Daily Archives: September 11, 2023

Never Forgotten . . .

We’ve got a busy week coming up. Tomorrow I’m getting the Jeep inspected, as the first step in Jan and I becoming Texas residents once again, for the first time since 2008.

It seems you have to get your vehicles inspected first, then you have to get your vehicle registered and tagged. Only then can you go down and get your license.

Then Thursday we’re meeting Debi and Ed, and hopefully Janice and Dave, up at the Katz’s Deli Express up in The Woodlands for lunch. Though we’ve eaten at the Montrose location a number of times, this will be our first time at this one. Looking forward to seeing everyone.

On Saturday we’re getting together with Barbara Parker, one of Jan’s former coworkers from her Medical Records days.

I like words. This blog should make that obvious.

Words are very powerful. They can make people happy and laugh out loud. They can make good friends never talk to you again, and make you thousands of new ones.

And I especially like learning new words.

Ones like “Tourons”

‘Tourons’ are ‘Tourists’ who are ‘Morons’

And they even have their own photo montage on Google.

This guy could probably use a red cape.

Some are just kind of strange.

And some don’t go well at all.

And now the bison are actually keeping score.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Coming home this afternoon, I saw an older white van in front of me at a light, and something about the license plate struck me as odd.

Turns out I was right. It’s one of those ‘Sovereign Citizens ‘Fake’ License Plates, i.e. it’s not a legal plate

“Sovereign citizenship” is a belief in pseudo-legal theory that certain Latin phrases, interpretations of law, name spellings and peculiarities around state documentation and signatures mean you don’t have to register your car, obtain a driver’s license, or indeed follow any laws deemed harmful to your own personal freedom. This is, of course, absurd, and very much illegal.

Now, these sovereign citizens often make their grift look vaguely official, to make them more believable as a legal defense, but that often ends in boring fakeries that don’t quite look official or anything like the real thing. But some who ascribed to this fringe theory have brought a little flair to their fake (and very illegal) license plates.

There are a number of sites online where you can buy plates like this.

And here’s more information about TEMU and all the problems with it.

TEMU is Cleverly Hidden Spyware that Poses an Urgent Security Threat to U.S. National Interests

“TEMU app software has the full array of characteristics of the most aggressive forms of malware /spyware.”

  • The app has hidden functions that allow for extensive data exfiltration unbeknown to users, potentially giving bad actors full access to almost all data on customers’ mobile devices.
  • It is evident that great efforts were taken to intentionally hide the malicious intent and intrusiveness of the software.
  • We engaged numerous independent data security experts to decompile and analyze TEMU app’s code, integrated with experts of our own staff, and analysts who have written independently in the public domain.
  • Contributing to the danger of mass data exfiltration is the fast uptake rate of the TEMU app: over 100 million app downloads in the last 9 months, all in U.S. and Europe. TEMU is not offered in China.

I mean, why should they have in China? They already have all of their info. They just want ours.

Thought For The Day:

Never Forget

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

September 11, 2009

Titanic and Atlantic…

Today was our day to tour the Halifax,  Nova Scotia area.

We had planned to get an early start,  but then Jan woke up with a migraine.  So she took her Imitrex and went back to bed for a while

Later,  after the Imitrex had worked its magic,  we went to breakfast about 10:30 am at the Finer Diner and then drove to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

One of the things we wanted to see was the Titanic exhibit that they have.  They also have an exhibit on S.S. Atlantic,  a ship that went down off Nova Scotia in 1873.  The 635 people who died when the Atlantic went down made it the largest loss of life until the Titanic in 1912.

They also had an interesting exhibit about the explosion of a ship in Halifax harbor that killed over 2000 people,  very reminiscent of the Texas City explosion in 1947.  In this case, it was a shipment of ammunition for use in WWI that blew up,  rather than fertilizer,  like in Texas City.

Finally leaving the museum about 2:30 pm,  we were attracted by the smells coming from the Dragon King Chinese Buffet restaurant across the street and decided to give it a try.

And it was really good.  Especially the Hot & Sour soup.

Leaving the restaurant,  we drove around downtown Halifax for a while before taking the scenic drive down toward Peggy’s Cove.  And it was certainly worth the trip.

On our way down the coast we passed St. Margaret’s Bay,  a very picturesque dock area.

St Margaret Bay 1

St Margaret Bay 2

St Margaret Bay 3

Arriving at Peggy’s Cove, we found a charming little village on the Atlantic Coast, filled with quaint little multi-colored houses.

Peggys Cove

The rocky coast is something we don’t see in Texas,  but it’s always a scenic view.

Peggys Cove 1

Peggys Cove 2

And of course, the obligatory lighthouse.

Peggys Cove Lighthouse

With the sun setting, we headed back to the coach, stopping off at a hardware store, and driving through a nearby gas station, scouting it out to see if we can get in and out easily in the coach.

Because fuel is so expensive here (about $3.60 a gallon vs. $2.50 in the US), I was hoping to be able to get back to the US before filling up the coach with diesel, but it will be too close for comfort. So we will probably fuel up tomorrow on our way out of Halifax.

One thing we found interesting in the area was this McDonalds complete with lighthouse.


Arriving back at the coach, we sat outside for a while and let Mister roam around for a bit and then it was in for the night.

September 11, 2010

Never Forget . . .

SEPT 11 2001 NYC

Towers Of Light

We left Tom Sawyer RV Park about 11:45 to make the 220 mile run to the Moose Lodge in Jackson, MS.

Since we were leaving so late, we had a lunch of leftovers before we left. And while we were eating our daughter Brandi called with the latest Landon update.

Only two more days until we get to see him, me for the first time.

It started sprinkling a little while before we left, and then got progressively harder as the day went on. By the time we were about 30 miles outside Jackson, it was really coming down, and the wind had picked up.

We got into the Moose Lodge about 4:15 pm and got set up. I just hooked up power, and didn’t worry about water or sewage. And lucky for me, the rain was gone by the time we got to the Lodge.


About 30 minutes later, we drove down the road about half a mile to Sonny’s BBQ, one of our favorite BBQ places. One thing I like about Sonny’s is that they have sliced pork, instead of just pulled pork. By my thinking, sliced pork is much better on a sandwich than pulled pork.

Getting back to the rig, I got the satellite dish set up and we were in for the night.

Tomorrow we’ve got another 220 mile run down to Breaux Bridge, LA for one night, and then it’s on to Houston for the next 4-5 months.

September 11, 2011

In Remembrance . . .


SEPT 11 2001 NYC

911 WTC




Never Forget!

September 11, 2012

Another Quiet Day . . .

Jan woke up still under the weather this morning so we just made it a stay-at-home day.

I spent part of the morning making some phone calls, trying to solve some rig problems I’m having.

My first call was to Brake Buddy.

Brake Buddy Classic

For the last 5 years I’ve used a Brake Buddy Classic as the braking system when we tow our truck behind our RV with absolutely no problems. But recently the 12 volt cigarette lighter on it has gotten kind of ‘iffy’ and needed to be replaced. But the typical replacement plugs I found locally are not heavy-duty enough.

All I could find were ones rated for 5 amps, but the Brake Buddy needs one rated for 20 amps. So my next try was to call Brake Buddy and get one from them.

And what I got excellent service. When I told them what I needed, the guy took my name and address and said a new plug would go out to me this afternoon. No charge, no nothing, just great service.

Kudos to Brake Buddy.

Taking care of that, my next call was to Westland Sales about a problem with our Splendide washer/dryer. Once last month at the end of the wash cycle the door wouldn’t unlock. So after fooling with it for a while, I ran it through another wash cycle and at the finish the door unlocked with no problems.

But then a couple of days ago it happened again, and this time running it through the cycle again didn’t help. But I left it alone for a few hours and it unlocked on its own.

So I called Westland to get some ideas what the problem might be, and after talking for a few minutes, Ryan, the tech, gave me some things to check further, and then get back to him.

After that my last chore was to order some new checks from Checks In The Mail. Unfortunately they have to be shipped to our home address in Houston, so I’ll have to have our daughter ship them back out to us to wherever we are.

For the rest of the afternoon I worked on client website stuff, getting some new domain names, and typing in some text filler for the web pages.

Since Jan didn’t feel like going out for dinner, in fact didn’t feel like eating at all, I fixed a little something to eat. Hopefully she’s on the mend.

We’ll see tomorrow.

September 11, 2014

Another Nice Drop . . .

Today’s vehicle count dropped off even more, from yesterday’s 148 to a nice 126. But it may be the calm before the storm.

We had heard they were soon going to be fracking a well further on in past our gate, but then the gate guard up the road said they were going to be fracking three wells at one time. I didn’t say anything at the time, but you always hear rumors about things like this. And when you look at them closely, they don’t make sense.

For example, last year when we worked a frack gate down south of San Antonio, our peak days were about 300 vehicles, and that was pretty exhausting. Remember that the 300 number is just the vehicles coming in. You have pretty much the same number going out, but not quite. Let’s call it 500 total ins and outs. So three frack jobs would mean 1500 ins and outs a day. That means that in a 24 hour day, one vehicle a minute would have to pass through our gate. But that’s physically impossible.

The road leading through and past our gate is pretty much a one and half lane road. Two pickups can squeeze by each other if they’re careful, but a semi and anything else just won’t fit. For this reason, there are several pull outs along the way so vehicles can pull over to let someone pass.

Plus our gate and cattle guard are only wide enough for one vehicle. And some of the semi’s hauling a big load have to be careful about squeezing through the gate.

Very quickly you would have a solid gridlock of vehicles clogging up the road. So logistically that’s just not going to happen. Then today a company guy came through, and to Jan’s question, confirmed that there are three frack jobs coming up.

But ONE AT A TIME. Now that makes more sense.

Our drill rig finally started drilling about 4am this morning. Kind of.

But I’m not sure they’re doing it right. I have never heard a rig make these kind of sounds. There’s clanking, clanging, squealing, and screeching. And then there’s this.

Smoking Rig

I’m not sure what happened, but all of a sudden this big cloud appeared tonight for a while. It wasn’t smoke, and didn’t smell like anything, and it didn’t look like steam. So maybe it was dust. I don’t know.

But it’s certainly entertaining.

September 11, 2015

Doable . . .

Friday is usually Grocery Day, and today was no different. So I headed out to Wal-Mart a little after 11am making the 8 mile trip into Carthage.

Being this close to town could really get you spoiled. We’ve been at other sites where it was two hours each way, and considered ourselves lucky at others when we only had a two hour round-trip.

Today’s visit was a lot less eventful than Wednesday’s tête-à-tête with the Pharmacy there. The only problem is that this store, being a ‘mini’ SuperCenter, doesn’t always stock some of the brands/items that we normally buy at Wal-Mart. But it all works out. And of course this being Grocery Day means it’s also Whataburger Day, so I made the obligatory stop there before heading home.

After lunch, and after I came on shift at 1pm, Jan decided she was going to go into town to get her haircut, so off she went about 1:30. This is only the second time in the four years we’ve been gate guarding that she’s left by herself. A real milestone. I hope she’ll do it more now that we’re so close to town.

She was back about 2:30, happy with her hair, but very unhappy with the price. Her wash and cut was $45, about twice what she usually pays at a SuperCuts, etc. At those prices, the hair places here better hope they don’t put a TGF or a SmartStyle in at the Wal-Mart.

It looks like the frack is off and running, but it does sound like it’s a little hit or miss so far, at least based on the starting and the stopping of the noise and the smoke/dust cloud that hovers above the pad. But the sand trucks are coming in, albeit, less than the 20 a day we were told. So far it’s been about 10 or so a day, in batches of 3 or 4. So that’s been nice.

Things did settle down to what I imagine will be a more usual pace, now that all the prep/startup stuff is done. Down from yesterday’s 135, we had 111 trucks come through today. A nice, very doable, pace.

Just after I went in at 6pm, we did get another light, dust-settling rain which was nice. Jan said it lasted for about 20 minutes with no wind, so it didn’t blow in under the canopy. Right now there’s a lot of lightning in the clouds to the south of us, but looking at my Rainy Days app, it doesn’t look like it’s heading our way.

So far.

September 11, 2016

School Days . . .

Between a new low vehicle count of only 29, and a high of only 85 degrees, it was a really nice day.

I’ve decided to go back to school. And I’ve been accepted to Harvard. Well, HarvardX anyway, which is Harvard’s online presence.

Over the last few years I’ve seen articles and ads about Khan Academy and edX, Both offer free online courses on hundreds of subjects, pretty much on anything you can think of.

Khan Academy seems to concentrate on general subjects, like Chemistry, Biology, or Electrical Engineering, using their own class materials. They even have math classes for K – 8th grade, that are used by many homeschoolers. And another focus is on test prep for SAT, MCAT, GMAT, and more.

But edX offers actual specific classes from major universities around the country, like MIT, Harvard, UT, and many others. And again, they’re all free. The only possible charge is if you want an actual Verified Certificate or Diploma, which runs about $100.

edX offers two main types of courses, scheduled and self-paced. Scheduled is just like any college course, with a definite start date, and assignments due at a definite time. Self-paced are just that. You can start anytime and work at your own pace. In fact edX lists over 300 self-paced courses.

I thought I’d start off with Introduction to Computer Science, a course given, as I said by Harvard. I figure it would be interesting to get a more recent overview of the subject, since the last time I took an Intro Computer class was 1973, when Jan and I were both back in college.

Jan had to take the Intro class as part of her Medical Records degree curriculum and was worried about it. I had an open period at the same time so I signed up too. We did our programming assignments on an IBM 1170 at the school using punch cards.

My previous Intro class had been in 1966 at Vanderbilt University on an IBM 360 that took up a whole floor of the Science Building, again using punch cards and Fortran IV. But my first actual programming was on a Geniac analog computer that I got for Christmas in 1958 when I was 10.

If you’re anywhere near my age (I.e. ancient) you probably remember ads in magazines like this one

Geniac 2

The actual computer looked like this – a Masonite board with six Masonite wheels, and a lot of jumper wires, as well as batteries, light bulbs, and a buzzer.

Geniac 1

You wired it up using the jumper wires, and then you could solve simple math problems, guess your age problems, and many others. For me, the best thing was that it taught you to logically break a problem down into small pieces and then construct a program to solve it.

At 10 I was already into shortwave radio, collecting SWL cards from all around the world, and studying for my ham radio license, so the Geniac was just another step.

Anyway, after the Intro course, I want to check out some of the newer languages that have come along in the last few years, like C++, C#, and Linux. I programmed in Unix at NASA, but Linux is a newer version. Then after that, probably Java and Ruby.

Who knows?

For dinner tonight we had our leftover Blue Moon BBQ from yesterday. Since Jan had also fixed us a dessert we found we had leftover leftovers, so we have another meal for tomorrow too.

Tomorrow I’ll put in another call to Wilson about my DBPro cell phone amplifier, and see if I can get it working.

September 11, 2017

Never Forgive! Never Forget!

Originally I had planned to go down to my Clear Lake’s client’s today, but changed my mind when my  Amazon orders weren’t shown as out for delivery. So I decided to wait until tomorrow.

But then about 11am in came the text messages saying that my orders were out for delivery, so about 15 minutes later I was on the road south, getting to the office about 1pm.

And of course, my orders didn’t actually show up until about 3, but I got some other stuff done in the meantime.

I finally found the location of the InDesign catalog files so I could make product and price changes and then generate a new PDF file to send to customers. Boy, the ex-guy sure hid things in squirrely places.

When the WiFi adapters finally showed up, I installed the first one on the Shipping computer in the back office and it went really quickly. And in a first, they not only include a mini-CD for the drivers, but a 65 MB flash drive as well.

WiFi Driver Accessories

Which was a good thing since this computer doesn’t have a DVD player for some reason. Another weird choice from the ex-guy.

I plugged in the drive, selected Auto-Install and off it went. And a minute or so later, the computer rebooted,  I plugged in the USB WiFi adapter and we were on the air. Easy Peazy.

But the second one didn’t go quite so well. The first machine was Win10, but this one was a Win7 version. But the setup software, which is supposed to know what version it’s running on, again installed the Win10 drivers.

Since I was running out of time (I need to be on the road back to Conroe by 4, or the traffic is even more of a nightmare than usual), I re-ran the setup.exe and manually installed the Win7 drivers, plugged in the adapter . . .  and it didn’t work.

And I was out of time. When I come back Wednesday, I’ll delete all the drivers, including in the registry and try again. But just to be on the safe side, before I do anything, I’ll take the working adapter from the other computer and plug it into this one just to be sure it’s not the adapter itself.

Finally, if I needed a lawyer, I’d certainly want a Dick.

Hire A Dick

September 11, 2018

Hot & Delicious!

Jan and I headed out about 12:30 for a WalMart run but since we were in the area we decided that, with the rainy, overcast day, another big bowl of King Food’s Hot & Sour Soup was in order.

King Food Big Bowl Hot & Sour

Since we were planning on having dinner with friends later tonight, we each just had soup.

Hot & Delicious!

Next up was a quick stop by my client’s office to pick up something I forgot yesterday, and then it was on to our WalMart stop.

Coming home we made a gas/lottery ticket stop, finishing up at the Santa Fe Post Office for our mail, and also to pick up a Change of Address card. Now that we’ve gotten our new address from Dakota Post, I can submit an address change for our old My Dakota Address address.

In our mail was my renewed Passport America card and a paper PPA park catalog, which I didn’t want. I didn’t want the catalog because it’s pretty much useless, since it’s out of date pretty quickly, and I can get all the info online. But I had to pay $5 shipping for it anyway.

What I don’t understand is why my account number changed? I’ve had the same PPA number since I first joined in 2007. But suddenly with this new card I’ve got a new number for some reason.

About 5:15 Jan and I headed over to the TGI Friday’s in Pearland for a get-together of a lot of our Alvin Opry friends.

Friday's Alvin Opry Group 1000

We’ve known most of them since the late 90’s, but don’t get to see them as often since the Opry closed a while back.

Jan had the Dragon-Glazed Grilled Chicken with Veggies,

Friday's Dragon-Glazed Chicken

while I had a bowl of their White Cheddar Broccoli Soup.

Friday's White Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Guess I’m on a soup kick recently. But it was all good. As was the company.

Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again soon.

September 11, 2020

Never Forget . . .

SEPT 11 2001 NYC

Towers Of Light

I was back on the phone this afternoon talking to Spartan about my brake lights. And then I called American Coach with the same question.

And now I have two different answers. Spartan says the brake lights should work with just the ignition on, and without the engine running and the air brakes working.

But American Coach says No, the brake lights won’t work without the engine running and air pressure built up.

So I guess I’ll have to ring it out manually. I know that both the brake lights and the turn signals work from the rear PDC (Power Distribution Center). so next I’ll try to trace the wires from the front panel back to the PDC.

Several people have asked me about the test switch that I’m using to test the rear lights at the PDC. It’s really pretty simple.

It’s just a toggle switch with spade lugs on the leads.

PDC Test Switch

That way I can pull the relays and control the lights directly.

Rig PDC 2

So back to it tomorrow.

September 11, 2021

A Family Reunited . . .

Jan and I were in Smokey The Truck and on our way to Katy about 9:30, really looking forward to getting together at our daughter Brandi’s for post and pre-birthday celebrations, and getting all the family together again.

We did make a quick gas stop along the way before hitting the Interstate where Ole Smokey easily kept up with the 70mph traffic with no problem. Maybe we should call her Ole Reliable instead.

She’s got almost 310,000 miles on her, and is only running on 7 of 8 cylinders, but she’s always ready to go in a pinch and get us where we need to go. And save us from having to rent a car while the Jeeps in the shop.

Good girl!

We got to Brandi’s a little before 11 and found everyone in the pool.

Brandi 9-11 Pool Party 1

Well, everyone except Landon. He and his BFF Sophie stayed up all night playing video games, and, though Sophie was up, Landon was still sleeping in.

Jan and I said how good it smelled when we were walking up to the front door. And this is why.

Brandi 9-11 Pool Party New Grill

They got a new pellet grill and there was a brisket slow-smoking in it.

And as soon as Piper and Derek showed up, we all dug in.

Brandi 9-11 Pool Party Brisket

Really, really good, as well as the pan of Burnt Ends she did too.

Brandi 9-11 Pool Party Burnt Ends

And of course all the fixin’s were on hand also.

It was interesting to watch the interaction between all the dogs, big and little. Brandi and Lowell have two, Jack and Baxter, both big, and Chris and Linda brought their two, both small, and then Piper and Derek brought their two, one big and one small.

There was no real fighting, but a lot of ‘arguing’ for a while. In fact, Baxter just went over and hid in one of the bushes to wait it out.

Brandi 9-11 Pool Party Baxter

But eventually it all settled down.

Then it was all back in the pool, this time including Piper and Derek.

Brandi 9-11 Pool Party Piper and Derek

This was Jan and my first time to meet Derek, and he seems like a really nice guy. He’s an electrician, working for a company doing electrical work for places like Tesla and Dell, and he has his own company on the side. And he and Piper are remodeling a house together.

He said he’s hoping to have his Master Electrician license next year, and then wants to go out on his own. He’s also a big SpaceX fan, so we had a good time talking about that.

Brandi 9-11 Pool Party Piper

This was our first time to have the whole family together since this past January, and it really felt good. And even better, it looks like everyone (including Derek) will be coming to our big family reunion in Gulf Shores, AL next June.

Can’t wait.

September 11, 2022

Pucci And Gucci . . .

Jan and I were on our way up to Katy by about noon this morning, with our first stop at the Torchy’s Tacos in the La Centerra area of Cinco Ranch. You know you’re in a really ritzy area when your Torchy’s Tacos is next door to a Pucci’s and across the drive from a Gucci’s.

You know, Pucci’s, where you can pay $11,230 for this dress.

Pucci Dress

Or Gucci’s where you can pay $4,600 for this bag.

Gucci Bag

And this is a cheap one.

So, yeah, a ritzy area.

Luckily, Torchy’s is not that pricey.

Jan got two tacos, the Baja Fried Shrimp and the Brushfire, with Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

Torchy's Tacos Jan's

And I got two of their Jalapeno Cheese Sausage Dogs.

Torchy's Katy - Republicans

Both delicious!

Then it was on around the corner so Jan could make a Trader Joe’s run while I stayed in the Jeep. Then it was on over to Brandi’s to drop Jan off, and a few minutes later I was heading back to Santa Fe, getting home a little before 4.

I mentioned a few days ago about the faceplate design I did for some epilators we’re having made for us in Poland.

I sent them a faceplate design that looked like this.

BioMak Faceplate 3

They sent me back a revised design like the top one in this comparison below.

So I told them that wasn’t acceptable, and I wanted something more like what I originally sent them. To illustrate I sent them this comparison showing them another unit they had done, and what I wanted.

BioMak Faceplate Comparisons 500

In return they sent me back this one.

Biomak Faceplace 2nd Round

Much better, and I chose the bottom one.