Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!!!

Just a quick wish to all for a happy, healthy and successful new year.  2010 has been a tough year; let's hope 2011 is much nicer to us all.  Happy holiday!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


'After welcoming Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John on Dec. 25 via a surrogate, Sir Elton John, 62, and partner David Furnish, 48, shared the joyous news with"

I wish the best of wishes to both parents and the baby.  Actually, what else can you do?  Are you going to start a rant about being gay?  Or gay guys with a baby?  Bah humbug!  Get over it.

There are millions of 'normal' folks reproducing and most of the fodder for COPS and all the other 'reality' tv shows are their children.  Don't even try to tell me that a child brought up by gay guys is going to have problems just because of his/her parents sexual orientation.  It just doesn't fly.  If there are so many screwed up kids in the world whose parents are 'straight'; gay parents cannot be any worse!  Shit oh dear, maybe they will be better!  Go watch 'La Cage aux Folles' - or 'The Birdcage' if you can't stand the French. 

Happy New Year to all if I am absent!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spectacular Sunset

Somewhere I got the idea that looking AWAY from the sunset can give you some spectacular photos.  Here's one I took tonight.  These are the mountains to the northeast of our house.
The weather forecast is that a front is coming down on Southern Nevada from the Pacific Northwest.  We are supposed to be getting rain and snow above 5000 ft (1500m).  So far we've had an overcast day and nothing much else.  Maybe tomorrow will be rain but this is certainly a lovely sunset.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nice for a moment

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were beautiful here.  I got a new camera so I should be taking more photos.  Here's one of the mountain in the sunset; taken with the new camera.

And what is my new toy?  It is a Canon SX210 IS - much like my old camera but it is smaller, more pixels, and still a great optical zoom.  It also has a built in battery and no viewfinder both of which I dislike.  I keep running out of battery power when I am out shooting something.  It's nice to be able to plug in a new set of AA's and keep going.  I also have trouble seeing view screens in the sunlight so I like using a viewfinder.  BUT both cameras using AA's and viewfinders are really scarce.  I wanted a shirt pocket size camera; this was just so close to what I wanted I had to do it.  My wife got one too.  She has no more excuses for not getting out and taking pictures.

We also got our bikes fixed up.  They have been through a lot of traveling and not much care since we bought them in the Netherlands over 10 years ago.  Now everything is lubed up and working so we can actually use them.  I've got a long term goal of weighing 200 lb (90kg) when I turn 65 in three years.  I want to make some lifestyle changes that enable me to lose that 35 lb (15kg).  Regular exercise is one of the changes.  Recently we've been walking about 40 minutes out in the desert.  When it rains the desert turns to mud and we can't walk.  But now we can ride! 

Hope your Boxing Day was great and the rest of the week as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Still raining

It finally stopped raining here in the desert; it is very unusual of course to get this much rain.  The cloudy days are reminding me of Seattle; I thought those days were behind me.  Today is a beautiful day; hopefully people will be able to get out and get some things done that they have been putting off.  More rain is forecast for next week though.

Yesterday was 'go get the food day' for Christmas.  The only problem is that everyone else is on the same trajectory.  I was coming out of Wal-Mart and some old guy almost reversed his car into the building through the door I was trying to use to leave.  That's too exciting for this old guy!  Menu is standard for us:  ham, mac-n-cheese (my wife isn't a potato person), asparagus (probably), salad.  No desert because everyone is trying to lose an ounce.  Simple, traditional and easy; can't beat the combination for a kind of stress heavy day.  Plus there aren't any ingredients we can't find here in Pahrump!  In some ways living here reminds me of living in Iowa as a kid; exotic things just aren't available. 

I bought some wood and I'm planning on making a rifle rack.  I've got a few old .22 rifles that I had when I was a kid.  My mom kept them and now I've got them.  They are probably worth $10 each but they have a sentimental meaning.  They have been standing up against the wall in the closet long enough.  My adventure in woodworking will hopefully begin before Christmas.  I'm planning a simple rack where the rifle is stored vertically.  It shouldn't take me more than a month to build.

One of my excuses for not posting is that I've been doing stuff around the house.  Simple stuff:  my wife finished a board for a new shelf about 3 months ago.  We finally put it up two weeks ago.  But that isn't the top of our procrastination list.  We bought a new kitchen faucet about eighteen months ago.  We just installed it last week!  Installing it nearly killed both of us.  I'm too big to fit under the sink comfortably and my wife isn't strong enough to do some of the job.  We had lots of fun.

Gotta go.  I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season regardless of what you celebrate. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I've been AWOL

No excuses, Sir! 

We are in the middle of a storm here in the desert.  It's coming in over California then coming to see us.  Most of the precipitation is already out of the clouds but we have these marvelous streams of clouds rolling overhead with cloud and fog up in the mountains.  The sight is fantastic but the photographic opportunities are beyond me.  I need a 120 degree wide angle lens with the ability to distinguish about 50 levels of gray and another 50 levels of beautiful sunlight on the mountain sides.  Hmmm, guess I need a camera with a human eye for a lens!

We did make another trip to Las Vegas; it's almost Christmas so I'm not saying what we bought but we helped the local economy with another grand or so.  I would like to buy things here in Pahrump but if it's not here, it's not here.  Bought a bunch of scotch though so I can last through the holiday.  The lines for checkout at Wal-Mart were exceptional today so I'm hoping the local economy will be ok.  There was no local collection for the food bank; I've no idea why but apparently no one set one up.  Here's hoping that those folks who needed help on Thanksgiving will be getting it again for this holiday.

We were watching 'The Thin Man' the other day; I love those old films.  Someone was asking Nora Charles if her husband, the detective Nick Charles, was working on a case.  She replied "Yes, a case of scotch!"  (My kind of guy!)  Boy, we just don't get lines like that any more.  And you have to remember that there wasn't a knee-cap in the movie much less a crotch or breast!  I appreciate the freedom we have today but I must admit I miss the way we've replaced a rules based society with one which sees no value in rules.  (Getting old, huh?)

In another sign of incipient old age, I'm moving more of our portfolio into dividend paying stocks.  I'm not abandoning 'growth' entirely but we need some income in the mix.  I bought some Cisco (CSCO) the other day; it just isn't a p/e 15 stock.  On the other hand, Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) isn't a p/e 13 stock.  The thought that they are in the same p/e area is fantastic to me.  Doesn't it bother anyone else?  Oh, and my old employer Paccar (PCAR) is at a p/e of 63!  Please let me disclose that I own all three of these stocks!

We are talking about our next phone plan.  It won't be for a while but are talking about smartphones.  Today I found this article about traditional cell phones:  - I have to recommend watching at least part of the vid about the Motorola Tundra; it's got guts!

I'm going to try to post more but if I don't - Happy Holidays! 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Valley of Fire

Yesterday we took a day off from doing whatever it is we usually do and piled into the car (with the dog) and visited Valley of Fire State Park.  It was really cool.

As you can see, it was a rather gray sort of day but it was comfortably cool and we got to see some really interesting rock formations.  It was Red Rock Canyon on steroids.  Really I think Red Rock has taller formations but Valley of Fire has a lot more of that startling red rock.  There was a small visitor center where you could learn a few things about the geology of the place, some of the plants and animals common to the desert, and a tiny bit of the history of people in this area.  It's about 35 miles (55km) north of Las Vegas if you hop on I-15 Northbound.  Highly recommended.

Coming home we drove on a couple back roads that were almost completely without traffic.  It was really odd to come down this road that was empty except for us down into North Las Vegas.  We struggled through traffic for quite a while finding our way out of town.  We had almost made it when we heard on the radio that there were two accidents currently being worked:  we had passed both of them!  It just wasn't a day for speed.

I've been reading a site about self-defense called No Nonsense Self Defense.  I like the site.  The people seem to know what they are talking about.  They are NOT about judo or carrying a knife or gun; they are trying to teach the reader about using his/her head to recognize and avoid dangerous situations.  Give it a shot.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What a difference a day makes

This morning I was singing.... (well, thinking about singing!)

A foggy day in a Pahrump town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The county museum has lost its charm

Whereas yesterday was slightly different:

Thanks to Joe in Vegas for reminding me to look up!  It's a beautiful world if we only look for it.  You might check this out:  - It's a guy who got a ride in a U2 spy plane.  It's a different world at 70,000 ft (21,000+ meters).

Have a good one!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Going to Vegas

For most folks 'going to Vegas' is a big deal.  For us 'over the hump'; not so much!  I went in alone on Wednesday and we are planning on returning later today.  It's all about shopping, gift giving and all that jazz.  You know the drill.  On Wednesday I got to go via Red Rock Canyon.  It's a lovely place!

My wife and I have been talking about electric vehicles.  We'd love to have one but it's got to have a lot more range than they have today and be a lot cheaper.  It wouldn't surprise me if the RAV4 we have now will be our last gasoline car.  (Of course we usually keep a car for about 10 years so there's no need for the dealer to call us quite yet.)  Still, the range would have to be over 150 miles (say 250 km).  The electric grid would probably need some beefing up too if we were all recharging cars every night.  Right now we'd be buying a 'coal fired' car since that's where our power originates.  There is a huge solar project planned for just north of us but we put so many roadblocks in front of progress that in the two years we've lived here they haven't put up one panel.  I have trouble understanding why it's so difficult but you can be sure there are a bunch of lawyers living well over the discussions.  Looking at the area you'd expect to have solar everything but it's just not reasonable at this point.  As an investor I know it's the next great disruptive technology but we've been looking for it to come into it's own for at least thirty years.

What I don't know is if electric trucks will ever be a force.  There are plenty of people towing 5 ton loads; the truckers are towing 40 tons or even more.  That's going to be a heck of a battery!  But look at cell phones; they have changed!

Thanks to Wikipedia for the trip down memory lane!  Speaking of Wikipedia; they are having a fund raising event.  If you use the site as much as I do, you really ought to donate.  I'm off to do so now. 

Have a good one!