Pipelines and Chia Pets . . .

Today was another damp, dreary day so nothing got done outside. But about 12:30 Jan and I headed out for lunch and errands, with our first stop at our storeroom on FM517. Then it was on up the Interstate to have lunch at Denny’s.

What was kind of different this time is that we didn’t know anybody, and no one knew us either. We eat here about once a week, but usually around 4pm. But at 1pm there was a whole different crew of servers.

I got my usual Ultimate Omelet with fruit instead of Hash Browns,

Denny's Ultimate Omelet 20210123

while Jan got the slightly smaller, 55+ Senior version. Which is fitting since she is my senior, after all. (I’m going to pay for that)

Then it was back across the Interstate to get our hair cut at the TGF there. And in my case of course, I do mean ‘hair’ is singular. We both use Christina, who’s really fast, and really good. We were both in and out in 30 minutes total. Of course 25 of those were for Jan, and 5 for me.

The WalMart in Webster was our next stop for a prescription and some other stuff. We never seem to have enough ‘stuff’. Sam’s Club, across the street was our next stop, but just for gas.

Less than a month ago, gas here was $1.45. Today it was $1.75.

What’s up with that?

Heading home, we stopped by the Cowboy Coffee place and got Sugar-Free Pumpkin Praline coffees, and also made a tentative dinner date with Theresa, the owner, and her husband.

Day to be determined.

Suddenly it seems that a lot of Union workers are upset that the Keystone XL pipeline has been cancelled … again. There goes 70,000 direct and ancillary jobs. No wonder they’re mad. Bu the new Transportation Secretary nominee says they should just get ‘different’ jobs.

So it’s all OK, I guess.

Of course the reason given is that it is environmentally dangerous. But then see the Thought For The Day below.

That represents over 2.5 million miles of pipeline.

What seems to get lost in the shuffle is the fact that the oil that would come from Canada into the U.S., and on down to Texas via the pipeline, is already coming in now, by tanker trucks and train cars. Which means it will continue to be transported that way, instead of flowing through a much safer, underground pipe.

Even more ironically, the majority of the pipeline, over 2,900 miles, has already been completed and is in use. The final part, the only part left, the part that was just cancelled, and a much shorter distance, runs from Canada down into the U.S., as far as Nebraska, mostly paralleling already existing and in use pipelines. It’s mainly to just increase capacity.

And there are already several other pipelines passing through same areas.

And as far as pollution, cancelling the pipeline may cause even more of it. That’s because, as I said, the oil will still be coming in by trucks and trains. Lots and lots of trucks and trains.

The latest figure I’ve found is that they planned to ship about 800,000 barrels Per Day!through the pipeline. And that’s contracted for the next 20 years.

Now a standard railroad tank car holds 700 barrels. So that means over1100 tank cars will be needed.  Per Day!

And since a standard semi tanker holds about 190 barrels, that means over 4200 truck tankers will be needed. Per Day!  Or some combination of the two.

So how much pollution do you think 4200 trucks are going to produce?

And again, despite what a lot of people seem to think online, stopping the Keystone XL is not stopping the oil from coming into the U.S. But just changing how it’s transported.

(And yes, I realize that ‘think’ and ‘online’ in the same sentence is an oxymoron.)

Stay tuned.

Thought For The Day:

I'm So Confursed Keystone



January 23, 2011

Laser Printers and Joint Juice . . .

This morning started about 10 am when our son Chris came over to modify a cabinet he built for our rig. By the time he was finished it was time for all of us to head up to Webster to meet the rest of the family at Cheddar’s, a local favorite family restaurant of ours.

And of course, this produced the obligatory Landon photos.

Landon at Cheddars

Landon and Jan at Cheddars

Landon with Ring

Landon was fascinated by Piper’s earrings.

Landon with Pipers Earring

As usual, when the whole family is together, we spent a lot of time setting around just talking about family stuff.

After lunch, we all split up, with Jan and I followed Chris home so I could install the printer driver for Piper’s Christmas present laser printer.

Next it was on to Sam’s Club to pick up the Joint Juice they were out of when we were there on Friday. After that we stopped by Brandi’s to pick up some mail, and of course, Jan got in some more Landon time.

Then it was back over to Kohl’s, where with their sale and the 15% off coupon Brandi had printed out for her, Jan got about $125 worth of stuff, including a new purse, for about $50.

Finally we stopped off at Kroger’s for some groceries, and a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbuck’s. We had thought we were going to stop by our storeroom, but decided to go on home after a busy day.

That about wraps it up for today.  More tomorrow.

Thought for the Day:

“The rush to be wrong first is just too hard for some people to resist.”



January 23, 2014

Rain, Sleet, and Snow? . . .

and 1/4” of ice on roads and bridges for tomorrow. And I’m supposed to see two clients. We’ll see how that goes.

One of the things I wanted to do today was to get my Duck Dynasty Chia Pet started. My son Chris gave it to me Christmas,  but in all the chaos it got put aside until now.

But today’s the day.

Willie Chia

Chia Willie Duck Dynasty Handmade Decorative Chia Pet Planter

Chia Willie starts out looking like this.

Chia Pet 1

First up, you soak him in a bowl of water for about an hour. At the same time you soak some of the chia seeds in some water.

Chia Pet 2

Then you set Willie in little plastic tray, fill him full of water, and then smear the seed mush all over him.

Chia Pet 3

Then put him near a light source and keep him filled with water. And hopefully Willie will soon bloom in all his verdant glory. I’ll keep you updated.

One thing I didn’t know is that after Willie blooms you can eat him. Apparently Chia Seeds are high in Omega 3, fiber, and protein. YUMMM!

Chia Seeds

About 4 PM Jan and I headed up to Webster to have dinner at one of our favorite places, Rudy’s BBQ.

Rudy's BBQ 1

I always get a little of everything, moist brisket, pork ribs, and jalapeno sausage links,

Rudy's BBQ 3

and some of their great Cream Corn. And a lot of left-overs to bring home.

Later, after we got back home, I ground up some of my Trinidad Scorpion Chili Pepper Pods.

Trinidad Scorpion Package

Dried Trinidad Scorpion Chili Pepper Pods

Until very recently, at 1,400,000 Scoville Units, this was the hottest pepper in the world. But just a month or so ago, it was surpassed by the Carolina Reaper. The King is dead. Long live the new King.

As a comparison, a jalapeno is about 5,000 and a habanero is about 20,000 SC’s.

I use my Mr. Coffee coffee bean grinder to make a powder from the pods to put in my shaker. And just the little bit of dust that escapes into the air makes your eyes burn, your lips numb, and then you start coughing and sneezing.

This ought to be a GOOD batch.

Thought for the Day:

Remember, if you can swim, then it doesn’t matter how deep the water is.
And if you can’t swim, it doesn’t matter either.



January 23, 2015

The Roughneck Life . . .

I mentioned the other day about my rig muffler/tailpipe repair where I reattached my pipe to the muffler where it had broken off.

Tailpipe Repair

So out of curiosity, I called Spartan this afternoon to see how much a new muffler would have cost me. Turns out I saved $272.12 plus $45 shipping. Pretty good return on $10 worth of clamps, brackets, and screws.

I’ve run into a small problem with my recent power converter that I installed around the middle of December.


Well, I’ve run into a small problem with it. The Float Charge level is about 0.1 volt too low.

Like most power converters, mine has 3 output voltage levels.

The first one, the Bulk Charge Mode will run at 14.4 for a maximum of 4 hours. This mode is used if you’ve been draining your batteries pretty hard so the system needs to catch up.

Next is the Absorption Mode, which at 13.6 volts, is considered the ‘normal’ mode when you’re using a lot of 12 volt power.

Lastly, is the Float mode. At 13.2 volts, this mode is where the converter mostly stays, due to the fact that most of our lights are LED, and we just don’t use much other 12 volt power, except when we run the vent fans.

The problem is that 13.2 volts is not enough to cause my rig battery controller to switch over and charge the engine batteries. It needs to see 13.3 volts before it will switch.

I talked with American Coach to see if this level is adjustable, and found it wasn’t.

I can make the converter charge the engine batteries by turning it off and back on, which starts it back up in Bulk Mode for little while,  but then it cycles down to Absorption Mode and then back to Float Mode. But this is a PITA.

I talked to the PowerMax power converter people and found that there is an adjustment inside that will raise output voltage slightly, but to do so, I would have to drill out the rivets in the case to get inside, and this would void my warranty, and the two year additional warranty I bought for $9.95

Right now I have a 3 amp float charger on the engine batteries, keeping them right at 13.3 volts, while my house batteries sit at 13.2 volts. And that’s how it will stay until and if, I come up with something else.

Update: What I finally ended up doing is to put the Power Converter on a timer. Three times a day, every 8 hours, the timer shuts off the Power Converter for 30 minutes, so that when it comes back on, it goes into Bulk Charge Mode at 14.4 volts, which will charge the engine batteries, taking care of the problem.

* * * * *

Although the bottom has temporarily dropped out of the gate guard business (one service guy says they’ve gone from 40 gates to 16 in just a few weeks), it’ll come back. It always does.

Anyway, I came across a really good article describing the life of a rig worker.

7 On, 7 Off – The Roughneck Life

It’s a good read even if you aren’t interested in gate guarding. The comments are interesting too.

* * * * *

About 4pm the rain had started to slack off so we headed out for dinner at Golden Corral and a second try at Wal-Mart

I mentioned a few days ago about how good Golden Corral’s 5 oz. Sirloin’s are.

Golden Corral Steak Ad

And that they were better than the $24 steaks we had the other night at Nancy’s Steakhouse in Columbus.

Golden Corral Steak

And tonight was no different. Still delicious and still all you can eat.

Did I mention it’s all you can eat?

Tomorrow’s supposed to be nice, sunny, dry, and about 60 degrees. So I should be able to get back on a couple of projects.


Thought for the Day:

What happens on the internet, never stays on the internet.



January 23, 2016

You Can Hold It . . .

We didn’t walk this morning because about 11:45 we headed down to the Clear Lake area for the day, Tonight at 6:30 is Jan’s yearly get-together with her former hospital co-workers. They’ve been doing this every year since we started RV’ing in 2008, and always have a great time. In the past they’ve had the party at a local Clear Lake restaurant, but this year it was at someone’s home. And as it turns out, they liked it that way so much they’re going to do it again next year.

One of the reasons we were going down so early was to have lunch at another of our long-time favorite places, Monterey’s Little Mexico, down in Dickinson. Another place we’ve been eating at for 25 years or so, they still recognize us when we return every fall. In fact Monterey’s is the last place that we stop in the RV on the way out of town each year. They have a big lot where we can park the rig and then hitch up the truck after we’re done, so it works out perfectly.

After lunch we made a quick run down to the next exit to the Texas City Buc-ee’s. If you haven’t heard of Buc-ee’s before, it ‘s Texas-based chain of convenience stores. But of course, being from Texas, they are also the world’s LARGEST convenience stores,

Buc-ee's TC Outside_thumb[3]

Buc-ee's TC Inside_thumb[3]

Some of the Buc-ee’s have 120 fuel pumps, and the store in New Braunfels, the largest, has over 68,000 square feet under one roof, selling everything from BBQ  to fresh fruits and vegetables, and from fresh baked goods to Go-Pro cameras. And pretty much everything else can think of.

So if you’re driving along a Texas road, and you see a billboard like this,


just hold it. You won’t be disappointed.

And if you do ‘hold it’, you won’t have to wait in line when you get there. There are as many as 30 stalls for the ladies, and 33 urinals for the guys. As I said in another blog, “It’s urinals as far as the eye can see.”

And don’t forget to pick up a big bag of Beaver Nuggets.

Our next stop was at the dry cleaners to pick up our ‘summer’ bedspread. We have two bedspreads for our bed, both with a moose pattern, strangely enough, HA!, and we swapped them out when we get back to the Houston area every fall, and then again before we leave for the year.

When we get back to this area, we drop the summer one off at the cleaners, and pick up the winter one that’s been stored at our son Chris’, still in its plastic wrapper. Then a week or so before we head out each year we drop the winter one off and pick up the summer one.

That done, we drove over to our son Chris’ to drop off the spread, and also to drop off his repaired Galaxy S5 smartphone.

Yes, I did get it fixed, and I’ll tell you more about that in tomorrow’s blog. But you can check out the start of this below.


I picked up Jan about 9:30 and we headed back up to Conroe, finally getting home a little after 11pm.

Another long, but very fun day.

Thought for the Day:

Well, this explains a lot.  Especially Windows 8!


I wonder if his name is ‘Peggy’?



January 23, 2017

A New Bella . . .

Well, this pre-frack pad is still rocking along, getting everything pre-positioned for the frack sometime this coming weekend.

At some point in the next week Jan and I have to turn around to night shift where we’ll be for the frack, with her on the front gate and me on the pad. Much better than the original idea which was for us to be on opposite shifts on the front gate.

The Company Man took care of my mud problem yesterday by having them bring in several front loaders of gravel and then spreading it out.

So I went from this,

PottyTrailer Mudhole

to this.

Frack Gravel

Much, much better for when it rains next.

We have a new Bella here in Cuero.

First there was Bella Sera, ‘A Beautiful Evening’, in Kenedy, and now we have La Bella Tavola, ‘The Beautiful Table’, and both are delicious. So it’s nice to have a replacement Bella here in Cuero.

On the recommendation of our landlady we gave it a try last night, and were not disappointed at all.

Jan had the Chicken Alfredo

Bella Tavola Chicken Alfredo

while I had the Spaghetti Sampler with Meat Sauce, Meatballs, and Italian Sausage.

Bella Tavola Spaghetti Sampler

Both delicious. We’ve found our new Bella.

One thing really nice about our RV park, Spacious Country RV Park, is the Wi-Fi, when runs between 12 and 15 Mbps, probably the consistently fastest we’ve ever encountered. Even for one’s we’ve paid for.

Todd showed up this morning with a microwave for the shack, as the one that was supposed to be in here was apparently stolen sometime in the past. So now I can have a hot lunch (or dinner) again.

Last minute update –

As of 4:21pm this afternoon, our Fri – Mon Day Shift only Pre-Frack gate has now become a Day Shift/Night Shift Till Further Notice gate.

Which really complicates when Jan and I will be able to turn around to night shift for the frack itself.

Thought for the Day:

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” ― George Carlin



January 23, 2018

Why Do I Remember The Name of Tonto’s Horse . . .

But I Can’t Remember What I Walked To Back of The Rig For?

I goofed off most of the morning, checking out some new website software that I’m looking at. But figuring I had to at least do something productive for the day, about 2:30 I went outside and installed the second new awning on my bedroom window. It only took about 20 minutes with part of that moving the ladder back and forth.

Two down, two to go.

The next one, the big one on the passenger side, will be more trouble since it’s more than twice as long as the rear window one, 51” vs. 130”. So the big torque tube will be harder to handle. We’ll see.

Last night we lost one of our favorite TV shows to the recent Hollywood sexual harassment scandal. Wisdom of the Crowd died at 13 episodes due to the accusations against the star Jeremy Piven

Although the ratings weren’t great they were probably good enough to be picked up for the second 13  episodes. At least shows without controversy but lower ratings were picked up.

Jan and I both thought t hat they should just have replaced Piven with a new actor. They do it on soap operas all the time. Of course the only time we could remember it being done in primetime with a main character was Darren on Bewitched. A long time ago, but it’s the only one we can think of.

Maybe our readers can come up with others.

About 5pm we met our RV friend’s Jan and Dale Thompson at the Cheddar’s up in Webster. They had never been to one so they were looking forward to it after reading our blog.

Cheddars - Jan and Dale

The other Jan got the Chicken Fried Chicken, while Dale got the Cornmeal Catfish. My Jan got her usual Key West Chicken and Shrimp and I again got the Veggie Plate.

All really delicious.

After a great time, my Jan and I headed home with a quick stop at HEB for a few things before getting home about 8pm.

Thought for the Day:

To Be Old and Wise, You First Must Be Young and Stupid.



January 23, 2019

It Was Educational, I Swear . . .

Today was another busy day at work, with a lot more price changes and updates that came in this week.

The aquarium pump came in, but I never even got a chance to take a look at it. Maybe Friday. Another thing that came in was a new UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for the office webserver. It died last week, so I put in an order for a new one, but it got backordered and didn’t get here until yesterday.

But I wanted to be sure it was going to hold up, so I plugged it into my computer, and not the webserver, to let it cook for a couple of days before I put it online. I’d rather it shut down my computer than the website


APC UPS 1000VA Battery Backup & Surge Protector

This one should keep the webserver up for about 45 minutes.

Jan’s got her one-week checkup tomorrow afternoon for last Thursday’s right eye cataract surgery. And so far she’s really happy about it. In fact she’s really happy with both eyes now, and thinks she might be able to get by with just reader glasses.

But if she does need distance correction, it won’t be very much.

But first off tomorrow, we’re heading up to The Woodlands to meet up with some RV friends at the Longhorn Steakhouse there. But we’ve got a detour on the way by Miss Piper’s to give her Mazda Miata a jumpstart.

As part of my Duolingo studies I’ve been checking out some of the Spanish language programs on DirecTV, ones like Dificil de Creer (Hard To Believe), Jugar con Fuego (Play with Fire) and then there’s the Mexican Weather Channel.

Mexican Weather Girl

In case you’re wondering, the caption at the top says “5 Day Forecast”. It was educational, I swear.

Thought for the Day:

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” – John Barrymore



January 23, 2020

Thanks For Your Kind Words . . .

First off, I want to thank everyone for their kind words about my uncle Tom. I’ve really enjoyed reading the many  accolades in the local Alabama newspapers, and discovering a lot of family history that I hadn’t heard before.

In talking about the period while he was playing for the University of Alabama, I found this.

While playing at Alabama, he also developed a close relationship with Lenette Ellis, the captain of the cheerleaders for the Crimson Tide, whom he married in 1949.

Lenette was quite an athlete in her own right. She won the 1948 Southern Olympic Diving Championship and qualified for the Olympic trials.

And this –

In 1956, Calvin took the coaching job at Sylacauga for football. Calvin coached the Aggies for 21 seasons. In 1957, Calvin and the Aggies were named state champions by The Birmingham News. The 1960 and 1961 teams won back to back state titles. Sylacauga had 15 straight winning seasons including the 1969 state championship.

Tom Calvin Coaching

Calvin retired from coaching in 1988 boasting an overall record of 201-130-11. Calvin was a three time Coach of the Year and inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1991.

He and Lenette are the only husband and wife team in the hall of fame.

All the test drive prep work I had scheduled went completely unprepped, and I don’t really know why. I guess life intervened.

So I guess it’s going to all get put off until Saturday.

About 2pm Jan and I headed up to Webster to have lunch at our long-time favorite, Floyd’s Cajun Seafood. We’ve been eating here since the late 90’s when it first opened.

Floyd's Cajun Seafood 2

Originally it was called Thibodeaux’s when Floyd was a silent partner in the restaurant. The reason he was a silent partner was that Floyd is Floyd Landry, who along with his family, started Landry’s Seafood, first in Lafayette, LA.

He had to wait until his non-compete expired with Tilman Fertitta, who bought up the Landry’s chain, before he could open a restaurant in his name.

Like most restaurant’s we frequent, we both have our favorites, dishes that we keep going back to.

Jan got her Grilled Catfish Dinner with Gilled Veggies, and a Side Salad,

Floyd's Grilled Catfish Dinner

while I started off with a Dinner Salad, with their homemade Ranch Dressing,

Floyd's Dinner Salad

and a Bowl of Shrimp Gumbo.

Floyd's Shrimp Gumbo

There were so many shrimp in here that there was one in every spoonful.

After that we made an office stop for some Amazon stuff that came in, and HEB stop on the way home.

A nice day.

Thought For The Day:


(noun) a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.



4 Responses to Pipelines and Chia Pets . . .

  1. Linda in NE says:

    After reading your post I realize that you are 100% in favor of the KXL. The states it’s supposed to run through have been fighting it over 10 years now. I believe that it was just regular sweet crude there might not be a problem. The main problem is that it is tar sands and to get it to even flow through a pipeline diluting chemicals have to be added and heat & high pressure used to get it to flow. Should it leak into the water table or, God forbid, the Ogallala Aquifer it would be impossible to completely clean up because it doesn’t float like regular crude. It sinks to the bottom where it will stay, chemicals and all. Were you aware that the pipe TC intends to put into the ground has been laying around, in the weather, for over 10 years now? Or that they refuse to tell first responders what chemicals are used in it in case there is a leak and those responders will be first on the scene? Are you aware that those automatic shutoffs in case of a leak really don’t work all that well? Are you aware of the harassment of landowners who refuse to sell easements? Are you aware of what the landowner contracts include? Like if the pipeline were to be abandoned that it becomes the landowners responsibility in perpetuity? That if what leftover crud in the pipe leaks into the water table at some point in the future, and it will, the great great grandchildren of that original landowner, no matter how many times that property may have been sold, would be responsible? I can see from your post that you are going by TC’s (TransCanada) narrative and that of news media. I live within less than 2 miles, cross country, of where this thing is supposed to go. We have been told by a Natural Resources District representative that if there were a major leak all water wells within 2 miles of the pipeline in all directions would be closed down for however long it would take for cleanup and testing. Imagine if you will an area that size without any water source that could last for months, if not years. That is one of the reasons people have fought against the KXL so hard costing them thousands upon thousands of dollars. To top it all off, after it gets to the Gulf and goes through the refineries it will get shipped to China & India because our emissions regulations don’t allow it to be used as fuel in this country. So the argument that it will guarantee energy independence for the U.S.doesn’t hold water. Sorry I wrote a book as a reply but I have seen the other side of the issue from the landowners’ side instead of the misinformation TransCanada has been putting out for years. Ideally Canada would build a pipeline across their own country & build a refinery for the product. Or truck it or send it by rail across their own country to a refinery. Problem is, their own people won’t allow it so the U.S. is supposed to be thrilled to get a dirty tar sands pipeline. Even Pres. Obama finally saw that there would only be 35 permanent jobs along the pipeline from the Canadian border to Steel City, Nebraska once it was built. That was before he cancelled the license to bring it across the border. One of the few things he did right as far as I was concerned. Again, sorry for the book.

  2. Nancy says:

    The only reason Biden did that was because it was Trumps idea.  Their only goal in life is to cancel absolutely everything he did, no matter if 70,000 people are out of a job.  They just don’t give a sh_t about the people AT ALL.  Add to that men can now use women’s restrooms, compete against women in sports and everyone will again have to pay huge amounts for forced Obama care.  Worst President in the HISTORY of Presidents and he’s only been there a few days.

  3. Rob says:

    At the two grocery store gas stations in Belfair, WA reg is going for $2.71, at the brand name stations it’s $2.99.

  4. Len says:

    Greg: Aren’t we glade we elected President Sanders, oops, I mean Biden. People seemed to have had lots of reasons for not re-electing Trump, but the policies he put forth, sure made a lot of common sense.

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