Daily Archives: October 9, 2020

A Huddle Of Fairies . . .

Though it rained most of the day today, due to the sidebands of Hurricane Delta coming onshore in Louisiana right now, I still plan to get under the rig tomorrow afternoon to get back to work on Helicoiling my oil filter adapter mount, muddy ground or not. It’s supposed sunny both tomorrow and Sunday so hopefully I can finish up this weekend.

Still waiting on our SD Absentee Ballots. They were mailed out on the 28th of September, so it will be two weeks this coming Monday. Wonder if they’re lying in a ditch somewhere?

Lockdown Enthusiasts’ Risk Aversion Is Producing a More Unequal Society

Vaclav Smil, 76, native of communist Czechoslovakia and former University of Manitoba professor for four decades, has written 39 books on energy, technology and demography. “Nobody,” says Bill Gates, who has read every book, “sees the big picture with as wide an aperture as Vaclav Smil.”

And he had this to say about our China Virus response.

The COVID-19 death rate per million is about one-fifth that of the 1957-58 Asian flu and one-third that of the 1968-70 Hong Kong flu. Yet these earlier pandemics had only “evanescent economic consequences” and did not “leave any deep, traumatic traces in memories” of the 350 million people who, like Smil were 10 or older during both. “Countries did not resort to any mass-scale economic lockdowns, enforce any long-lasting school closures, ban sports events, or cut flight schedules deeply,”

So what’s different now, and why are we reacting like this?

No Chinese Virus Spike In Florida

There has been no spike in cases of the Chinese coronavirus in Florida over the last two weeks, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) lifting key coronavirus restrictions and nixing the enforcement of local mask mandates across the Sunshine State last month.

On September 25, Gov. DeSantis took a major step, lifting key coronavirus restrictions at the state level. The order allowed businesses, such as restaurants, to operate at full capacity at the state level and required local governments to “justify” any restrictions on capacity moving forward. Additionally, DeSantis suspended all penalties related to local mask mandates, as he never issued a statewide mandate despite mounting criticisms from the left.

Hopefully Texas won’t be far behind.
 

 


October 9, 2009

Grand Lake…

Going back to Celina, OH for a few minutes…

We saw some neat old houses there too, since Celina has been around since 1834.

This one was on our route into town from the fairgrounds.

CelinaHouse 1

I thought the decorations/lightning rods/whatever on the roof peaks were really neat too.

CelinaHouse 2

Celina’s other claim to fame is Grand Lake. And Grand Lake has the distinction of being the largest hand-dug lake in the US.

It’s 8 miles long and 3 miles wide and covers 13,500 acres. Although it has 52 miles of shoreline, it is only 5-7 feet deep.

It was dug between 1837 and 1845 as a feeder reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal. The Canal lasted until the 1870’s when the railroads took over.

Then the lake became important again in the 1890’s when oil was discovered under the lake and it became dotted with oil derricks.

Now it’s primarily used for fishing, boating and swimming.

Here’s a shot taken in the winter. You can click the pic for a larger shot.

Click to Enlarge

Anyway, back to the present.

Today we tried a new Chinese Buffet place called North China Buffet.  Unlike the other one we ate at earlier this week, this one is better, and much closer.

After getting back to the rig, we continued to go thru stuff and organize things.

Then later in the afternoon the mechanics I had contacted came over to talk about putting new shocks on the coach. After talking they may do some other work for us, and I may do a website for them.

About 6pm we decided to have dinner at Callahan’s, a family-style restaurant right down the street. Very good food and some great leftovers.

Then it was home for the night.


Thought For The Day:

“You’re only young once but you can always be immature.”

 

 


October 9, 2010

IHOP and Good Friends. . .

We left the rig a little before 11 am to meet our friends Bob and Maria Sutton at the IHOP up the road in Kemah for breakfast. We’ve known them since the mid-80’s and always get together whenever we can.

After spending a good while talking over breakfast we went over to their house to work on Maria’s computer. She was having trouble figuring out where the files from some CD’s she had ripped, had ended up. It took a little investigating, but I finally figured it out.

Jan had been nursing a headache all morning so we headed home about 3 pm so Jan could take some pills and get a nap.

An I decided a nap sounded like a good idea, so Mister and I took one too. He really likes to curl up beside me on the bed, but sometimes he won’t settle down. Today he was fine, however.

Then about 5:30 we drove over to Monterey’s Little Mexico for a bowl of their great Chicken Tortilla Soup and Fajita Beef and Bean Nachos. And as usual it was great.

We got back to the rig about 6:30 pm and that was pretty much it for the day.

Just another nice restful day in Texas.


Thought of the day:

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right. – Isaac Asimov

 

 


October 9, 2014

Spud (Meeting) and Steak too . . .

Today was grocery shopping day in Bryan/College Station so I left the gate about 10:15 and headed over to the WalMart. Besides the usual supplies, I was looking for a couple of other things, one being a new basin wrench.

I need to replace our bathroom lavatory faucet, and for that I need a basin wrench. But due to the ‘reorganization’ I did on the bins this past spring before we left Houston, I can’t find mine now. So it’s just easier to buy a new one rather than continue to hunt for the old. But of course as soon as I get the new one, I’ll find the old one.

One can never have too many basin wrenches, right?

I was also wanted to take look at their cold weather stuff for when winter sets in here on the Gate. One thing I want to get is a watch cap, you know, one of those pullover knit things, to keep my bald head warm. One of these baseball caps, even with a hoodie on a sweatshirt, doesn’t really cut it.

And I wanted to see what they had in the way of thermal underwear. Last year down in South Texas on our gate I like to froze at night those last couple of weeks in November. It was in the 30’s every night, and the last week it sleeted every night too.

But then walking over to the Men’s department, I came across this and thought it would be perfect for evening gate-wear. And it looks really warm too.

Bunny Suit

I wonder if it comes in ‘Extra Fluffy’.

On grocery day I always bring home lunch for Jan and I, so I started by picking up our drinks at the McDonald’s in the store, two Iced Caramel Mocha’s, and pies for dessert. Then it was across the parking lot for Chili Cheese Coney’s and Chedr Poppers from the Sonic Drive-In, one of our favorites.

Getting back to the Gate about 1pm, I found Jan had been pretty busy because of the Spud Meeting that was being held at the rig across from us. As many as 50 can show up, so it makes for a big uptick in traffic, In this case, we had 199 vehicles in today, compared to yesterday’s 175.

As I mentioned before, ‘Spudding’ or ‘Spud In’, refers to the moment the drill bit first hits the dirt and starts drilling, in this case, on the new hole they just skidded the rig over to the other day.

But unlike the previous meetings, this one was catered, and a company guy dropped off a nice steak dinner for us. So we’re all set for tomorrow night’s dinner.

And hopefully with the fracks starting up we’ll see more catered meals as well, since that seems to be the norm with the fracking companies.

We’re looking forward to it.

__________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“Making predictions is hard — especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra

 

 


October 9, 2015

No Double Dipping . . .

Today being Friday, it was Wal-Mart and lunch day, so I headed out about 11:30. Just as I was ready to leave, Todd, our GGS service guy, showed up to top us off with diesel, and change the oil. He had just finished setting up the new gate guards at the frack site right up the road, so on my way out I stopped by to introduce myself and see if they needed anything from town.

Turn out to be two ladies in a small camper at the new gate. One of them had already gone into Carthage so they were OK. While I was there I got the GPS coords so we can give them to the lost trucks that show up at our gate.

Today was a chicken day, so I stopped off at the Chicken Express to pick up lunch. And as I was waiting for my food, I wondered about something.

Why don’t they offer a Combo meal?

This place has great chicken, great catfish fillets, and great sides (Love their Fried Okra). And as far as the chicken goes, they’ve got Chicken Tenders (What Jan likes), Fried Chicken, Chicken Livers, and Chicken Gizzards.

From a marketing standpoint though, why don’t they offer a meal with two Chicken Tenders, one Catfish Fillet, and a side? Nothing else to change, just space on the menu. But when I ask the cashier about it, she just looked at me like I was crazy to want both chicken and fish in the same little yellow box together, and said very emphatically, “We don’t do that.”

Well, Geez, it wasn’t like I wanted them to interbreed or something.

I was just wondering. But then that sometimes gets me in trouble.

So after my abortive attempt last week to purchase a Ready, Camp, Go card to augment our Thousand Trail parks during our East Coast trip next year, my next thought was to get a Northeast Zone pass. The regular price was $645, but until Oct. 9th it was $100 off, at $545. This was almost twice as much as the Platinum level RCG  card at $299, but it would still be worth it.

And if you bought the Zone pass for two years, you could get payments. Since you’re allowed to change zones one time, I could use the Pass in the Northeast next year and then switch to another Zone the following year. Win-Win.

I had heard from several people that you could do this even if you were already a TT member. I even had the phone number of a lady in TT Member Services to refer them to in case there was a problem. So, credit card in hand, I called and explained what I wanted to do.

Problem.

The young lady I talked to, ‘Anna’ (if that is her real name, might be ‘Peggy’ for all I know), immediately said, “I’m sorry, you can’t do that. You can only have one TT membership at a time. So if you buy a Zone Pass it will cancel your regular TT membership.”

‘Aha’.

Ready for this eventuality, I brandished the name of my TT Member Services contact like showing a cross to a vampire.

‘Anna’ said, “Oh, I know her. I’ll give her a call. Hold on for a minute.” When she came back, ‘Anna’ said, “She’s on another call. Let me call you back after I talk to her.”

And when ‘Anna’ called me back, she said, “I just talked with my friend, and she also said you can’t do that, and she never told anyone you could.”

At this point, the vampire took my cross, hit me over the head with it, and sank his fangs into my neck. Just my luck, probably a Jewish vampire.

Then ‘Anna’ said, “She did say that you could get a Zone Pass as a TT member if you have an Elite or Elite Connections membership.”

Ok, this is just stupid, First the RCG card, and now the Zone Pass, are restricted to TT Elite members. But if have an Elite membership, you don’t NEED an RCG or Zone Pass. You already have all the parks that the two cards would give you.

When I ask ‘Anna’ why an Elite member would want a Zone Pass, she couldn’t explain it. Just like the young lady at the RCG office the other day, no one seems to know why. It just is.

But what’s even funnier about this, is that from Thousand Trails standpoint, they just lost between $300 and $1000 from me. I’m not going to upgrade to an Elite membership, at least not at the prices I’ve been quoted. So they’re not going to make money from me on that.

But by restricting the RCG and Zone Passes to Elite members, they’re also losing out on as much another $1000 from me, too.

But then this is Thousand Trails we’re talking about.

When I got back, Jan said that Todd told her that the husband of one of the two new gate guards was working another 12 hr. gate.

Hey, gates are in short supply. Double-dipping shouldn’t be allowed. LOL.

_______________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“Trust in GOD, but row away from the rocks.” – Old Jewish proverb

 

 


October 9, 2016

A Little Misunderstanding . . .

Yesterday our SIL Lowell posted a video from the Texas Renaissance Festival, and we thought that he was there with Brandi and Landon.

And it got Jan and I to thinking about going this year. and then I stumbled across the fact that we could get free tickets from Denny’s.  But only for today, Sunday.

Normally $30 each, if you bought a $20 gift card from Denny’s, you got a free Sunday ticket to the Festival, So two gift cards, two free tickets. Neat!

The Denny’s deal was only available at the Denny’s in this area, but not the one in Conroe, so this morning I called the one in Magnolia to confirm that they had the free tickets, and we were out the door.

After picking up our tickets we got to the Festival about 11:30, along with a lot of other people. Today was the 2nd day of the 2016 season and I was surprised at how busy they already were.

TexasRenFest 2016 1

And of course the first thing we did was to get something to eat. I got my favorite Sausage on a Stick, while Jan got a Sesame Chicken on a Stick, and we split a Baked Sweet Potato.

We’ve been coming here since the early 80’s, but I think this was the first time we’ve ever come by ourselves. But as it turns out, our trip today was due to a misunderstanding.

After we’d been at the park for a while, I called Brandi to thank her and Lowell for giving us the idea. But as it turned out, they weren’t here yesterday at all. Lowell had just posted the video because it was opening day here.

TexasRenFest 2016 2

This Renaissance Festival is the biggest one in the country, and covering almost 60 acres, it hosts over 500,000 people a season. And coming here as long as we have, we’ve watched it grow over the years, with something new every time.

In fact just since we were here in 2013 with the whole family,

TexRenFest 14

we notice a lot of new attractions and areas, including a climbing tower and some new kiddie rides.

TexasRenFest 2016 10

But Jan and I both agreed that one of our favorite things to do is to just ‘people-watch. And you will see some very strange outfits and very strange looking people.

TexasRenFest 2016 3

Some of them are performers, like the ‘lady’ above. And some are visitors, like the family below who just dress up for the fun of it.

And no, you don’t get in free if you’re in costume.

TexasRenFest 2016 4

You’ll see pirates, piratettes, German girls, and even a refugee from the Village People.

TexasRenFest 2016 5

You’ve heard of a Congress of Owls, a Murder of Crows, or even a Memory of Elephants. So how about a Huddle of Fairies?

TexasRenFest 2016 11

Or maybe a Triplet of Fairies, because from the front they all looked like identical sisters.

And some are working for tips, like this Valkyrie Princess.

TexasRenFest 2016 12

TexasRenFest 2016 13

Or even whatever this is supposed to be. But whatever he is, I bet he’s hot.

TexasRenFest 2016 15

Apparently in past years,  they even had a nude Lady Godiva.

TexasRenFest Lady Godiva

Cue Peter and Gordon.

Our favorite ‘must-see’ part to the Faire is the Birds of Prey show, one that we’ve attended on every visit.

TexasRenFest 2016 6

TexasRenFest 2016 7

The people who do this taken and rehabilitate injured wild animals for the state. Ones that are so injured that they can not be returned to their natural habitat are used in the show.

They have several different kinds of hawks, falcons, owls and vultures, all of which are trained to fly out across the audience to handlers holding up food for them.

TexasRenFest 2016 8

However they do warn you to keep your Turkey Legs out of sight, just in case.

And some of them you get to see up close and personal like this Red-tailed Hawk.

TexasRenFest 2016 9

By 4:30 we were pooped and ready to head home. We had a great time, but I told Jan if we ever come again, we may have to rent a pair of those electric scooters.


Thought for the Day:

“Part of the $10 million I made over the years went 
for gambling, horses, and women. The rest I spent foolishly.” —George Raft, film star

  

  


October 9, 2017

She Never Called . . .

First thing after I got down to Clear Lake I got on the phone to Verizon to find out where all my data went, 15 GB in 19 hours.

It took about 15 minutes to finally get to someone who could help me. But it still took me a while to convince her that there was no way I could download or stream 750 MB an HOUR for almost 20 hours straight.

But after a bit when she finally figured out that I knew what I was talking about, she thought she thought the problem might be with my MiFi. So she said she was going to give me my data back and then call me tonight at 6:30pm to run some diagnostics on my MiFi. So things were looking up.

I spent a good part of the day tracking down videos and DVD’s of videos. My client sells a number of videos on DVD’s which are generally made (duplicated) to order. But once again the other guy did things his own way.

So I had a stack of unlabeled DVD’s that had been written to, and digital copies scattered around in different folders with undecipherable file names like AD34GD, which has absolutely nothing to do with the video itself.

Because the videos were stored in several different formats, mp4, iso, mv4, VIDEO_TS, etc., I had to find them by searching the drives looking for any file larger than 100MB. Then I had to look at each video, rename it correctly, and then move it into a new folder.

Wednesday I’ll have to start going through the stack, one at a time, to see what’s on them, label them temporarily with a Post-It, and then later print up real labels for them.

Getting back to the rig about 5:15, the first thing I noticed was that the sites were still redbagged, so I guess they didn’t get the electric panel repaired.

Jan and I turned right around and headed back out to the Whataburger over in Willis for dinner. We each got our own version of the #6 burgers with combo fries and drinks. And then wrapped it all up with a Coffee Shake. Really great!

Coming back into the park, the ranger said they didn’t work today because it was Columbus Day.

Getting back to the rig by 6:15, I was all ready for Verizon to call at 6:30, but I was stood up. No one called.

And even worse, when I checked my MiFi, I found that that my data had NOT been reset, and I was still running at the 600 KBs downgraded speed, not the 30 MBs that I normally get under 4G.

So I guess I’ll back on the phone to Verizon tomorrow.

The Word of the Day is:  Anhedonia


Thought for the Day:

“There are no good deals, only varying degrees of bad deals”

 

 


October 9, 2018

I Blushed A Little . . .

Well, A Lot.

We were up about 6:30 this morning, wanting to get an early start on our 320 miles run down to the Mims/Titusville area. The weather reports were all over the place about how much rain we could expect along the Florida panhandle before we turned south on I-95 at Jacksonville.

But since here in the Eastern Time Zone, the sun didn’t even rise until about 7:30 we still time to take it easy and drink our coffee. When I finally went outside to take down the satellite dome, I was surprised to see that the park had pretty much filled up with rigs during the night.

We pulled out a little after 8am and stopped right out front at the Marathon station to get diesel. After finally getting the pump to work on credit (it didn’t take debit) it gave me $100.00 worth at $3.599 a gallon, so about 28 gallons. But I needed about 100 gallons.

So not wanting to fuss with the pump anymore, I went inside to ask the Asian lady, who also owns the park, “Would you please turn me on?”

Poor choice of words, as it turned out. Well, maybe not.

She smiled, reached up and stroked the beard of the left side of my face.

“How’s that?”, she said with a smile.

“Nice.”, I said with a slight stutter, “But I meant my diesel pump.”

“Oh”, she said, smiling as she clicked on the screen.

Note, I didn’t tell Jan about this until we were well down the road.

I’m not sure I should tell her that I was planning for us to stay here again on our way back to Houston.

Along our eastern route we ran into some spots of moderate rain, but nothing real heavy or long-lasting. We turned south on I-95 about noon, looking at only another two hours until we were in Titusville.

But as they say, The best laid plans . . . and all that.

About 50 miles from our destination, the Seasons In The Sun RV Park in Mims, the southbound traffic on I-95 came to a complete halt.  We found out that a couple of tractor-trailers had collided with one fatality at exit 237, the one for Ormond Beach/US 1. Looking at our Delorme Street Atlas GPS, I saw that was about 3 miles ahead of us.

And it took us almost 2 hours to creep-travel the 3 miles, and by the time we got there, nothing was left of the accident, and everyone just sped up like it never happened.

We pulled in the the Seasons RV Park, got checked in, found our site, and tried to back in.

I say ‘tried’, because there was just no way to make our 40 foot rig bend like that. Between the marker post at the front of our site, the site next door, and the empty site across the street with the marker post AND a tree, there was just no way to make the backing turn into the site..

Then as I was standing outside with Jan trying to figure out how to make this work, I looked down at our site’s marker post and noticed something.

The hole was a lot bigger than the post. With one of those “Ah-Ha’ moments, I lifted the loose post out of the ground and laid it aside. Someone else had already solved the problem.

After that, it was easy-pezy.

Getting plugged into shore power, we changed clothes and headed into Titusville to have dinner at Dixie Crossroads, a long, long time favorite of ours, dating back to the mid-80’s.

More about Dixie Crossroads tomorrow. I’m tired.


Thought for the Day:

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!




October 9, 2019

She Really Likes It !

Jan’s feeling a lot better today and seems to be on the mend.

A couple of days ago she got a new toy to use reading her Kindles. Yes, I mean ‘Kindles’. She has 3, two PaperWhites, and a Fire that only gets used as a Kindle. She does this so she always has a least one charging at any one time, with one of the Kindles being her bed-reading one.

So when I saw this online I knew she’d like it, and she really does.

Tablet Prop

It’s a Foam Tablet Holder with 3 different angles, one better for setting in your lap, and another for reading while lying in bed. And a third one in between.

It comes in 5 different colors, and it’s only $11.99. The only downside is that it actually ships from China and took almost 2 weeks to get here. But it is Free Shipping.

Jan likes hers so much we ordered one for Landon since he’s always on his iPad.

I’ve also received a few new toys the last few days too.

First up was a really neat lightbox for taking photos of products for work.

Flashery Lightbox

It’s from Flashery and even has a built-in light source for even lighting with no shadows. It folds up flat and stores away, and comes with red, green, and black backgrounds, as well as while. The large version (15.7” x 15.7” x 15.7”), which I got is only $70.

And the result is photos like this.

Lightbox Product

No shadows, no background, just floating in mid-air.

Next up is a 10” x  6.25” XP-Pen Graphics Pen Tablet, also for work.

XP-PEN Graphics Pen Tablet

It comes with a pen with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and works with both PC’s and Androids. And even better, it’s only $60.

The M.2 SSD for the HP Envy Laptop that I’m upgrading for a friend should be in tomorrow. I’m taking it from 256GB up to 1TB. And as it turns out I’m also going to upgrade the RAM for 8GB to 16GB.

When I got inside I found the laptop had two RAM  sockets, with an 8GB stick in one slot. Now normally the laptop manufacturers go cheap and put two 4GB in the two slots. Which means that if you want to upgrade the RAM you have to replace both sticks.

But now I just have to put another 8GB stick for a new total of 16GB, for a cost of only $34.

Tomorrow I’m going to check out under the bed to get a look at the Oil Filter Adapter to see if I have a one piece or two piece unit. Of course I may end up under the rig again too.

Finishing up, I’ve mentioned before that Jan and I met at Florida Wonderland in Titusville, FL during the summer of 1967 when we were both working there. So it was interesting to come across this flyer from about 1963.

Florida Wonderland Flyer

During this time they had a lot of movie/TV stars appearing there, including Michael Landon and a number of others. But by the time we were there 4 years later, the place had gone downhill and become slightly seedy.

But it certainly worked out for us.


Thought For The Day:

Arbitrary rules are never instituted for the benefit of those who must follow them.

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