all round disks now. I ran a telephone wire down from it, and connected it to a 12 volt 1 am wall wart inside the garage. And for about two years, I had a screensaver that looked like a Radar Screen showing planes. I took an old computer and set the monitor on top of it, so it was visible from outside through the office window. It was carefully placed so you could see the green blips all the way from the street, before my bushes in the front grew too tall, hi hi.
Right before that old computer died, I found I could manipulate the screen saver image a bit, and changed the planes to look like dogs, and a couple to look like people. I could set where on the screen the blips would appear also. So I made the blips of the people as if they were down on the street, and the dog blips in various places of my back yard, and had them moving around quite often too. I had a couple of visitors who I let into my office, because I wanted them to know my yard was well monitored. Both were area older kids who I used back then to do some chores for me. They never set foot on my property after that, unless I called them to come do something, hi hi. I did scare one of them, because I told him not to go behind the garage. However, I also told him to put the brush on a pile over the fence. He saw it was quicker to take the route behind the garage than around the outside of the fence. It was OK that he did that, but he didn't know I saw him behind the garage. So when he came to get paid for his work, I reminded him about my telling him not to go behind the garage. He said sorry, it was just faster to put the trash over the fence from there than going around the other way. So I said, well, that was OK you did it then, but my radar showed you in an unapproved area. He looked over at the screen and said sorry again. I said no problem, just let me know first if you are going that way so it don't set off my equipment alerts.

Debi's aunt's boys installed a RING doorbell, and it is geared to the boys and Debi's phones. Since she was only a block away, we could go check faster than anyone else. It is amazing the things you can see from one of those. I guess they are nice if you can afford the cellular connection cost for them. Apparently there are higher costs if you want the times it is triggered to be recorded. I do know Debi will hit the record button on her phone if she sees something or someone that don't belong there. But I think she only gets 3 minutes before she has to hid the record button again.

I had a computer monitor mount camera I installed in my dug-out basement when I was working down there all the time. It was hardwired to Debi's computer so she could check on me. It is so old now I don't even think it works anymore, and Debi has been through three computers since then too.

We had a neighbor back home, who would collect cow manure from a farm across the street in a paper bag. Go set it on someones front porch, light the paper bag, ring the doorbell, then run like hell to keep from getting caught. But always stayed somewhere hidden where he could see them stomp on the bag of wet manure, hi hi.
One neighbor had these huge bushes that the kids cleaned out underneath like a fort. It only had greenery on the tips of the branches, so it was fairly hollow underneath, well, after they removed all the dead or non-consequential branches. They had to leave the main branches of course, but there was still plenty of room under there to hide and watch people, hi hi.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

The Ring Cameras are useful up to a point. It's convenient that they connect to the Amazon cloud, but as you have already reported with your Alexa experiences that Amazon Cloud is not always user friendly. Even if you get by the potential conflicts with your LAN, I have seen a few lists of IP addresses that connect to Ring Cameras, or their likes. Apparently it's all IoT and could be password protected, but the lists I've seen are for cameras who have owners that know nothing about security. It could be quite entertaining to watch somebody's security system, but of the few times I did it nothing of interest ever showed up. I was able to move the camera on a few, but not even a stray cat showed up. I think a few hundred dollars will get you a decent system, but I'd probably not want a security system made by Amazon. I have enough trouble with there shopping websites.

You went through a lot of trouble setting up the fake radar system, but I guess in the end it was effective. I had thoughts of something a little more simple, such as motion detectors along the perimeter of my house. Id be turning on some high power spotlights if some unusual motion was being detected. Since most of the bad actors want to avoid visibility the unexpected brilliant lighting would seem to discourage most of them. I suppose I could also turn on a camera and record the action as long as the stage lights were on, but that would add complexity and expense to the system. While I hear about paranoid people spotting various shady dudes roaming about the city, I've never yet heard of any house break ins. I don't get all the news, of course, so I might have a false sense of security.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

My neighbor has 5 motion sensor floodlights. They are battery powered with a solar cell to recharge the batteries. The one on the corner by my house, he repointed a little bit more away from my driveway, but it still lights up my driveway, it just doesn't hit it directly anymore. They are not connected to anything else, self-contained like a yard solar light only 100 times brighter.
They are made to look like they have a camera, but they don't. Just a big empty box with a lens and antenna that does nothing.

My system really wasn't all that much trouble. The little LED lights came from grocery store displays. I'm sure you've seen them hanging on the edge of a shelf to attract attention a number of years ago. A bamboo fishing pole was used to lift them up to a tree branch next to the trunk of the tree.
On my office window that faces south, I had this electronic dog training device. it is just a blue box that looks about like the old fat remotes for TVs, but it has a wire mesh over the end where the speaker is. It broke years ago, but I leave it on the windowsill with that little screen facing outward, on the other side of the blinds, easily visible in the window, and it makes it look like a motion detector that covers my back area between the sheds.

But the old Radar looking Tube on top of the garage was the best deterrent I think. It went south with the hailstorm and I never made another to put up there after getting the new roof.

I think word of mouth from the area kids passing on the info that it is not safe to go into my yard has made a lasting affect.
Plus they know we have guns here too, hi hi.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

I'm probably asking for trouble by tempting Fate. But, I have no other security devices in or around my home other than the locks on the doors and windows. Neither of those would stop a curious 8 year old boy, much less a professional thief. I probably should be more concerned than I am because I read stories from the neighbors of O'Fallon wherein they talk about shady characters and strange experiences involving the underworld. An example would be the post warning people not to leave mail in their mailboxes for pickup. Apparently this lady had some mail removed by other than a postal worker. She never mentioned what happened to her personally, but she claimed that people use a special bleach to erase the names you have written into the payee line of the check and substitute it with their own name. I'm guessing that is technically possible, but likely? I dunno about that. And, because I dunno, and in spite of my wife's warnings, I still put mail in the box for pickup. My wife, on the other hand, goes to the post office to drop mail off there. Apparently people don't steal mail from the boxes in front of the post office. :rolleyes:

That's just one story. Every carjacking reported in or near St Louis is supposed to make me afraid to drive my car. And, of course I must not set foot onto the streets of O'Fallon once the sun has set lest I become victim to an early demise (hah, too late for me to die early, I say). I have read about a suicide and an apparently mentally disoriented persons or two roaming loose, but unlike Chicago I've not read about any murders in the area. Nor have I read of any armed robberies. There have been robberies, but most of those were of cars with the keys left in the ignitions. Duhhh! Well, the people around here must be shaking in their boots judging by what I've read in the newsletters. None of them have so much as even visited Chicago. Chicago is the murder capital of the world, but here I am after 72 years living there telling you about it.

So, I don't get it. I am old and I am vulnerable, yes. However, I am not afraid. And, no, I do not own a gun for self protection or any other reason. If I did own a gun, by the way, it would be nothing less than a 12 gauge shotgun. Maybe a grenade launcher too. I'm a terrible shot and need all the help I could get. The point of all this raving is that I'm not too concerned about protecting myself from a potential danger. That's mostly due to the fact that I've never been attacked. My house has never been broken into. My cars have not been hijacked. And, I have walked the streets of CHICAGO at night without a gun in my pocket. I will confess to being bothered by a few bratty kids over the years, but each and every time the problem was solved if I was able to confront the street urchin. In most cases I have not caught the kid red handed, but then the most damage they did was pull a few tomato plants out of the garden, roots and all.

We all got to do whatever it takes for us to be able to sleep comfortably at night. I understand that and can't really blame those paranoid ladies who photograph little kids ringing their doorbells. They also photograph cars they don't recognize, and one got a picture of some guy on her back patio at 4 AM looking into her window. That's all he did, by the way. Should I have a need to feel more secure than I do at this moment, I will get me one of those shotguns, and a complete security system connected to the police dispatcher's desk. Nothing less will do. But then I would be afraid that all that visible protection would attract people who love a challenge.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

I've had three vehicles stolen, not here, back home in St. Loo. Two of them were my work trucks filled with tools.
My son had the engine stole from his car, right in front of our house, and his window faced the street, he never heard a thing. What irked me is the cops would not even dust the underside of the hood they removed and set down in the yard, that is the obvious place to find fingerprints.
The car was found totaled. The first work truck was found completely cleaned out of my tools, and other inventory items in it, plus the tires and wheels and radio, which never worked, hi hi. The second work truck was found wrecked and all the restaurant equipment inside was taken, probably removed before the accident. It was still driveable to get it back home, but I was lucky to get back home in it due to damage to the radiator and I found I could not turn the wheels to the left very far. Knowing this, I only made right turns to get into my driveway, hi hi. Took me about a week to fix what damage was done. It looks like what they may have hit would have been a small post, probably filled with concrete, but where I have no idea. They left the truck in a parking lot. Hmm, maybe they hit light standard in the parking lot?

I've never had a house actually broken into, but then too I've never lived anywhere where it was an option. It would have been very hard to get into my house from the front or the back, and I never had any fancy locks.
Down here is a different story, a crook could spend an entire day unseen trying to get into this house. Shielded from the road, and from the neighbors pretty much. Which is why I had all those little red lights around the place for a long time.

Houses I bought for renovation, of which the ones I was working on, were always getting broken into to steal the materials, or the new copper plumbing I put in. I put a stop to that using an electric fence box and I would tie the loose wires from it to the doorhandles and metal frame around the windows, and especially the chain link fence box I put around the new AC unit I installed outside. Even if they got in the fence, what they don't know is that sucker was bolted down to anchors I put in the concrete slab.
I had one house waiting for renovation that someone in the area tore down their garage and dumped all the waste, including the metal frame and rails for the garage door, down the step to my basement from inside the kitchen. Cops didn't care, even though I knew who's garage it was. I ended up selling that house without doing anything to it myself.
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

Now that I think back upon it, we did have some vandalism on the last house I lived in. It occurred before the house was finished. They were at the stage where wall board was installed and being taped. One night a bunch of delinquent kids got into the house and poked holes into the new walls. They set small fires on some of the window sills that had untrimmed Tyvek sticking out of the frame. Fortunately nothing significant burned. And, just to add to the fun, one of the kids took a dump into the bathtub. The cops didn't do much of anything but make a report. But apparently the insurance company was more adamant.

The insurance inspectors found out who the kids were. It was quite easy in fact. When they came out to look over the damage one kid was standing on the sidewalk watching them. They approached the kid and asked if he knew who did the damage. He did. And, he gave names and addresses. LOL The insurance people went after the parents to recover the costs of repairs. One family refused outright because their kid would never do such a thing. The other dad was a contractor and told the investigator that he would personally do the repairs because the insurance people were asking too much to have it done. The insurance people would have nothing to do with that idea, but that dad paid them half of what the claim was. He expected the other family to do the same. I don't know why the other family got away paying nothing, but I'm sure that kid didn't come near the house anymore afterwards.

I think we were lucky with our automobiles because they always were parked in the garage. One time while shopping at a mall somebody broke the window on the drivers side and absconded with a pair of prescription glasses I left in the car. Amazing as it seems, they did not take the cell phone that was on the floor of the back seat - it was one of those brick phones and pretty hard to miss. That's about it as far as theft of motor vehicles goes. I don't think I'm doing anything special so that it's pure luck we haven't been hit harder, yet.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

I've had all the electric wires and copper pipes stripped out of houses I bought to renovate.
I had to laugh at it because, it saved me the trouble of tearing it all out to put new in, hi hi.
The only thing I lost was the salvage value of the wire and pipes I would have removed.

One of my aunts had this big old gunboat of a station wagon. Way back in the '60s when nobody locked their cars on the company parking lot. She got off work to find a hobo sleeping in the back of her car. She said it is a good thing she was in the habit of looking in her windows before getting into the car. She came running back into the shop to let us know there was someone in her car. Just so happens one of the off duty policemen that work as drivers for us was there, and he went out to her car. The guy was just getting out of her car so he was caught. He just said I needed a place to take a nap, I didn't take or hurt anything. So my aunt told the cop to let him go. He did, but not until he read the riot act to the guy. But he also told the guy he should go to the community center to get cleaned up and bite to eat before moving on.

Nearly two weeks later when my aunt got off work, she found an envelope with 5 bucks in it under her windshield. It simply said, sorry I scared you, and thanks for not pressing charges. I was able to land a job after I got cleaned up at the community center, not a big one, but better than nothing. I wouldn't have got it if I wasn't there at the time I was. Thanks!
User avatar
yogi
Posts: 8953
Joined: 14 Feb 2015, 21:49

Re: One More Reason

Post by yogi »

Apparently scrap copper mining is a profitable hobby. No doubt the people who took the wiring and plumbing out of your renovation home sold it for scrap. I looked up the scrap value about ten years ago and was floored by what a pound of copper would go for. It was very nice of that thief to do the labor for you, but in the end you were deprived of any profits that copper might have brought in.

The story about the sleeping hobo was pretty interesting. Many years ago I recall having a conversation with I don't remember who regarding the difference between hobos and bums. Basically it's what you point out in the story. Hobos are decent people with a set of values. A bum would never think of paying back your aunt and much less try to get a job. All of which made me think about what it would be like to be homeless. I'd probably die the first week because I'd have no idea where to go and try to exist. I'd get hauled away in short order here in O'Fallon and know nothing about the hiding places that might exist in St Louis. It's pretty scary to think about it and I hope to never have to live on the streets. I don't know how all those homeless people manage it.
User avatar
Kellemora
Posts: 6508
Joined: 16 Feb 2015, 17:54

Re: One More Reason

Post by Kellemora »

We used to have an old guy come by the flower shop about once every six months. I had two huge cardboard boxes strapped together he carried on his shoulders like backpacks on each side. All he sold were handkerchiefs for a quarter each for a normal white handkerchief and up to a buck for a huge bandanna type.
My dad was always happy to let our workers go buy from him, and he often would buy a dozen or so brown or blue denim from him that nobody would buy for handkerchiefs for sure. Dad used them to cover his office machines at night, and ones that were not in use to protect them from dust.
A driver was out after making a late deliver and decided to follow him, more out of curiosity than anything else. The man waited at a bus stop and hopped on a bus heading back toward the city.
Dad struck up a conversation with him once after that, and the guy told him that he and his wife live in Maplewood. They had a small shedlike apartment that used to be used for storage behind a hardware store there. Ironically, in later years my cousin lived in that same shed for a couple of years while working for the hardware store. We have no idea what ever happened to that old man though that came by, probably either died or was put in a home, we hope.
We also had a guy who came by once a year selling Fuller Brushes, and everybody bought from him when he came. Now he came in a nice car and always wore a suit as well. He told dad he only goes to the larger businesses that welcome him, all the way from the city limits out as far as Pond and Grover on Manchester Road, then the next month he would go out Clayton Road, and the month after that Olive Blvd, and after that Page. Then in the winter months he hit the main places like Crestwood. I bought three brushes from him in 1981. One nylon bristles, one nylon handle with boars bristles, and one wood with boars bristles, which I would love to be able to find which box I packed it in. I gave the nylon one to my wife at the time, and have used the boars bristle one ever since, but it is finally beginning to lose the bristles, which is why I wish I could find the other one, the expensive wood one I packed away safely when I moved. But which box?

If you are ever stuck out on the street with no place to go, you can hit the YMCA and stay there for a whole week. This would be your best bet at first, because after that, the rest of the possible places to say are quite seedy and not to safe.

We have quite a few homeless here, and many of them chose to remain homeless and living on the street. We have project apartments they could get into easily, and some do for the winter months. Others just stay at the various shelters around the area, and mission centers.

You know, I was technically homeless after I had to move out of my house with no money. This was only 2 years after Debi and I were married. My mom was in the process of readying her house for sale, so we stayed there for about a week, and then I brought Debi back home to her parents while I finished up mom's house. I had to stay behind for the closings on all the houses I sold only for what was owed on them, which wasn't much, so the buyers got a really great deal. I told the title company to make sure the bottom line came out to zero. I get nothing and owe nothing either.
While at my mom's I got a larger order for my product, which was just enough for me to buy a run down piece of property with a shanty on it down here, and enough left over to buy materials to get started working on it.
And I know I told you the rest of that story, probably a few times.
Post Reply