Daily Archives: October 28, 2020

Back To Basics . . .

As I mentioned the other day, I’m regrouping and rethinking my oil leak problem with the rig. And I think I’m going back to basics and take one final shot at a fix.

I’m going to pull the oil filter once again, take out the 4 bolts and remove the adapter head. Then after I clean all the Permatex Ultra Black Sealer off both surfaces, I’m going to use a pick tool to remove the one so-so Heli-coil, retap the hole and then install a new Heli-coil.

Next up, I’m going to put it all back together without using any sealer. After all, it worked for 18 years without any sealer on the joint, without leaking. However I will use two gaskets this time, and the Blue Threadlocker on the bolts.

Then we’ll see.

If this doesn’t work, then I think it’s time to take it up to Channelview to the repair shop. I would like to be able to at least drive it up to the shop rather than have it towed, though.

Back in July I posted this on our blog –


OK, I’m confused. (Certainly wouldn’t be the first time)

Last week it was announced that Moderna, the big pharmaceutical company, was starting Stage 3 trials for their WuFlu vaccine. The talking head on TV said that it would involved 30,000 test subjects who, after receiving the vaccine, would be followed over the next TWO years to see if it is safe and effective.

But this article from U.S. News & World Report says that they’re hoping to have the vaccine available by the end of this year, this part of Operation Warp Speed, as it’s called.

So we;re supposed to start taking the vaccine by the end of the year, but we won’t know if it’s really safe and effective until sometime in 2022. And this from a company that has never marketed a vaccine before.

So what could possibly go wrong?

Oh yeah, that’s right. It could end up like the last time we rushed a vaccine to market in 1976 for the Swine Flu. After a panicked mass inoculation of about 25% of the U.S. population, the program was abruptly halted after 1 person died and over 400 people around the country developed the paralyzing Guillain-Barré syndrome, and caused devastating side effects to over 4000 more.

In fact it was such a scandal at the time that Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes did an entire segment on it in 1979.

I know I feel safer now.

How about you?

Or as Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at the Imperial College of London said, “It’s looking like it’s going to do what every pandemic in human history has done, which is burn through the susceptible population until it burns out.


Or as I said the other day, “Viruses gonna Virus.”

But this wasn’t the first time a vaccination plan went awry.

Back in the mid-50’s Dr. Jonas Salk announced to the world that his polio vaccine had successfully completed trials, and was safe enough that he had even inoculated his two young sons.

While polio had been the cause of multiple 20th century epidemics, Salk’s development process — just six years from lab discoveries to mass manufacture — was among the fastest in history.

In many ways, the polio vaccine effort of the 1950s was Warp Speed 1, says Paul Offit, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania, referring to the Trump administration’s initiative to produce a COVID-19 vaccine today.

Six different drug companies were licensed to produce the drug. with some, like today, being paid to produce the drug before it was completely approved, in anticipation of getting it out as quickly as possible.

But then in the rush to distribute the vaccine to the public, at least two companies, Cutter and Wyeth, made a number of batches where the supposedly-killed virus, wasn’t. And as a result there were 260 cases of polio and 11 deaths attributed to the faulty vaccines.

You can read more about it here.

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRY TO SCALE UP VACCINE PRODUCTION TOO QUICKLY

And what worries many scientists on the China Virus front is that several of today’s vaccine candidates, like Moderna’s entry, use mRNA technology.

This mRNA causes your body to rewrite your own DNA to trick it into building proteins to help fight off the virus. So not only are you mucking around in your own genetics  (3rd arm, anyone), the mRNA technology has never before been approved for ANY medical use. This would be the very first time.

And Moderna has never marketed a vaccine before.

Sounds perfectly safe to me, right?


Still waiting on our South Dakota Absentee Ballots to arrive in Sioux Falls.


Thought For The Day:

Virus Suits

 

 


October 28, 2010

Direct TV and Hooter’s . . .

Not much went on today.

About 11:30 I called Direct TV to see about getting a new DVR/Receiver. The recent winds blew my dish off target and when I went to the Setup screen, the audio feedback did not work. Without the beeping that tells me when I’m pointed correctly, it will be very hard to set up the dish.

Supposedly a technician will be out tomorrow morning between 8 and noon. We’ll see.

A little after 1 pm I went into Webster to check up on some clients.

Then, getting back to the rig about 3:30, Jan and I headed up to Kemah to the Hooter’s there for some hot wings. We got them 3 Mile Island hot, but I don’t know if our taste buds have been deadened, or they’ve reduced the heat, but these weren’t really hot. I guess next time we’ll have to bump them up to 911 or Elvis.

Jan loves Hooter’s and when her late mother lived with us, she really loved Hooter’s too.

So I used to tell everyone that my wife and mother-in-law made me take them to Hooter’s once a week. So “Was I a lucky guy, or what?”

That’s about it for today.

Tomorrow night we’ll be taking in the Halloween Show at the Alvin Opry. We’re really looking forward to it, since their Halloween Show is always great.

More tomorrow…


Thought for the Day:

“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”  Bertrand de Jouvenel

 

 


October 28, 2011

and then the Boredom set in . . .

Well, winter is setting here, with 34 degrees last night, and an anticipated 30 degrees tongiht. But it’s sunny and 50 degrees during the daytime, so it’s not all bad.

When I bought my Droid Charge last week, I saw this Droid Clock Dock on display. It look neat, but they didn’t have any in stock so I put it off.

But yesterday I found it on Amazon and ordered it. I picked it up at the office here at the park about 1pm and quickly checked it out. And it was even better than the specs online.

Droid Clock Dock 2

When you plug the Droid into the dock, it not only starts charging the Droid, it automatically becomes a desk clock. And you can plug in speakers and play your music through it too. It also has a recess to plug in and recharge a spare battery.

Droid Clock Dock

But what the specs didn’t say is that it comes with a spare battery too.

Neat.

Today was Halloween at Brandi and Lowell’s church so Landon had his first Trick or Treating experience.

Here he is getting into his costume. (It’s a giraffe, by the way.)

Landon getting his Halloween Costume On

Landon Trick or Treating

 

Landon and Mommy.

Landon at the Fun House

 

Trick or Treating for the first time.

Landon Trick or Treating3a

Landon Trick or Treating4a

Landon Trick or Treating5a


Thought for the Day:

Have a nice day (unless you’ve made other plans).

 

 


October 28, 2012

Almost Wrapping Up Savannah . . .

As our visit to Savannah winds down, we headed about noon back down toward Tybee Island to visit Fort Pulaski.

Fort Pulaski, named for Kazimierz Pulaski, a Polish military commander who fought in the American Revolution with George Washington, it was built between 1829 and 1847 utilizing over 25,000,000 bricks.

But it stood unused until it was seized by the state of Georgia as a prelude to the state seceding from the Union and joining the Confederate States of American.Fort Pulaski Air View

Fort Pulaski

During April 10-11, 1862, Union forces laid siege to the fort in an attempt to recapture it. After a 30 hour bombardment with the new rifled cannons, the previously-thought unassailable walls had been breached.

Fort Pulaski B&W

Knowing that with the collapse of the wall, the 40,000 pounds of gunpowder stored in the magazine were now vulnerable, and would destroy the fort and everyone in it. Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, commander of the Confederate garrison, surrendered to the Union troops.

Within six weeks of the surrender, Union forces repaired the Fort and began the blockade of the port of Savannah which continued through the end of the Civil War.

Fort Pulaski Damage

Later in the war, the fort was used as a prison for captured Confederate officers.

Later a Park Ranger dressed in Confederate gray, demonstrated the loading and firing of a British-made Enfield rifle, used by both sides during the war.

Fort Pulaski Demo 1

Fort Pulaski Demo 2

Leaving Fort Pulaski, we drove out to the end of Tybee Island to check out the local beach.

Tybee Island 1

Tybee Island 2

With the passing of Hurricane Sandy, we expected to see higher waves here, but it was actually pretty tame.

Tybee Island 3

One thing about Tybee Island is that you can’t park anywhere with paying for it. Even the parking spots at the local Arby’s had parking meters on them, so you get to pay for parking and your roast beef sandwich.

About 4:30 we headed back toward Savannah to have dinner at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House.

Uncle Bubba's

“Uncle Bubba” is Paula Deen’s brother, whose nickname is Bubba, and in fact Paula Deen is a partner in Uncle Bubba’s.

Everyone enjoyed their meal, with my Low Country Boil, consisting of Boiled Shrimp, Smoked Sausage, Boiled New Potatoes, and Corn of the Cob, being definitely better than the same meal I had a few days ago at The Crab Shack.

Don’t get me wrong, the Crab Shack was really good. But Bubba’s version was just better. And Jan said her oysters were fantastic!

On the subject of oysters, this shirt on sale at Uncle Bubba’s explains why I love oysters so much (and Jan too.)

Oyster Shirt

 

On the way back to the park, we drove by the Mercer-Williams House. Besides being a beautiful example of Civil War architecture, the house is most famous for being the location of the shooting described in the book and the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”

Since it was almost dark by the time we got there, here’s a photo from the Web.

Mercer-Williams House

And in addition to the “Midnight” death, two more deaths occurred here. In 1913 a previous owner fell over a 2nd floor bannister and died a few days later. And in 1964 a boy chasing pigeons on the roof, fell off and impaled himself on the wrought iron fence.

Ouch!

On that happy note, we headed back to the park for the night. Tomorrow will be a goof-off day before we wrap up our visit to Savannah on Tuesday.


Thought for the Day:

You ever get the feeling that the music is slowing down and you don’t have a chair?

 

 


October 28, 2014

Same Old, Same Old . . .

Trucks come in. Trucks go out.

The frack equipment continues to move in, but so far it seems at a slower pace than our other fracks. But that may be just the calm before the storm, so to speak. We’ll see. At least we probably won’t have two fracks going on at the same time like before.

Maybe.

One of our RV friends has been having a problem with small floor heaters in their rig burning out after a few days. So she asked me for help, and although I haven’t heard back from her yet, I thought I’d pass on my ideas.

The RV is on shore power plugged into their garage, and everything else is fine. But so far 3 of these small Lasko-type floor heaters have burned out within a few days when plugged into the rig, after working fine in the house.

After thinking on it a bit, my thought is that even though she’s plugged into shore power, that outlet, or all of them, must be coming off the inverter. I guess it depends on how your transfer switch is wired up.

On our rig, if we’re on shore power, the inverter is not in use, even if turned on. The order seems to be: Generator, Shore Power, Inverter. But I’m wondering if her rig might have a different order.

I suggested she check to see if her inverter is on, and if so, turn it off. Then check to see if that outlet still has power. Now she knows she’s really on shore power. And I suspect that she won’t have anymore heater problems.

The reason I think her inverter is involved is that a lot of electronic equipment does not like the modified sine wave power put out by most RV inverters. This graphic from the Xantrex company shows the difference.

Sine Wave

The red line is what the power coming out of your wall outlet at home looks like. The blue line is what the power coming out of most RV inverters looks like. A big difference. And a difference that a lot of electronics doesn’t like. It just depends on how it’s designed.

In our case, a few years ago it happened to us. We have a heated mattress pad on our bed and it has dual electronic pushbutton controls. One day while we were traveling, and had the inverter on, one of the controllers fell off the end table and turned on when it hit the floor. This immediately killed it. Luckily I was able to order a new one. And now we unplug the mattress pad when we travel.

Most computers will work OK, and most devices that use ‘wall wart’ power supplies, or inline power supplies like laptops, will also work OK. Usually if it has a transformer in the power supply, it will work.

But it seems like any device that involves large current draw, heaters, coffee makers, etc., and has a digital readout/controller, is going to have problems with modified sine wave power. I won’t go into why this is circuit-wise, and the fact that the circuit could easily be designed not to have this problem, but it would cost an extra dollar or so. Of course if you’re making a million heaters a year, this adds up, so there is that view of things.

There are several things you can do here. First, check the literature that came with the device. In many cases it will say, “Not For Use In An RV”. Second, call the manufacturer or check their website.

Finally, if all else fails, buy something cheap. Get a heater that just has a knob that says, “OFF, HI, MED, LO”. It will work fine. Same goes for a coffee maker like that.

Or you could just replace your rig’s inverter with a $2000 Full Sine-wave model. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

That’s probably about enough on the tech stuff. Many of you are  dozing off already. Jan says you can ask me what time it is, and I’ll start with the history of the sundial and come forward from there.

She’s probably right.

__________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

If my words offend you, you probably don’t understand sarcasm or criticism . . . or maybe you do.

 

 


October 28, 2015

They’re Hereeee!

Finally!

About 20 till 6 this morning the bell rang and I stuck my head out the door expecting to greet one of the frack water guys who usually come in around 6am. But instead I found the point man for the Flowback team that was about an hour behind him.

And about 6:30 here they came. As it turned out, they weren’t really the Flowback crew yet, but more like the Flowback and ‘Anchor Down’ prep crew. So now it was back to our old routine.

I got dressed and went outside about 6:15 to get set up since we had stored away a lot of stuff under the canopy during our downtime, and also because of the four days of rain we just had. In fact as it turns out, the heavy rains may have been why everything Flowback was delayed since last week.

By 7am when I went inside to go to bed, 8 vehicles had come in, and by a little after 5pm we’d had a total of 56, a big jump from the None we’ve had for the last week or so. They were mostly bringing in equipment and tools

When we’ve got a new crew coming in like this, I always let Jan find out the particulars of what’s going on. The guys are always happy to chat up a pretty blonde who’s asking questions. Me, I usually just get ‘grunts’.

We were hoping that this might be a 12 hour job. but no, this is still a 24 hour gate. But the good news is that this Flowback will go at least a month before the Workover Rig comes in. Since we plan to leave in a little over three weeks to head back to the Houston area on November 22nd, this works out perfectly for us.

Yesterday Jan and I had talked about going out to dinner tonight, figuring it might be our last chance for a while. I mean, the Flowback’s gotta finally start sometime, right? But I guess we just went a day too far.

But not really, as it turns out. A little before 5:15, two trucks left that were the first two trucks in this morning. Since normally “First In, Last Out” means ‘Bosses’, I checked over the log and found everyone had left for the day, except for one truck. And since it was pretty overcast, there should have been lights on at the pad if anyone was still working there but it was dark down that way.

It’s not unusual for the crew to leave a vehicle or two onsite, so I stuck my head in the rig to tell Jan we might still be able to go out, but found her almost ready to bring out our dinner.

Bummer!

After we finished dinner, delicious leftovers from our Jalapeno Tree visit for Jan’s Birthday this past Sunday, I drove down to the pad to check things out.

And as I figured, the one missing truck was there, but no one else. Our window of opportunity had slammed shut.

But maybe tomorrow? We’ll see.

__________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

According to a recent study, “nearly 10% of college graduates think Judith Sheindlin — commonly known as Judge Judy — is on the Supreme Court.

To quote someone, somewhere, “I fear for the Republic”.

 

 


October 28, 2016

DKIM . . .

Jan and I are beginning to wonder if Miss Karma needs glasses.

Since we’ve had her, she’s always had a propensity to run into things. She’s much more careful about where she steps or how she jumps down from something than any of our other cats.

This afternoon she jumped down from one of the chairs and ran right into my leg. She sometimes runs from the front of the rig back to the bedroom and runs into the bed. I did look in her eyes to see if she might have cataracts, but saw no signs of them.

So how do you give an eye test to a cat?

Heading out a little before 1pm, our first stop was at the Lone Star Real Estate office to pick up an Amazon package that came in this morning. The lady that owns this office also owns our RV Park, and kindly lets us receive mail and packages there.

Thanks, Nancy.

Our next stop was at Barth’s Restaurant for a 3rd shot at their great lunch buffet, and today was no exception.

Barth's Lunch Buffet Menu

We’re gradually working our way through the week, having already had the Friday Mexican fare, and Sunday’s Turkey & Dressing/Fried Chicken offering. All great.

And today’s Chicken Fried Steak Fingers and Fried Catfish continued in the same theme of really deliciousness. And from what Jan says, we’re going back for more Turkey & Dressing on Sunday.

After lunch we had planned to check out the local HEB, but as we were entering the restaurant earlier, I discovered that I had left my cellphone back in the rig. And not wanting to miss a possible Todd text about another gate, we decided to loop back home to pick it up. But as happens, once we got back home, we decided to stay and do HEB another day, maybe tomorrow.

A reader, Richard, left a comment wanting to know more about the voltmeters I use to monitor our rig’s battery voltages. Actually I have three voltmeters that I’ve install in our rig – two 12 volt meters to monitor both engine batteries and house batteries, and one that monitors our AC house voltage, whether shore power or generator power.

Early on, I discovered that 12v power that feeds the overhead spot lights, map lights, and the power plugs at the dashboard comes from the engine batteries. And the 12v power in the rest of the coach comes from the house batteries.

So that means I should be monitoring both if I want to know what’s going. One reason is to be sure that the engine batteries are being charged. On our American Eagle, the engine batteries are only topped off when the house batteries are fully charged and the battery isolator switches over to charge the engine batteries.

So I have one 12v meter underneath the overhead cabinets at the dashboard. This one monitors the engine batteries.

12v meter over dash

And I have another one over the sofa monitors the house batteries.

12v meter over sofa

Both of these are visible from my computer chair so I can always keep an eye on things.

I also have another one for 120vac that resides right over my driver’s chair. I put it in that position so I can monitor the generator output while we’re on the road.

120 Voltage

And when we’re parked I can keep an eye on the shore power, especially important when the park voltage starts dipping in the Texas summertime with everyone running their AC’s full bore.

105 volts

Here is the 12v version from Amazon. At $7 they’re an inexpensive addition.

SMAKN® 2 Wire Green Dc 4.0-30v LED Panel Digital Display Voltage Meter Voltmeter

And here’s the 120vac version, also from Amazon.

And this one’s only $8.

As far as hooking them up, it was really pretty simply. I was able to tap into 12v sources in the cabinets. In both cases, I hooked up the 12v meters like this.

12 volt display hookup

I wired them across a couple of lights that we never use, just hooking up the red wire (+) to one side of the switch and the black wire (-) to the other side. And yes, the meter will go dead if you close the switch, but it won’t hurt it.

One of these is a rope accent light over the sofa, and the other is a high power halogen light over the dash, so they were perfect to use.

As far as the 120vac meter, it was even simpler. There is a 120vac socket in the cabinet overhead, so I just wired a two prong plug on the meter leads (polarity doesn’t matter) and plugged it in. Easy Peezy.

Now on to DKIM.

I may be taking my life in my hands, but I’m going to dip a toe into the election mess, but on a technical level.

I’m sure pretty much everyone has heard about the emails, Wikileaks and otherwise. Depending on your point of view, some of the information contained within either depressed you or encouraged you.

And a couple of the people referenced in them, after writing things they probably wished hadn’t been made public, have said the emails were tampered with, changed, or modified, to make them look bad.

But that didn’t happen, and it’s easy to tell it didn’t. Even you could do it if you wanted to. You just use a DKIM verification program.

DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail, a combination of two different pieces of email verification software.

Pretty much every piece of server software that you would use to set up an email server contains the DKIM routine. In some cases it’s already set up, and in other cases, it must be manually configured.

Depending on whether your email is stored on your home computer, or on the email server, all the emails, all attachments, etc., all the emails are stored in a single large file, either a .pst file, or an .ost file.

These found, stolen, leaked, emails are not copied off one by one, like you would make a copy on one on your personal computer, but the entire .pst or .ost file is stolen, leaked, or copied.

Think of the DKIM software as being similar to the https: secure login for credit card purchases online. An encrypted handshaking takes place between your computer and Amazon’s (for example), guaranteeing that you are really talking to Amazon, and not some spoof site, giving away your credit card data.

The same thing takes place in an email from a DKIM server. It guarantees that the email is coming or going from the specified email server AND no changes have been made to any of the text in the emails.

So you can download DKIM verification software and check this out for yourself.

And now you know.


Thought for the Day:

“It’s terrible to contemplate how few politicans are hanged.” – G. K. Chesterson, British philospher (1874 –1936)

 

 


October 28, 2017

Texas Renfest . . .

Jan and I were up at 6:45am, and out the door by 7:30, to make the hour plus trip up to Brandi’s in Katy.

Then it was on up to Magnolia and the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Did some figuring and came up with the fact that we’ve been coming to the RenFest since 1979, five years after it started in 1974. What I didn’t realize is that the location is actually an old strip mine site, mining what I don’t know.

We paid the extra $10 for Preferred Parking which turned out to be well worth it. Because it comes with a shuttle that picks you up right at your car and takes you to the main entrance, and then back when you leave. Very nice. Especially when you’re really tired when you’re leaving.

And of course after entering the Faire it was time to eat. Jan got a Sesame Chicken On A Stick, and I got a Sausage On A Stick, and a Piña Colada. Very Good.

This weekend is Halloween at Renfest so we saw a lot of other costumes around, like Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Alice and the Mad Hatter, and even a T-Rex.

One thing we always do here is to attend the Falconery Show.

Falconery Show

Vulture

Falconery Show 1

 

A Great Horned Owl

Falconery Show 2

 

Another Species of Great Horned Owl.

Falconery Show 3

 

Hawk

Falconery Show 4

 

Falcon

Falconery Show 5

 

South American King Vulture

Falconery Show 6

Coming home we stopped off at the Friendswood Wal-Mart to pick up a prescription and a couple of grocery items. Then before leaving the parking lot, we got a couple of Coffee Milkshakes from the Whataburger to take home for supper. Our favorite.

Oh, by the way, I found Waldo(s)

Renfrest Waldo

The Word of the Day is: Causerie



Thought for the Day:

Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We won’t let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas?” – Joseph Stalin

 

 


October 28, 2018

Pool Party Fun . . .

Looking forward to pool time, we were on our way up to Brandi’s by 11:30 with a quick stop for gas at the nearby Valero for gas now that I knew how to get the gas cap cover open.

We got there a little before 1 and headed directly out to the pool. Lowell was already out there, as well as Miss Piper, who had combined two favorite relaxation activities, coloring and getting some sun poolside.

Piper Coloring At The Pool

Brandi and Landon were off on their bikes on a neighborhood playdate, and showed up an hour or so later.

Eventually everyone was in the pool this time, even Miss Jan.

Jan in The Pool

Group In Brandi's Pool

Later on, Brandi went inside and put the steaks on. Well, she put them under water, anyway.

Brandi Sous Vide 1

The kitchen utensils are just being used to weight the bags down and keep them under the water.

Brandi Sous Vide 2

She has one of these Sous Vide Cookers from Amazon.

ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide

It’s controlled by the cell phone app and the app even notifies you when your food is done.

Sous Vide is a method of cooking by placing the food in plastic bags and immersing it in water heated to an exact temperature. In fact, if you got a steak recently, there’s a good chance it was cooked vis Sous Vide and then thrown on the grill for a last minute sear.

You can learn more about Sous Vide here.

Later our travel agent, Chantelle Nugent, and her family came over for some pool time before we all sat down for steak.

Sous Vide Steaks

Everyone likes their steak at least Medium Rare, so this was perfect. Miss Jan, however, is more of a Medium person, so Brandi put hers under the broiler for few minutes.

All delicious!

Finally, about 6:15 pm, and after a great afternoon, we headed back to Santa Fe, looking forward to another week of fun and frolic.


Thought for the Day:

“Facts Do Not Cease To Exist Because They Are Ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

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