Sunday, May 26, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom.
And not just at home; Luxembourg for example.
Have a good one.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Vegas trip

Wandered into Vegas yesterday to help Number One Daughter buy a new tablet computer.  We don't know anything about them but we do know enough to ask a few questions:  like, will this run X software.  Actually I skipped out on the computer shopping to do other stuff.  I just had to make a run over to Harbor Freight for a couple things.  I know most of their stuff is crap but some things work out ok even if they are somewhat shoddy.  In this case I was looking for 24" wood clamps; they are $5 each at Harbor, $35 each at Home Depot.  If I were an actual woodworker I'd need the good ones.  In this case I'm going to use these things once and maybe again if 5 or 10 years if I'm lucky.  I just can't afford having an extra $60 sitting in the garage until I die! We have a table with a minor crack that I need to glue and clamp.  I can't imagine the next time I'll need a clamp this big but at least we'll get the table back to where it doesn't snag the table cloth! 

High point of the day for me was getting to see one of the cars Google uses for all those photos they have in Google Earth and  It was a little Ford, I think, with this 3 foot (1m) pole coming out of the top of the roof with a ball of cameras on top that looked like a demented soccer ball.  Honestly, it had about that many lenses!  How do I know it was Google's car; well, it had a big sign on the side.  You can't fool me with tricks like that.  I was way too slow to get a photo though. 

I had lunch at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  The cheeseburger was pretty good; a bit greasy and the fries were quite good, better than most for sure.  My big problem isn't the $6 for the burger but thought the fries and coke were somewhat overpriced.  Also between the hard surfaces, the loud music and the customers talking, you couldn't hear yourself think.  Much less hear when the guy behind the counter called your number to hand over your order.  Will I return?  Meh, don't know but I kind of doubt it.

Got back to rejoin the ladies for a beer while they ate their late lunch.  Daughter bought the MS Surface.  In her business she uses a lot of MS products and this thing will run them.  Kind of expensive at $1100 not including the keyboard that they have backordered but if it does the job she will be all set up.  At least until the 'next thing' comes along. 

Gotta go.  It's feeding time at the zoo and I'm getting in line.  Have a good one.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


The news this morning is filled with images of the terrible destruction from the tornado in Moore, OK.  What can one say?  Just in case anyone thought people were in control in this world; think again!  Our thoughts go out to all those effected.

I thought you deserved a photo of the terribly insulted cat after mentioning his lion cut.  Here we go!
Let's be clear; he is almost 18 years old and has trouble cleaning himself.  His fur is really long and gets tangles.  This cut really helps him out; without it he gets hairballs and throws up even with hairball medication.  He is really much more comfortable with his haircut.

We sat outside last night.  It was quite cool; say the low 70's (22C), which was a nice change from the day!  We enjoyed watching planes criss-cross the sky.  Gee, I'm going to be getting on a plane next month for the first time in a decade.  Cool.

Now if the damned thing just works the way it is supposed to!  Have a good one.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sharing videos....

No, I'm not going to inflict any of my own videos on you.  That would be rude.  However I have come across a couple of YouTube vids that I thought were pretty cool.  For example here are some kids making beautiful music with instruments you can hardly believe.  It's entitled "Landfillharmonic".

This shows people doing fantastic things all over the world.  Makes my life look pretty dull I must admit.

We have officially  switched over to the early summer walking schedule - getting out by 07:00 is working for now but later in the year we'll be moving it back a bit more.  Walking when it's 90F (32C) or greater isn't all that much fun!  Otherwise there isn't a lot happening chez us. 

Gotta go.  We are getting the cat his 'lion cut' today and have to go pick him up.  He should be pretty insulted for a day or two.  Have a good one.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Death Valley

We live about 60 miles (100km) from Death Valley but don’t really go there very often.  It is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter; some people are never happy.  Still, it is a fascinating place and we decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip over there last Sunday.  It was overcast and windy but it was only about 85F (29C) so we figured we could manage it.  It wasn’t a good day or time for photos but I have a couple to share.

It is kind of an interesting trip.  Pahrump is at 2,600 feet (790m), going west we crest the hills at about 2,800 feet (850m) then drop down to about 1,400 feet (425m) then back up to about 3,000 feet (900m) before starting the descent into Death Valley.  It isn’t a steep descent but it does go down quite a ways! 

We checked in at the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center.  It was renovated recently and we hadn’t been.  They did a nice job mostly making the building much more energy efficient that it had been.  Then we went on a couple little trails; to see a couple of the attractions.  We've been to some of the better know spots like Zabriskie Point, Badwater and Artist's Palette before so we went to lesser known ones this time.  The first was the old Borax Works.  The mine isn’t shown but they have part of the machinery for melting down the ore and a few wagons that were used to transport the borax.  It must have been quite a deal.  They had Chinese workers who were paid something like $1.50 a day – this was in the 1880’s so it wouldn’t be TOO much like slave labor but then they had to buy food from ‘the company store’.  I’m sure that wasn’t much of a bargain.  Happily for the workers, borax couldn’t be processed when it was over 120F so they got the hottest part of the summer off. 

After that we went on a little walk along Salt Creek.  Yes, we have creeks in the desert.  This one is pretty fragile so the park service built a boardwalk along the creek.  You can see pupfish swimming in the creek.  These are cousins to the ones at Ash Meadows.  The ones at Ash Meadows are considered endangered and nearing extinction.  These guys have managed to adapt to the salty water of the creek and are actually doing just fine.  Trying to get a photo of them didn’t work; the wind was rippling the water. Besides, they are tiny, only an inch or so long (2.5cm).

This is the view north from the Borax processing area.  Not too scenic, huh?

Just to show you what our GPS thought of Death Valley:  we were in the parking lot at Salt Creek and elevation is -227 ft (-69m).  You will also note the absence of roads however when we got back on the road the GPS was back to knowing where we were.

We ended our stay by driving through Twenty Mule Team Canyon; a narrow and twisty one-way road through huge mounds.  It was really interesting but totally un-photographable. 

So that was our Sunday drive; we left about 10:00 and got home about 16:00.  It was really a great day.  Hope you have a good one.