Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Knew I Liked Her

Catholic Science Geek done got hitched.

And this would be the wedding cake:

There was an ice sculpture, too:

Them kids is alright.

Friday, October 25, 2013


But not necessarily wiser.

Since The Day was looking greyish and just too depressingly Fallish, I took today off instead to celebrate the passing of mumblemumblemumble years.  And because I'm too dumb to rest on my laurels and just relax I headed out to Michaux State Forest up the road in Pennsylvania to do the Chimney Rocks loop hike.

I hate Fall.  It gets cold and I have to close up the house, which makes me feel like I'm suffocating.  And it invariably leads to Winter.  Which I hate even more.  I'm a creature of Spring and Summer.  But.  Days like today make it OK for a while.

I had the trail to myself, and that's OK - it was clear and crisp and windy and there was just the quiet of the woods and the sound of my boots on the rocky trail.

Note to whoever made and posted this sign, however:

No, no, the trail does not just cross the road and continue up the hill as the sign indicates.  You have to walk down the road, cross the bridge over Tumbling Run, and THEN get back on the trail.  Just sayin'.

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club maintains shelters and cabins along the Appalachian Trail in the mid-Atlantic.  I've spent many a happy day at various of their cabins.  This loop takes you past both a shelter area and a cabin.  Early on you pass Tumbling Run Shelter:

 Note that the shelter builders were very considerate and built two shelters separated by a sheltered eating area.

Yeah, I've had to share sleeping space with THOSE people.  Wait.  What?  All that noise was coming from ME?

You know how it is when you are in a strange place - you worry that you'll miss a turn.  But I didn't.

So lunch was up on Chimney Rocks.

Not a bad view.  Not bad at all.  But brisk.  So lunch was briskly done and finished, too.  I have to say, although I'm fine with hiking, biking, etc., alone, there is one thing I do miss.  Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away there was a group of us at work who hiked together regularly.  Lunches were extended functions, often including the fanciest things we could think of that we could pack up a mountain, and always involved a lot of wine.  The group has scattered to the winds, retired, moved, gone, and I do miss sushi and pinot noir on the mountain tops.  And ice cream and cake - it required dry ice but we got it there.

But after Chimney Rocks it's pretty much a breeze.  The book I had with me said I was to turn at the gas line clearing to catch the return trail.

But I knew from reading online that I could go on up a ways to extend the hike by a mile or so and since I had plenty of time I chose that option. Once I picked up the old forest road it was pretty clear sailing back down.

Eventually you start paralleling the aptly named Tumbling Run.  Someone had posted to be careful with the crossing, it could be difficult.  Well, um, it didn't look so bad to me.

And you don't cross the stream unless you are going to Hermitage Cabin, anyway.

So back to the parking lot at Camp Penn in good time, just a little stiff in the knees due to a rock-snagged toe followed by a rediscovery of gravity that left me with a boo boo.  I think I did the 7.4 mile version, but I have to put the trail pieces together to see.

And in reality, the hike I really, really want to do again is Old Rag Mountain.

Maybe by next year if I remember that life is more than working on the house and really work on conditioning.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Numbers

So here's a breakdown in the affect of Obamacare on costs.  Sorry - it's the clearest image I got.  I'm still not clear how adding people to insurance rolls without adding additional doctors and nurses will ensure better health care.  Kinda like not being clear on why if it's so great there have been so many exemptions given out.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Finally, It's Done

I almost forgot - my article was published this month's issue of Professional Surveyor Magazine.

It may be just a trade mag, and the article is written for those that use the data, but it's nice to see one's name in print as an author. And the editor responded enthusiastically to my idea of doing an article that's more pure history for them.  I need to see if I can start working some time for it into the days.  I know where everything I need is - it's just the assembling of all the pieces into a coherent story.

And seeing the article in a national publication made feel as if the Never Ending Project is finally done.  I even let Burt send the old records back into storage without my clinging to them and weeping.

In case anyone wonders - no, I didn't get paid for it.  There's the whole against the law thing with that.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Sort of.

As we enter week 3 of lack of employment I've entered a stage where I need to buy stuff like mulch in order to keep working on house and property.  And we ain't buying non-essentials until the paycheck thingy comes back.

Got this up, though:

I do have an advantage in that I'm not much of a meat or processed food eater, so my grocery bills are low.  I also have my emergency stores - I have things like canned tuna, canned tomatoes, and various dried legumes and rice coming out my ears, some of which needed rotated out anyway.  Add things like winter squash, sweet potato, or greens and I've got plenty of nutritious meals I'm quite happy with, like vegetarian posole:

I'm even taking a crack at learning to bake bread, with my first attempts being with yeastless flat bread.  Not sure what happened - obviously there was an oomphy and a not oomphy from the same batch:

I think next time will involve yeast.

Don't need TP, paper towels, or laundry detergent - those were already in the emergency stock as well.  Buying softener isn't an issue either, since I haven't used it for ages - a half cup of white vinegar in the wash with the detergent works wonderfully and doesn't leave the non-absorbant coating that softener does.

Detroit was good.  My son-in-law has ruined me forever as far as ordering ribs at a restaurant, though.  When I arrived on Sunday several racks had been smoking for hours.

A mixture of apple juice, brandy, and whiskey was poured into each "package" and the ribs went back on.  Then the juices that accumulated in each pouch became the base for the bbq sauce he built as the ribs finished smoking.

And then he flew out to San Diego the next morning and we had all those leftover ribs to deal with.  Awwww....

Nuisance Neighbors never made a peep while I was there.  Their gun waving really put them on the outs with the neighbors and, basically, if they breathe wrong the police will be called now.  Every time.  It's a nice neighborhood, and they just aren't much appreciated. Son-in-law posted to the community web site and now there's an unhappy councilwoman involved. 

We finally finished the main Ford Museum building.  I had to see a couple things again, like the Dymaxion house:

Yeah, given proper insulation properties and the right location I could live in it.  The step-up into the shower would have to be modified, though.  It was definitely made for  younger folks and without thought to aging knees or fall risk.  The house would probably become a pilgrimage site for the UFO crowd, though.

Haven't made it over to the building that's separate and is (I think) just cars.  Or over to Rouge River.  Finally got to the art museum and I wandered through their Impressionists with a happy smile on my face.  And then just sort of wandered because there's something about the layout of art museums that causes me to spend much of my time just lost.

The zoo is lovely - even the enclosures for the reptiles are nice.  And Amelia loved the butterfly house. So did I, for that matter. 

Our schedule was tied to baby girl's of course.  And she was a major part of the entertainment of the week.  Moments like her first taste of spaghetti squash:

After the initial shiver and funny face she decided she liked it.  She already gets that rib bones are for sucking on.  And for handing to the hopeful animals that hover around the high chair.  It was so obvious that she was handing them off to Chessie.  And of course she shouldn't and we shouldn't laugh but of course we do.

And each evening was finished off with a couple episodes of "Dr. Who".  I'm dying, though.  Daughter hasn't seen enough of them to make some connections.

Came back to find the House of Representatives slowly rolling over.  Boehner and the other RINOs are scared to death of Massa Obama's ire, so they'll agree that when you have a maxed out credit card all you need to do is just raise the limit on it and keep charging and all your financial problems will go away.  And the bobbleheads will just bobble their heads in agreement, even if they wouldn't run their own household finances that way.

And the fact that there is no default coming despite the wails of every news outlet in the country, liberal and conservative both, is found to be irrelevant because it's all about the emotion. The fact that the government is collecting billions and can cover the debt interest easily, which is all that needs to be done this week, is ignored because, well, it's Bush's fault and I'm a terrorist.

What I really would like to do for liberals is allow them their choice.  I would give them everything that their choices will lead to - the kind of medical care they will eventually be able to get, the standard of living that will eventually evolve from fiscal decisions being made by the White House, everything.  Not what they THINK it will lead to, but what it has actually led to in every other country at every other time in history.  Even though liberals are totally opposed to my choice in anything, I'd give them that.  Really I would.  As long as they left the rest of us alone.  As long as I, too, was allowed my choice.  Funny thing is that liberals are rabidly opposed to choice for anybody but themselves.

And I do have a question.  Harry Reid has been fighting fiercely for Obamacare.  But he got the state of Nevada exempted from it.  If it's so good for the rest of America, why isn't it good for his own state?

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I haven't been on-line much, obviously.  Haven't even listened to the news much - my boss will call me when we reopen.  I've been doing all the stuff that never gets done when I'm working.  If it hasn't required me to spend more money it's been patched, sanded, painted, cleaned, cut, weeded - I need a vacation from my enforced "vacation".

And now I'm off to Michigan on a trip that was paid for weeks ago and they took away my government computer so that I couldn't work even if I wanted to donate my time. So even if the government reopens I can't telework from there, which was my original plan.  Not allowed to on a personal computer even if I had the proper programs to do so.  Instead I'll be at Greenfield Village, the Ford Museum, the Detroit Zoo, and the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum.  If we get paid for this time - thank you Momjeans but I still will die rather vote for you.  Or any person from the level of dogcatcher on up who has a "D" by their name.  Silence infers consent - they consented to the ugliness of Reid, et al, by their silence, thinking if they just laid low nobody would notice them. Or they agreed with being ugly.

An ugliness has developed at the kid's house - a neighbor across the canal came out and pointed a rifle at their house to threaten them.  St. Clair Shores PD said that there was nothing illegal about it.  I beg to differ - it's called brandishing and it's a misdemeanor and while I realize that the officers probably needed to see it to make a charge they should have at least gone and informed the neighbor of the law and of the fact that people might view having a gun pointed at them (and wife and baby) as a threat and respond accordingly.  Had my son-in-law not been a person of self-restraint bad things could have happened.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I am...

...a racist, jihadi, a terrorist, an extremist, a... well, I've lost track.

But when we had our "It's gonna happen" meeting on Monday we were told that the orders had come down from the top to make the shutdown as painful as possible.  We are run by Obama appointees - THEY are the top, not the House of Representatives.

And I hope everybody took note of the shutdown of the Claude Moore Farm this week.  Armed police were sent to remove all staff from the property.  Although the farm sits on federal property, it runs completely on private funding and volunteers.

Anybody who thinks this is not significant is very, very foolish.  We increasingly have a para-military police force.  The bad guys got bigger and better weapons - the police have had to adapt to that.  What we are seeing this week is police who are enforcing orders that they may not agree with, may know are foolish or unjust, but who are willing to enforce those orders.  It's their job.  They are just following orders.

How long before the orders are more onerous?  How long until it's escalated?  How long will they just keep doing their jobs, just keep following orders? 

How much longer are people going to ignore the history of countries like Germany, lost in the belief that "It can't happen here.  We're different."

And the question is what do we do about it?  It's obvious that our checks and balances have failed - we are already living in a soft tyranny.  How do we remove the cancer that is destroying this country?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Things I Have Learned

That I hate Windows 8.

That you can be off work and still work constantly.

That you can work constantly and still not get most of the things you needed to do done.

That you can't print or save files from the Google app that came with Windows 8.  Including things like...oh...unemployment forms that you just filled out.

That you can make all those work week phone calls you had been putting off because they would cause you to spend a lot of time on personal calls and still not know anything about the things you spent all yesterday afternoon and this morning calling about.

Except that unless you can prove inheritance on grave plots bought long ago you can't do anything with them.  I did find that out.

That everybody and his brother is trying to get to our employee personal pages right now so lotsa luck with that if you are trying to pull unemployment papers together just in case.

That the instructions out at the Comcast web site do not match how the download actually works.  Either that or Windows 8 works differently.

That I hate Windows 8.  Not too fond of certain websites, either. 


The project would go faster if I didn't spend so much time painting myself.