Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I'm back!!! And dull!!!!

Ok, it's a Wednesday in the dessert.  110F = 43+C  Brought the garbage pail in and got the paper.  Exciting, huh?

Well, actually the paper did have something kind of cool.  These two kids are trying to make the world a better place!  And, no, they don't require the assistance of the world's largest asshole, Donald Trump.  They are just trying to get some local folks to take the first step to All Lives Matter.  My wife and I are planning to be there.  It took me a long time to find this quote:  "Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."  Thank you, John Stuart Mill. 

Our country, the good old U.S. of A., seems to be under the misaprehension that it is AFU.  Well, no.  Not only no but HELL NO!  Actually this place seems rather like heaven on earth without the assistance of either of the Presidential candidates.  (How the hell did we get in this position?)

Ok, lots of places get things working better.  Health care in many countries is more affordable.  Until recently I would have said race relations were better in Europe than here; now I'm not so sure.  Education is clearly more valued in many countries.  It is a f*cking crime but it's true.  I've actually lived in Florida and Nevada and each has an education system that is pathetic to put it mildly.  Criminal does come to mind!  Then there is the gun issue.  Sorry, I want my guns.  But, clearly we need to do SOMETHING.  Nice, France showed us that guns aren't the be-all and end-all of any problem but in this country they sure as hell are part of it. 

You know, if you want to make a life here, it's not that tough.  My wife, with a high school education, retired as a second level manager in the phone company.  Our kids, both of whom declined college, are each making nice livings in sales, nursing and IT.  Really if you look beyond working at McD's life can be pretty good.  Our favorite Mexican restaurant is run by a family from Durango - as in Mexico.  In the eight years we've been here they have gone from a small place off the highway to a much larger place on the highway (which is obviously a big deal) and another place in a small 'community' that is in a business area.  This is in the middle of another 'Depression' if you listen to the idiots.  All you have to do is try and this country will work really well for you.

I'm off to a meeting of the NSSAB - Nevada Security Site Advisory Board.  All that Area 51 crap is the center of a MUCH larger area where A-bombs were tested back in the day.  It's about 50 miles from the nearest person but people are worried that something is going to be in their water.  The government has this stupid board to help spread the word:  it ain't happening.  But the people who are afraid aren't going to listen so WTF.  Let's just tell them to put their heads under their wings and drop off to sleep.  Grrr!

Gotta go.  Have a good one and thanks for dropping it!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Busy busy - for me anyway!

We are just back from a quick trip up to Washington state.  The occasion was a memorial for my wife's late step-father who passed away last February.  It was his birthday and the family just got together to say a couple things.  It was quite touching at times.  At other times it was kind of painful.  Life goes on I guess.

We flew up on Thursday and came home on Sunday; not exactly a long visit but we had things to do.  We haven't been doing much flying lately and it was a pretty good experience.  We flew Alaska Airways where we've always had pretty good treatment and this was no exception.  The flight attendant managed to drop something out of an overhead onto me so decided she needed to buy me a drink to make up for it.  I've got to figure out how to make that happen more often!  The landing back here in Vegas was the smoothest I've ever felt.  It was so amazing I had to compliment the pilot.  Vegas is surrounded by mountains and often is kind of gusty but this time you literally couldn't tell when you actually touched down.

I did visit the surgeon who did my discectomy on a followup last monday and got official permission to go do things.  Good thing because we were just back from Washington!  Still, it's good to know he thinks I'll live.  Unfortunately I'm still an old crock so all my aches and pains won't be going away.  As they say though at least I'm on the right side of the grass.

We got home and now have a painter in fixing a couple cracks in the ceiling.  One especially is being a bit of a challenge.  The topsoil around here is pretty flimsy stuff so the builder will dig a hole 3 or 4 feet deep and fill it with compacted gravel trying to start the foundation on something stable.  Of course, stuff happens and a few cracks happen.  (There are homes in the valley that were not built on a gravel base and are in the process of collapse.)  Anyway, these cracks were in the living room and my wife wanted them fixed and she was sure she didn't want an amateur job.  From all the work, I'm thinking that was a great idea!  The guy had to take out a section of drywall about 3 inches by 30 inches; replace it and then resurface it.  He says part of the problem is that the builder didn't install the drywall in same direction as the joists.  I never knew it mattered but what do I know.  He is doing lots of fooling around to get it looking good.  My wife and I will get to take care of the ones in the spare bedroom but those are much smaller and won't require the drywall work.

We got home in time to find our cactus in bloom.  Well, one bloom.

You can probably imagine why we have always considered the cactus to be male.
And a very proud boy he is!

So that's most of the news from around here.  Hopefully I'll get back to nothing to say soon.  All this activity is quite tiring.  Thanks for stopping by though.  Have a good one.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy 4th USA

Happy Monday to the rest of you.  I've got to admit that I'm grumpy again.  First, and mostly, look at the Presidential race.  Then check out Brexit.  Ok, granted that I'm an old white guy and things have been going pretty well for guys like me HOWEVER things are getting AFU in a hurry and it won't be just for guys like me.  I mean I think there is at least some argument that both of the 'presumptive' candidates for president should be looking at jail time.  And, if things weren't interesting enough, "Great Britain" is flopping around like a harpooned whale trying to turn itself into one of the least important nations in the world rather than the reasonably respected leader it has been for like 300 years.  Frosting on my cake is the news that Texas actually has citizens who would like to secede from the union.  I mean I don't like driving the 900 miles through Texas listening to my wife bitch every inch of the way about how ugly it all is but having to pack my passport would just make it that much more special. 

I mean, WTF!  Bah, humbug.  I need to write about the weather.  It's for my blood pressure.  Really.  Of course, being July in Nevada, it's hot.  We've been over 100F (38C) for like the last three weeks or so.  Happily someone invented air conditioning some time ago and ours works pretty reliably.  Actually just good insulation helps a lot.  Our garage seldom gets over 85F (30C) which isn't that bad.  One good thing is that some car dealer in Vegas donates $100 to charity for every day over 100F so at least someone is gaining.

When we lived in the Netherlands we enjoyed the public service commercials around New Years telling people to be careful with fireworks.  Well, yesterday I saw the US version.  I certainly hope it reaches a kid or two or maybe even an adult!  Some guy who is playing in the NFL (US football) was showing off his right hand.  He's got a stub of a thumb and is missing at least one finger from a fireworks accident.  Do people learn?  Oh shit, they vote too!

We try to walk every morning.  Yesterday morning we were on our usual walk and some guy comes out of his yard apparently doing the same thing.  Only he was wearing a gun on his belt.  Ok, I'm a gun owner.  My wife and I had concealed carry permits for maybe 20 years.  Did we every actually carry a weapon, hell no!  But we liked exercising our right to do so.  But really?  It's like 06:00 and in our 2+ mile walk we seldom see more than one car and maybe two people.  It is neither some dangerous inner city or the wild, wild west.  And this asshole is carrying his gun?  Did I mention I was grumpy?  Granted there are dogs along our route who bark at us but in 8 years I think we've only seen one dog that wasn't fenced in.  We've seen more coyotes.

Anyway, Happy 4th of July USA.  I'm know we'll live through all this crap but I'd really like it to be a good experience rather than that other kind.  Have a good one and thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Time!

We've got summer time here in all it's glory; even technically now that the solstice is past.  Our Las Vegas weathercasters are talking between 108F (42C) and 113F (45C) for the next 7 days; tonight they are talking a low of 93F (34C).  This is a bit warm even for here!  Still, this is the time for it.

One of the changes we make based on the season is when we walk.  In the winter, mid-afternoon sounds good but these days, the earlier the better.  This a.m. we were out before sunrise.  Walking is the exercise we are best at for sure.  It's been a staple since we moved here in 2008.  Of course there have been pauses; like after my surgery.  We started walking again about a week after I had my surgery.  Then we were doing the short walk which is about a mile (1.6km).  Now we have worked ourselves up to the 'long walk' which is a bit over 2.25 miles(3.6km).  At first the short walk had me resting for an hour or so but now we are pretty much back to normal.  Also last Friday was three weeks since the surgery and the day my doctor anointed as the day I could start driving again.  Wow, was that a relief!  My wife is actually a very good driver and she enjoys driving but laying back in that passenger seat is pretty unusual for me.  I've been susceptible to motion sickness for as long as I can remember so riding with others is something I really avoid.  Making it to Las Vegas for the followup appointment with my doctor is the farthest I've ridden with anyone else for quite some time.  Back on 2004 my knee went out while we were on a trailer trip to the midwest.  My wife got to drive something like 1,400 miles (2,250km) that time! 

We have noticed that this summer seems to be a year for rabbits.  Believe me when I say I know nothing about rabbit populations but here in the valley the population seems to run in cycles.  This is a lots-o-rabbits year.  I think they come around every three or four years but don't really know.  Year before last we could take our walk and see maybe two rabbits; this year we are seeing twenty or thirty plus a few jack rabbits.  I keep telling myself that it's just the year for them.  Maybe later in the summer we'll start seeing coyotes and then the year-of-the-rabbit will come to a rapid end.  What we haven't seen is quail.  No idea why but I don't believe we've seen one all year.

Anyway, that's a summer morning around here.  The other good news is that we are up for the sunrise on the mountains. 
Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Orlando North

Warning:  Another grumpy post!  Stop reading if you aren't up for more gloom.

Just another weekend in Chicago.   "A 5-year-old girl was among forty people shot in Chicago over the weekend, seven of which were fatal."  Racist, hate crimes, drivebys - does it matter?  You are still dead.  I've got to agree that AK-47 type weapons don't belong in civilian life but clearly people are more than willing to kill each other.

I hope it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone but people are not always the way we would like them to be.  They get mad, crazy mad, and do things that another day they would never consider.  They get fascinated by ideas or philosophies and bury themselves in twisted thoughts to the point they lose their common humanity.  They are simply careless and do stupid things.  It's all part of being human.  It isn't pretty but we really are closely related to the other members of the animal kingdom.  We put our minds to it and bring animal violence to a whole new level.   

I personally believe that some of the blame needs to go to all the violence we see on television and in movies.  Maybe I'm totally wrong but if you watch a couple hours of tv it's easy to see five or six people be shot.  If they are 'bad guys' they probably don't get up again.  If they are 'good guys' they are walking around with their arm in a sling by the next day aka the end of the show.  What kind of shit is that?  In the army I had careful instruction in using weapons to kill others.  I was lucky and never had to put that knowledge to work but I have it still. 

Of course, if Orlando hadn't enough trouble this week, there is the story of the 2 year old taken by an alligator in front of his parents!  Talk about something that would blow your mind.  I really feel for those people.  How the hell are they supposed to get through something like that?  We lived just outside Orlando for a few years in the 1980's.  There are LOTS of alligators in Florida.  People don't realize it but there is a gator in practically every body of water.  They were in the 'manufactured' lake by the office, in the natural lake in our sub-division, in the ponds by the side of the freeway.  And they get hungry.  Even I can't blame that on television.

Ok, I'm done.  I'll take a cheerful pill and be back to normal soon.  I promise.  In the mean time, thanks for stopping by and try to have a good one!

Monday, June 13, 2016

I'm not even going to try

There just isn't much you can say about the tragic murders in Orlando of all those people.  When someone is that determined nothing much is going to help.  Cops can't be everywhere watching everyone.  Gun control isn't the answer; they'd just create a bomb.  Teaching love, understanding, even the freedom to be different doesn't seem to have much traction either.  The human mind can go such strange places. 

This post is just going to be a ramble.  Just a warning in case you want to bail now!

Out here in the Nevada desert we are enjoying a slight reprieve from the Excessive Heat Warnings.  It's just hot; not 'don't go out unless you must'.  We still have people doing foolish things.  A woman was cited the other day for leaving her young dog in the car.  She left a window open but it was still over 120F (49C) inside - as measured by the Animal Control officer.  So she is shoping at Goodwill when she gets the ticket; I'm thinking she isn't very well off.  And she gets a $650 ticket for abusing her animal.  How do you think that going to work out?  Animal Control is doing their job but $650?

There was a 'feel good' story on the news a month or so ago where this cop pulls a guy over then notices the guy's kid isn't in a child seat.  Why not?  The guy says he can barely buy food, doesn't have any money left over for a child seat.  The cop could have written him a ticket but instead takes him to Walmart and buys the kid a car seat.  Later he said he couldn't see writing a ticket the guy couldn't afford.  I guess there are people like that in the world as well.

Big plan for today is to take some food stuffs over to the VFW Food Bank.  We try to make it over there every month.  Last month's load was kind of light but we made up for it this time.  We find it difficult buying for a food bank.  Who knows what they need?  We ask but I suppose the needs change daily.  At any rate the answers we get from the folks running it do.  They support some people, both male and female, who are living alone out in the desert; they also support people who have families even extended families.  As a result some of the stuff we buy is single serving, eat from the can.  Some is family size requiring cooking.  What can you do?

Our local Primary Election is tomorrow so my wife and I will be voting.  It really is pretty sad though.  We are both independents, not associated with a political party.  All voters, including us, have two positions to vote for:  a member of the University Board of Regents and a member of the School District Board of Trustees.  Each position has only one person running so, they will both win.  It really motivates a person to go vote!

The Republicans and Democrats have to choose candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives.  In addition, the Republicans have a race for a seat on the County Commission.  Thus, in the fall the ballot will have President, Senator and Representative.  That's it.  No state offices, no local offices at all.  What a farce.  Maybe we are getting the government we deserve. 

So that's all the news that's fit to print today.  Sorry about the random nature of it all.  Thanks for stopping by and have a good one!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Summer's here!

We have had several years in a row where most of the time we stayed under 105F (40+C).  So this year is starting out with a week of mostly over 105F.  Well, besides my neck, this is certainly the reason to stay inside and veg out.  I'd be embaressed to say how much 'crap' tv I've seen in the last two weeks but let's just leave it at 'too much'.  I could read but somehow it makes me fall asleep.  Hmmm, tough life huh.

We had big plans for being out of the area during this time.  My 50th high school reunion was being held back in Iowa at the end of May and we were going to make a big trip of it.  We were going to see friends in Colorado then relatives in Missouri before the reunion.  Then afterwards see friends in Ohio then go up through the Michigan Upper Peninsula.  Finally we were going to sweep down towards the middle of the country and check out the state of Oklahoma; one of the few we haven't visited in our trailer.  The whole trip would have been closer to 6,000 miles than 5,000. (9,600km vs 8,000).  The truck was all tuned up and ready to roll unfortunately, I wasn't.  Well, maybe next year! 

I am sorry to have missed the reunion but I did leave town about as soon as I could after graduating and haven't been back except to visit my parents while they were still alive.  It might have been fun to see how those people I remember as 17 or 18 look now that they are closing in on 70.  I did run across a few of them when we were all in our thirties but that too was quite a while ago.  Guess I'll just have to look at some random group of old folks.  Or maybe I'll just look in the mirror!  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't recognize myself and I can't find a copy of my yearbook photo.  I'll post it if I find it later.  There is a Facebook page that some hardworking person put together.  There are some group photos where I recognize no one.  Maybe missing the fun is something I'll live through.

We do have some thoughts for travel in the fall but we are pretty gun-shy since the summer trip kind of blew up.  If nothing else we'll probably take some short trips over to places in California that are way overdue for a visit:  Napa Valley, Yosemite, San Simeon just to name a few - we have woefully ignored California for way too long.  I should point out that we are wine consumers rather than wine snobs so a visit to Napa wouldn't take more than a couple days!  Driving up Highway 1 is on the list too.  I'm not sure how far we'd go.  We've had a whiff of the redwoods but haven't really spent time there.  We've been on Highway 1 in Oregon as well but that was coming south rather than going north and somehow it feels different.

Well, that's the news from the overheated state of Nevada.  Thanks for stopping by and have a good one!