Excluding Sites when Searching with Google

Ever do a Google search and the results are inundated with pages from a site that you really don’t want to see? Google provides some not-so-widely used tools to help you hone down your results to something that is useful.

Today I was looking for a chimney sweep. No matter how I searched, the results were littered with pages from angi.com and homeadivsor.com, the same site for which I have had really bad experiences with. Although not the main topic of this post, this company purports to find you professionals in your area and has a wizard to get the info about the project and then finds professionals to help. Every time I have used this, it returns the message that there are lots of professionals in my area and asks for my contact info. Once entered, the message quickly changes to inform me that there are really no-one in my area to help me. But now, they have my contact info and subsequently spam me for weeks for other things. Needless to say, I don’t want to see results from this company when I search.

Google search provides a simple exclusion tool to leave these results out. Here’s my search syntax:

chimney sweep near me -angi.com -homeadvisor.com

The addition of a minus sign (-) immediately followed by a domain will exclude any result from this domain from your final results. Handy, no? You can also use the minus sign to remove specific words or phrases from your results. For example, if you didn’t want to see results that were located in Des Moines, you could add -“Des Moines” to the end of the search. The quotes around the exclusion phrase are necessary only when you want the exact phrase to be eliminated.

The quotes bring up an important point. By default, Google uses an AND between multiple words. In my search google is looking for pages that have both the word chimney AND the word sweep in them, but not necessarily the words chimney sweep together. To make it more accurate, the following syntax could be used to get at more specific results

“chimney sweep” near me -angi.com -homeadvisor.com -“Des Moines”

The above syntax should find chimney sweeps near me, eliminating results from the sites angi.com and homeadvisor.com and without Des Moines in the text.

Verizon has got to go……

Verizon has to be the most incompetent company on the planet. And deceptive. I needed a new phone and the had an offer for a free phone. Turns out free is not so free. My bill went from $45 on Visible to $190 on Verizon and I have less bars. I traded in my old iPhone and they offered me $1000. As it turns out, they get to pay me this $1000 over the course of 3 years in the form of a credit of $27 on my bill each month that help to pay for part of my “Free” phone.

In addition, the put me on a more expensive plan than I requested, refused to change it and suddenly my $100 bill is was now $168. The second month it was $190. Part of the promotion was a $200 gift card that was presented to me as a visa gift card but when I got it, it was just for merchandise in the Verizon store. I went shopping and hardly anything was available to purchase. I finally found something and went to check out and there was nowhere to enter my gift card. Shocker.

I got on their chat for help and after 3 agents and an hour, they told me to click Place the order which I did, and it charged it to my PayPal account instead of offering a place to enter the gift card. The agent then went on to request proof that I placed the order so I sent her screenshots of the cart, the order from Verizon and the email from payal. She had the nerve to tell me that it was the wrong order because it was placed the day before. FUCK! I’d been on the chat with them over an hour and the order was placed on the 23rd and now it’s the 24th. WTF? of course the date changes at midnight. She then cut off the chat without helping me. What a piece of shit company. I’ve filed a complaint with the BBB and will file another with the FTC. So pissed.

Random Thoughts

It’s -1° outside right now. That’s not a windchill. That’s the temperature. The low today is -11. There is supposed to be a storm starting today lasting for three days and the wind chills will reach up to -40°F. Why am I still here? I’m not sure, but I keep saying this is my last winter here and I think I mean it this time. I don’t want to rent this house out full time, but I can’t just leave it. I’m thinking that it will be a winter airBNB rental. There aren’t any hotels around here so I know it would rent. As soon as the bathroom upstairs is done, I’m listing it and I’m out of here.

I had a friend tell me recently that she hated cinnamon. Really? How do you hate cinnamon? I felt like asking her if she also hated puppies, flowers and presents but I knew she wasn’t being contrary just for the sake of being contrary. I’m all to familiar with that behavior from my recent roommate from hell experience, so I knew she didn’t fit that bill. She is probably the best person I know. She is definitely the best mother I’ve ever seen, and does not have a negative bone in her body. She is kind, respectful, loving, thoughtful and generous, and her behavior never sway from these qualities. She must really hate cinnamon, which I can’t understand. Cinnamon is one of the most amazing flavors I can think of. I love to make cinnamon ice cream, put cinnamon and sugar on my toast, load up an apple pie with it or use it in a scent burner when I’ve had a particularly explosive experience in the loo. To each their own, they say.

I have a little beef I need to work out here. Usually I’m not for airing the dirty laundry, but I’ve tried to resolve this beef directly and I have gotten no response. Here’s what happened: The day after my last roommate moved out, he was supposed to come over to get one last load of stuff in the morning. I waited, an nothing. The afternoon came and went with nothing. The early evening came and went – still nothing. No text, no call, no show. I got tired of waiting and went to Brushy Creek to do some metal detecting with my friend Jason. When I arrived back home, he was there accompanied by a Webster County Sheriff. He had showed up after I left ( I think he had this planned out and was waiting for me to leave) and when I wasn’t there, called the Sheriff. He convinced the Sheriff that I had locked him out, and the Sheriff let him break into my house to get the last of his stuff. He broke in by trying each window on the main floor until he found one that wasn’t locked, damaging screens along the way. When I got home, I was super angry as one would be and the Sheriff wouldn’t listen to me as I explained how he and my roommate had broken the law by committing a class B felony. After the dust settled, I wrote a letter addressed to the Webster County Board of Supervisors outlining my complaint and I have yet to hear anything back. It has been 5 months now with no word. Not sure where to go next, the governor’s office?

The reason I’m so upset is that there is no way he could have proven he lived there, because on that day he did not. He never signed a fucking lease in the first place and I have written statement from the person who he was staying with that he did indeed move in there the day before. Does the Webster County Sheriff just allow anyone to break into a house that says that they live there or was this an isolated incident? I’m still pissed. Ok, enough said I just contacted a lawyer.

CO2 Pipelines

CO2 Pipelines seem to be all over the news in Iowa. The idea is to capture the CO2 that is being produced by Ethanol plants in Iowa, compressing it into a liquid, and piping it to another place to sequester it underground. This would prevent the CO2 from entering the atmosphere and further depleting the ozone layer. Sounds pretty good, huh?

Sounds pretty good until you dig in and get the details about it.

Fact is, there aren’t a whole lot of details about it. There haven’t been a lot of studies about it and the dangers aren’t really well understood. There is one incident that we can look at – a rupture in a small Mississippi town in 2020 that resulted in the entire town of Sataria to be evacuated. The rupture spewed CO2 into the air, sickening many people and requiring hospitalization for many of them. Two years later, some have not yet been able to return to work and their normal lives. We don’t yet know the long term effects of such a rupture.

There are several companies working towards putting in these pipelines in Iowa. These companies are private companies that will make a profit from the CO2 capture by charging the Ethanol companies to take the CO2 and by selling to CO2 to other companies that use it for Enhanced Oil Recovery, which is fracking.

Navigator Ventures is one such company, and their pipeline would cover 1300 miles across South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and finally Illinois. It would gather 15 million tons of CO2 per year from around 20 Ethanol and fertilizer plants and dump it in deep wells in the earth in Illinois.

The project is possible due to huge tax credits and will use just as much CO2 creating fossil fuel to complete and operate it as it claims to save the environment from the gathering process. This industry is under-regulated and dangerous, and as we saw in Mississippi, can cause loss of life in the event of a rupture.

Why do I care so much about this? Well, I am concerned with the environment and what we are doing to our ozone, but as it stands, this pipeline will pass by my house only 1/4 of a mile away. The town in Mississippi was 1/2 mile away. If the pipeline ruptures, gone is the farm my family has owned and operated for nearly a century and a half.

If this pipeline goes through, I get to spend every day worrying about a rupture for the rest of my life. Do you think it helps my land value? If you were someone looking to buy farmland, would you choose farmland with a pipeline under it or one that doesn’t have a pipeline under it? Of course it will lower the value of my land.

Other concerns revolve around the damage done to the topsoil during construction. They claim that they will separate the topsoil and place it back the way it was but I have yet to see one farmer confirm that this has happened with other projects in the past. All of the reports point to damaged land and reduced yields for years to come.

Navigator was supposed to notify landowners when they were come to survey the land. DId this happen? Not in my case. I even sent a letter to them back in February asking them to coordinate with me as we had a huge pile of trees out there to burn. No contact requesting permission. They entered my land and did a survey without my permission or notification which is against the law.

Until yesterday, I had not returned any messages to them regarding this. I got a voicemail from one of their representatives yesterday so I called them back. He immediately offered me $6000 more per acre than what was originally offered. I asked for it in writing and he sent me a revised Easement and Crop Yield/Damages report with the updated figures. I responded with the following:

<Agent name withheld>,

The first issue that needs to be addressed is the illegal trespass on my land to do the survey.   I sent a letter to Navigator (see attached) requesting notification of the survey and did not receive it.    That point is mute, however, because the law states that a proper 10 day notice be given to me which wasn’t.     I will accept payment of a fine in the amount of $1000 to settle this matter.   If that isn’t agreeable then I will file charges with the Webster County Sheriff and submit a complaint to the Utilities Board and we can let the courts decide.   I’m not willing to discuss anything further until this is resolved.      Any further access to my land is not allowed without proper notification via certified letter or there will be further fines assessed.

If we get past the illegal trespass, I’m asking for compensation for loss of revenue for my business as I won’t be able to operate during construction. I’m also asking for compensation for mental anguish for having to worry about a fucking rupture for the rest of my life. Oh and compensation for the loss of value to my land and my home. That is if I decide to sign.

What happens if I decide not to sign?

Navigator will exercise the right it will be given by the Iowa Utilities Board of eminent domain, and they will take the land anyway. Eminent Domain, you ask? How is this possible? Isn’t eminent domain reserved for government use only and only for the purposes that are for the public good like roads, bridges, utilities, etc? And isn’t Navigator a private company constructing a pipeline for their own profit? How is this even possible?

It’s possible because the CEO of Navigator has Terry Branstad on his team. Terry appointed two of the three members of the Iowa Utilities Board and the third was appointed by Kim Reynolds, our current governor-ess. It’s the Utilities Board that gets to decide if eminent domain can be used. Isn’t this just a bunch of horseshit?

Keep your eyes on this category for further events as this drama unfolds.

This guy is getting around.

My alter ego has been taking some trips lately.

Tonight he’s staying at the Oceano Palace Beach Resort in Mazatlan. I got his review form from Orbitz asking how his check in was.

He flew on Sun Country Airlines

Suncountry was nice enough to send me his flight check-in reminder, complete with flight number SY595, his reservation code (I18j8Y) and buttons to check-in, check bags, view my trips and check current flight status.

In the screenshot below you’ll the email address in question – jaylarson@gmail.com. My email is jay.larson@gmail.com. Google says dots don’t matter, but we both signed up for gmail in the beginning – he with jaylarson and me with jay.larson. I’m saying that the dot does matter in this case.

Sometimes I like to see how far I can get. In this case, pretty far. Suncountry has now given me his middle name and his birthday. Peter. July 21, 1962

How to use AccountingSuite to run your AirBnb Properties.

AccountingSuite is an accounting, order management and inventory software built for small businesses. It’s built in the cloud, so there is no need to worry about being at the right computer when you need to access your account.

I use it for several endeavors, but this article will discuss how I use it with the rentals I manage via AirBNB.

The Software

The software can be purchased at https://accountingsuite.com. I use the business edition, as I don’t need inventory. It’s $25/month, and well worth it. They have good documentation and a stellar support team.

Setting it all Up

AccountingSuite has a getting started wizard to get the account setup and it walks you through the process. When you get to the part about the Chart of Accounts, I would add an expense account for the AirBnb host fees and also accounts for any business related expenses that you might be able to deduct on your taxes.

Now that the account is set up, create some custom fields so you can keep track of things. I created several custom fields on the Sales Order (my “reservation) including Check-in Date, Check-out Date, Additional Guest Names and the code I assigned them for their voicemail (I have a guest phone in the room). I also have a field for the AirBNB confirmation number and which rental unit they have reserved (I have 3). All of these fields are on a tab called “Reservation Data”. The screenshot to the left shows my custom fields.

I’ve also pre-created items for a Stay, additional guest charge, cleaning fee and host service fee which I can record on my Sales order. See the screenshot on the left. These items will populate the description and price automatically and give me a total on the bottom which I compare to the breakdown that is given in AirBnb.

When the guests check in, I create a sales invoice. It’s a simple process: Click Generate / Invoice from the Sales Order. I then create a cash receipt and record it to my AirBnB Clearing account. That way I know how much I’m waiting on AirBNB to payout. When I see it hit my back account, I just accept the transaction that flowed in automatically from my bank and match it to the invoice and the transaction gets closed out.

There are some great reports that I can run to see how I’m doing with sales and expenses, and I can have additional users. There is a built in video conferencing tool and a messaging system.

Why I don’t eat walnuts

We have a big old walnut tree in the back yard. It been there for close to 100 years. Every year it dumps thousands of walnuts off of the ground and we pick them up and put them in buckets. Some dude comes and picks them up.

In my quest to explore options of making money off of the land that comprises the yard and is about 1.75 acres, selling the walnuts popped into my head last year so I started collecting them little by little.

Bucket after bucket was filled. Any empty container that I could find became full. Finally I started using the truck and after a few weeks, the truck was full. Time to go sell them.

As it turns out, the black walnut market ( as opposed to the legit one, I suppose) is dominated by Hammonds in the midwest. California is the largest producer of walnuts in the US, contributing 99% of all walnuts grown in the US and 38% worldwide. Hammonds has several hundred buying stations around the midwest, and there happens to be one about 15 miles away from our house.

So I take my full truckload of walnuts that I probably have spent 20-30 hours collecting to the walnut buying station. I’m required to shovel all of the walnuts out of the truck into a hopper that takes off the shell and bags them up.

My back is nearly broken in two when I’m done, but the satisfaction of doing all of this is strong and the reward is forthcoming. As the nut collector pulls out his checkbook and starts to write, he says “Well, that was about 560 pounds, so let me see here” as he clacks on his calculator. He hands me the check and it’s written for $45. I nearly shit myself. $1.50 per hour for that.

So what does a pound of black walnuts cost at the store? Around $12. So. Of that $12, 8 cents is what goes the farmer. That just pisses me off and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I’m having peanuts on my ice cream tonight.

Dots DO sometimes matter……..

For some strange reason, I like to start blogs. I have about 10 other ones that I write, most of them anonymously for one reason or another but I don’t think I’ve ever started one on my main website. Not sure why, but that is all changing with this.

The reason, I believe is because of the topic I wanted to write about tonight – it wouldn’t make sense anywhere else but this site. That topic? Other people named Jay Larson, and the black hole email address that I got when google first started handing out email addresses. I call it a black hole because very few emails that come to it were written to me. Spam, you’re thinking. Advertising. No, quite the contrary. I get emails meant for other people named Jay Larson in this inbox on a daily basis.

Now that you think I’m absolutely off my rocker, I will present the evidence and my theory on what is happening.

First a bit about gmail.com email addresses. Google made them so that certain punctuation in the email address is ignored. For example my.email@gmail.com is the same as myemail@gmail.com – messages send to both addresses will land in the same inbox. If you have a dot in the first part of your email address you try this yourself. Here’s an article written by google themselves on the subject: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7436150?hl=en

For those of you too lazy to click, here’s the text of the article:

Dots don’t matter in Gmail addresses

If someone accidentally adds dots to your address when emailing you, you’ll still get that email. For example, if your email is johnsmith@gmail.com, you own all dotted versions of your address:

  • john.smith@gmail.com
  • jo.hn.sm.ith@gmail.com
  • j.o.h.n.s.m.i.t.h@gmail.com

Note: If you use Gmail through work, school, or other organization (like yourdomain.com or yourschool.edu), dots do change your address. To change the dots in your username, contact your admin.

No one else gets your emails

No one can take your username

Your Gmail address is unique. If anyone tries to create a Gmail account with a dotted version of your username, they’ll get an error saying the username is already taken.

For example, if your address is johnsmith@gmail.com, no one can sign up for j.o.h.n.s.m.i.t.h@gmail.com.

No one sees your mail

Your account is still private and secure. Emails sent to any dotted version of your address will only go to you.

For example, johnsmith@gmail.com and j.o.h.n.s.m.i.t.h@gmail.com are the same address and go to one inbox.

What to do if you get someone else’s mail

Adding dots doesn’t change your address, so dots aren’t why you got someone else’s mail. Instead, the sender probably mistyped or forgot the correct address.

For example, if someone meant to email john.43.smith@gmail.com but typed john.smith@gmail.com, the message went to you because you own johnsmith@gmail.com.

Notify the sender

If the email seems irrelevant but not suspicious, reply to the sender saying they have the wrong address.

Report a suspicious email

Do not click any links or share personal information. Report the email as spam or phishing.

Unsubscribe from newsletters you didn’t sign up for

Contact the website to remove your address from their mailing list. Learn how to unsubscribe from emails.

Note: Unfortunately, we can’t prevent people from accidentally or maliciously using a dotted version of your address to sign up for subscription emails. Was this helpful?How can we improve it?YesNoSubmit

Sometimes dots matter.

I have other emails from gmail that work exactly as described above. I also have one that makes many of the statements above a lie. I’ve sent help requests to google, reported the issue to the senders, taken all of the suggestions above and yet I’m still getting emails with very personal information send to me. I don’t want it, I’m not asking for it but can’t stop it.

How do I know they just weren’t meant for me? Here’s a good example of an email I received on Monday.

  1. My name. Looks like me at first. I actually freaked out, thought I may have had too many shots of jager one night and made plans to go to Palm Springs. I do like to go there after all.
  2. Well, here’s my confirmation number.
  3. And my rewards club number.
  4. And my points balance.
  5. Hmmm… could I modify this reservation? Let’s find out.

The answer is yes. I can change the check-in or check-out dates, the room, the rate, hell I can even cancel this. How can we be sure it’s really a real reservation?

I called customer service and although the shoved me to about three different departments, this is indeed a real reservation made by someone that has a credit card that is not the same as mine.

Not a bid deal though, right? I mean I’m not going to go cancel his reservation, I’m not an asshole.

And for him, it’s a good thing. From other email I’ve gotten from his employer, his benefits department, his neighbors, the place where he got his car, his dentist, his doctor – the list goes on and on – I am certain that I know more about him than his wife does. If she knew what I know, she wouldn’t still be with him. I mean considering some of the sites he is a member of, she’s not really his type anyway.

I know his birthday, his place of employment, his social security number, his employee number, his health plan, his prescription for eyeglasses, need I go on? His cable provider is Century Link (I have his 4 digit authentication code). His daughter plays soccer. He goes to a church where volunteers as a deacon. He was born in 1984 and has two kids. One of them Rose, plays softball and soccer. He like to golf and enjoys photography and outdoor recreation. He’s lived in Grantsville UT, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Amesbury, MA and Indio California – all of which I have full addresses. He goes to Spectrum eyecare. His coworker Trista asks for help from time to time. He been a member of NENA (Nakomis East Neighborhood Association). In 2017 I received a 7 minute video from his friend Angela, who was very sad. She evidently is deaf and was signing most of the message so I’m not sure of the story behind that.

His deposits go to his Chase account ending in 4990. He was eligible to buy a new Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, or Ram for 1% below factory invoice in 2016. He submitted his taxes to H&R Block on Feb 2, 2017, it cost him $19.95. On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 he went to Nokomis Chiropractic and either had Roasted Pork Loin or Penne Pasta when his friend Mitch got married to Miss Kong during the summer of 2016.

More recently, someone named Elizabeth had a wreck in an vehicle insured by him. Geico is the company. I have the claim number and all of the details about the refund from Uhaul he just got for $27.76.

Have I reported this to google? Yep. Their answer? Dots don’t matter.