Daily Archives: December 18, 2023

Taft Broadcasting . . .

Following up on yesterday’s blog, forty-five years ago today, December 19, 1978, I started work for Taft Broadcasting, a NASA contractor at Johnson Space Center here in Houston.

Taft handled most of NASA’s television services, from the video from the various test facilities around the JSC site, the video of the astronauts practicing spacewalks in The Weightless Environmental Training Facility (WETF) pool, and later, the shuttle landing videos from the T-38 jets, and the on-orbit video from the Space Shuttle itself, the latter which was my job.

And the very first place we all went to lunch that day was King Food, a restaurant we still eat at today. And we plan on eating there later this week.

I guess if you’re trying to run really, really old legacy software, this might be of interest to you.


It seems there are companies that can still supply computers that will run older (much older!) versions of software. Released in 1995 (of course), it was replaced by Win98, and was supported by Microsoft until 2000.

Though normally Tuesday is a stay-at-the-rig day for us, we’ve still got some shopping to finish up, so tomorrow it’s Costco, T.J. Maxx, (maybe) and then Pho Barr for lunch. Then finishing up with a P.O./Park Mailbox stop.

Thought for the Day:

Seems to still hold even today.

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus, Roman Senator and Historian (A.D. c.56 – c. 115)

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

December 18, 2010

Landon’s First Christmas . . .

Since we didn’t get home from the Alvin Opry until after 1am, we both slept really late this morning, with Jan getting up after 9. And I didn’t get up until about 10:30.

I fixed coffee and we just enjoyed life for a while. Later Jan wrapped Christmas presents and I worked on de-virifying another client’s computer.

About 3 I decided it was a good time for a nap, and it was a good one.

At 5 we headed up to Webster to meet Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at King Food for an early Christmas Eve dinner.

It’s a family tradition that every Christmas Eve we have dinner at King Food, and we’ve been doing it for about 25 years. In fact we’ve been eating there since we first moved to Houston in 1978. And we’re actually on our 4th owners, but lucky for us they’ve all kept the same great menu.

But this is the first year we won’t all be together here in Houston. We now have to share Brandi with Lowell’s family in Oklahoma.

So this year we’re having two Christmas Eve dinners. One tonight because Brandi, Lowell, and Landon are leaving Wednesday to spend Christmas with Lowell’s family in Paul’s Valley, OK. And then another one with Chris, Linda, and Piper next Friday on the other Christmas Eve.

But Landon wasn’t very impressed with the whole tradition. He slept through the whole thing.

Landon at King Food

After dinner we went over to Brandi’s to exchange gifts, and got to see Landon’s first Christmas tree.

And he was fascinated by it.

Landons First Christmas Tree

About 8:30 Santa came by on a firetruck giving out candy to the waiting kids. This is something that the local volunteer fire department has done for the kids in the subdivision for as long as I can remember. And the kids turn out for it every year.

Santas Firetruck

Landon couldn’t take his eyes off Santa and the firetruck. But he wasn’t letting go of dinner, either.

Landon Sees Santa

Chris and Piper came over for a while to visit with Landon. Unfortunately, Linda had to work tonight, so she couldn’t be with us.

December 18, 2011

Christmas Trees and Christmas Cookies . . .

Today we wanted a quiet laidback day so we started off by having breakfast about 11 at IHOP. We’ve been eating here for a long time and it’s always nice to run into waiters/waitresses who remember us from last year.

Leaving IHOP we drove across the parking to Home Depot for a couple of things before ending up at Wal-Mart, where Jan was stocking up on supplies for her Christmas cookie baking marathon later this week. Then it was home for the afternoon.

On another note, we finally got our Christmas trees set up this week.

The inside one,

Christmas Tree 2011

and the outside one.

Christmas Palm Tree 2011

Hey, it’s Texas, what can I say?

Since we’re always here for Christmas, we leave everything in our storeroom here and don’t have to lug it around.

Later in the afternoon, Jan fell asleep on the sofa, so I decided a nap was also in order for me.

That certainly was two hours well spent.

About 6pm we headed up to Seabrook to have supper at Hooter’s for a batch of XXX hot wings. Too bad we didn’t wait until Tuesday.

Tuesday is Sexy Santa Day!

But since Tuesday is also Bingo Night, it’s probably not going to happen.

Tomorrow looks to be another day of clients and errands with some Christmas shopping thrown in for good measure.

December 18, 2012

Gunsmoke and Dragnet . . .

Today ended up being a ‘errand’ day, but started with lunch at Monterey’s Little Mexico for some Chicken Tortilla Soup, and also to catch up with Julie, a waitress there that we’ve known for a long time. She only works the lunch shift Monday thru Friday, so we don’t get to see her when we go there for dinner.

After that, our next stop was Fry’s Electronics so I could pick up a new computer for a client. I was looking for one that still had Windows 7 on it, but they’re getting to be scarce. However I did find an Acer on sale that will fill the bill. Fry’s had it for $800, which is a good deal since Amazon has it for over $1100.

Next up was a stop at Catherine’s so Jan could get a Christmas-themed blouse to wear for several upcoming events. We did have to drive through the Baybrook Mall area, but it turned out to be not too bad.

Then after a quick stop at Brandi and Lowell’s to check our mail, our next stop was a client’s to stomp out a couple of problems.

Later, on the way home, I dropped Jan off to get her hair done while I went across the street to the Kemah Post Office to buy Christmas stamps and get our cards in the mail.

A while back I came across a really neat website for whiling away those late-night hours. It’s located here.


It’s a link to pretty much every old-time radio show there ever was. As a kid in the early 50’s, I remember listening to Gunsmoke and Dragnet sitting around the radio, and these bring back a lot of memories.

And now for some completely useless Gunsmoke trivia. On the radio version, Matt Dillon was played by William Conrad, later of Cannon, Nero Wolfe, and Jake and the Fatman fame. A fighter pilot during WWII, he was thought to be too portly (fat) for the TV role, which ended up going to James Arness, after a recommendation from John Wayne.

Also on the radio show, Doc Adams was played by Howard McNear, who went on to fame as Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show.

See, I told you it was useless.

December 18, 2013

Mister Fixed My Shower Leak . . .

Well, maybe he didn’t fix it, but he did help me find it. Turns out that there was a gap between the floor pan and sidewall that only showed up when there was someone in the shower. But standing up in the shower you couldn’t see the gap.

So the other day when I was down on my knees outside the shower checking for leaks, curious Mister was in the shower, and his weight was enough to show the crack. So as a temporary test, I put a strip of Gorilla Tape over it and left it a couple of days to be sure that was the problem. And it was. No more leak.

Sometime in the next few days I’ll re-caulk it.

Thanks, Mister.

Today was really nice, with temps in the mid 60’s and a lot of sun, so Jan and I did a 1/2 mile walk around the park. The last time we walked regularly was back in April when we were in Apache Junction, and it felt good to be doing it again. We’ll do a few days at 1/2 mile and then start working our way up to the 1-1/2 miles we’ve done in the past.

After our walk, Jan and I, along with Mister, sat outside and enjoyed our coffee and muffins. Well, Mister didn’t have coffee and muffins. He just found a warm sunbeam, curled up, and went to sleep.

Around 3:30 Jan and I headed up to Kemah, dropping off our last Christmas card at the PO, before dropping Jan off to get her haircut. Then we headed across the parking lot for dinner at Chili’s. For dessert, we split a piece of their new Pumpkin Spice Lava Cake. Really, really, really good.

Pumpkin Spice Lava Cake

If you feel the need for speed, check this Hennessey C7 Corvette as it hit 200 MPH on a Houston, Texas Toll Road. The Corvette is stock except for the Hennessey 600 HP upgrade plus the 100 HP Nitrous Express Kit, for a total of 700 HP. Well, the suspension and brakes are stock, anyway.

200 MPH on a Texas Toll Road

The run took place on December 11, 2013 on a new section of Toll Road that’s due to be opened this coming Saturday.

Wonder if the EZ-Tags still work at 200 MPH+?

December 18, 2014

Thanks, John . . .

It was overcast and cool all day, so we just stayed in, and stayed warm. I worked on client website stuff while Jan read the latest Ken Follett book, The Edge of Eternity,

which she says is really good.  It’s the 3rd book in his Century Trilogy and Jan says all 3 books are great.

Later in the afternoon, I walked next door to say “Hi” to Randy.

Reader John Heisler suggested that I might want to try muriatic acid on my drilling mud problem on my rig roof. He thought that since the mud is clay-based (bentonite), that an acid might dissolve it like muriatic acid is used to clean cement grout off tile.

I could see what he was thinking and thought I’d give it a try, especially since I was running out of ideas. But being cheap, and not wanting to drive into town and buy a bottle of muriatic acid that might not work, I decided to give it a try with an acid that I had on hand: Vinegar

If I hadn’t had vinegar, I could have also tried orange juice or Coca-Cola.

Taking Jan’s bottle of vinegar that she uses for the laundry, I soaked a paper work towel in it, and wetted down an area of the roof, let it set for about a minute, and then used the same towel to wipe it off.

And it started coming off.

A few minutes of wiping gave me this.

Roof Cleaned with Vinegar2

Success at last!

It will take a little extra scrubbing, but I’ll probably just use vinegar rather than muriatic acid. Muriatic acid is pretty nasty stuff and would have to be diluted with water anyway, so I’ll just stick with vinegar to start.

Thanks, John.

For dinner tonight, Jan fixed Ham & Cheese Biscuits, a dish she fixed a couple of times while we were gate-guarding. She bakes up a tube of Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits, then when they’re done, she stuffs 4 of them with layers of ham and cheese and pops them back in the oven for a few minutes/ They come out piping hot and full of melted cheesy hammy goodness. Two biscuits along with some of the Baked Potato Salad I got at the HED, made for a great dinner.

Later we had a slice of Edwards Pumpkin Pie. Not quite as good as homemade, but really good anyway. Especially when you add more whipped cream.

Tomorrow we’ll leave about 3pm to make the trip down to Alvin, TX to see the annual Alvin Opry Christmas Show. We’ve been going for about 15 years and never miss it. Plus it’s a chance to catch up with a lot of old friends.

But first we’re going down early enough to meet our long-time friends, Bob and Maria, for dinner at the Kelley’s there in Alvin.

Really looking forward to it.

December 18, 2015

Cabo and Conroe . . .

Jan and I walked again this morning, this time doing one of the walking paths that circle the park, upping our distance to 0.88 miles from yesterday’s 0.80. We did come across a lot of deer today, as the warm sun made it nice, even though it was only in the 50’s.

Colorado River Deer

We’ll try to bump it up a little more tomorrow,  which will be the last day we’ll walk here, since we leave here for Lake Conroe Thousand Trails on Sunday.

I had started our coffee brewing before we left, so all I had to do when we got back was to pour it into our mugs, and start the pumpkin bread toasting. Then we sat outside for a while, just in time for Janice and Dave Evans to walk by. Taking a break, they sat down for a while as we talked over our past and upcoming travels, but finally Dave’s chores beckoned too strongly, and they headed back to their rig.

After working for while on some computer stuff, about 1pm I walked next door to Bonnie and Vance Clegg’s to see if they wanted to meet us at Los Cabos this evening, but they’d just finished up with lunch, and said they wouldn’t be hungry by 4. But we did start talking before Jan wondered what happened to me and came over too. By the time we headed home, it was about 3pm. Time flies when RV’ers get together.

About 4pm Jan and I drove around the circle to pick up our friend Randy to have dinner in Columbus at Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant, our favorite local Mexican place, actually our only local Mexican place. But we’ve never had a bad meal here.

They have all the basics, good chips and salsa, good iced tea, and good service. Oh, and the food’s really good too.

Jan had the Stuffed Avocado, stuffed with fajita beef and cheese, and also a beef fajita taco, and a cup of tortilla soup.

Los Cabos Stuffed Avocado

I had the Grilled Fajita Chicken Salad, with their homemade Ranch dressing.

Los Cabos Chicken Salad

Both really good!

I spent some time going over ideas about boondocking with Randy. He’s planning on boondocking for about 5 days the first part of next year, but he hasn’t done it before, so he wanted to get some tips.

Heading home I stopped off at the hardware store to pick up a rotary file or hasp. I need to open up a hole in the inside metal wall of the coach. I was looking for one 5/8” in diameter, but the only thing they stocked were the Dremel size ones, which would be too small. So it’s off to Lowe’s when we get to Conroe.

Getting back to the park, we stopped off at the rig for a couple of minutes before we headed down to the C loop to visit with Janice and Dave Evans.

Janice and Dave Evans

And as usual, several hours went by before we realized it, and it was after 8pm before we got back to the rig.

December 18, 2016

Christmas in the ‘Patch’ . . .

or that’s what’s scheduled right now anyway.

Todd texted us this morning with four days (or nights, really) of gates for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so it’s Christmas in the ‘Patch’ for us this year.

Oil Rig Christmas Tree 3

Looks like Santa will have to track us down here in Kenedy this year.

As the cold front rolled in starting last night, the winds really picked up, rocking the coach and flapping the awnings. And sometime around 1:30am it also upended our Winegard Satellite dish and the stand it sits on.

Satellite Upended

But luckily, when I set it back up and told it to rescan, the signal came right up.


About 12:30 Jan and I drove into Kenedy to have the Turkey & Dressing/Fried Chicken Buffet at Barth’s, one of our favorite meals there.

Barth's Turkey & Dressing 2

If we weren’t scheduled to work on Christmas Day, we had planned to drive into Katy to spend the day with Brandi and her family, and maybe Chris and Linda. Miss Piper will be working a double at UTMB in Galveston.

But since we’ll be here in Kenedy for Christmas Day we arranged to pick up Christmas dinner from Barth’s. But we’ll have to do that on Friday before 2pm since they close for the holiday then.

So since I’ll be working nights we’ll have lunch there on Friday (Chicken Fried Steak Strips/Fried Catfish) and pick up our Christmas dinners then.

According to my outside thermometer here at the rig, the temp topped out at 39° today, never making it up the forecasted 42. And the scheduled low temp for tonight, originally 29°, has been slipping all day and now is at 26°.

So I did the prudent thing and disconnected and drained our Zero G water hose, switching us over to our rig’s fresh water tank for the night. We’ve been down to 21° a few years ago down at Galveston Bay RV Park in Dickinson, and 6° in Garrison, MT in 2008, so I don’t expect any problems. But we’ll see.

We finished up the last of our Christmas shopping after lunch, and will get them off by Priority Mail tomorrow. They all be there by Thursday, but if not, we’ve still got a few extra days leeway.

December 18, 2019

You Never Know When Something . . .

Might Happen.

Not much of a blog today because I’ve been under the weather since last night with a really bad cough, a sore throat (from the coughing), and a stuffy head. But strangely enough, no fever or runny nose. So I don’t know what it is.

First off I thought I’d post Landon’s latest project. It was to build a Gingerbread House. But never one to tow the party line, Landon built a Gingerbread . . .

Landon's Gingerbread Igloo at School


Certainly looks tasty.

You probably read about the lady in NYC who was walking down the street and was killed by piece of building façade falling on her.


When I saw the first story, it just mentioned where her office was, where she left from when she was killed. I knew from the address that it was not too far from our hotel. But it sent a shiver down my spine when this evening I saw the address of the building where she was killed.

Jan and I had walked down that very street, on that very side, Tuesday morning last morning last week, before we left for home Tuesday afternoon. We had been walking around the Times Square area doing some last-minute shopping, ending up on that street as we walked back toward our hotel.

As I’ve told Jan a number of times, you never know what’s around the next corner.

Like a guy killed inside an In-N-Out burger in Utah when a driver hit the gas instead of the brake and drove through the side of the restaurant.

Of course you could also be killed by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium.

Or closer to home, being killed when a jet engine explodes on your Southwest Airlines flight and pierces the fuselage, sucking you part way out of the plane, and killing you.

You just never know.

So don’t put off until tomorrow something you really want to do.

You may not make it until tomorrow. Or even tonight.

December 18, 2020

A Busy Week Upcoming . . .

I got word today that my Aunt Janis had passed early this morning.

Aunt Janis

She turned 90 this past August. This photo was from when we saw her in February 2019, the last time we were up in Athens.

She is loved and will be missed.

I mentioned Privacy.com the other day, the service that lets you create both one-time use credit cards, and ones that can only be used with one company and/or only for designated amounts.

Well, my first charge using a dedicated card went through yesterday with no problems. The charge, for $10.00 with MyFax, my Internet Fax Service, showed up in my bank account just like it was programmed.

I went in today and set up two more cards for CuriosityStream and YouTubeTV, two of our streaming services, so I’ve only got a couple of more to set up.

So far, so good.

Our favorite Chinese buffet, Yummy Yummy, apparently is no more. When we drove by there yesterday, not only was the “Temporarily Closed” sign on the door gone, there were “For Sale” signs all over. So I guess now that we’re left with only East Star up in Webster. It’s good, but it’s further away and more expensive.

Oh, well.

We’ve got a busy time coming up.

Sunday we’re meeting Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at the Floyd’s Cajun Seafood down here in Webster. Then they’ll take Jan back with them for a couple of days of Landon-sitting.

After I pick her up Tuesday afternoon up in Katy, they’ll all be back down here, along with Lowell’s parents, Sonja and Lindell, and maybe his sister Sherry. We’ll be getting together for our annual Christmas Eve dinner at King Food here in Webster, something we’ve been doing for over 30 years.

Of course, then on Christmas morning Jan and I will drive up to Brandi’s in Katy for Christmas dinner and presents.

After that. on New Year’s Eve, Jan and I are heading up to Fredericksburg for one night, before meeting up with the whole family at our son Chris’ over in Kingsland, finally coming on Sunday, the 3rd.

A busy time. But fun.

December 18, 2021

Well, That Was The Plan, Anyway . . .

The plan for today was to first have lunch at Snooze, then moving on over to the nearby WalMart, ending up at the Home Depot down in our area.

Well, that was the plan, anyway. But the weather had other ideas.

With a high today of 77° and a low of 49 tonight, the incoming front brought a LOT of rain with it. Though when we left home it was just spritzing, by the time we got to Snooze it was coming down hard, accompanied by a lot of thunder, lightning, and street flooding. And it never let up all the time while we were eating.

Jan got her usual Bravocado Toast with a side of crispy bacon.

Snooze Bravocado Toast 20210207

And as last time, I got the Goldilock’s Porridge.

Snooze Goldilock's Porriage

Since it was still coming down hard when we left Snooze, WalMart and Home Depot got put off until tomorrow, and we just went home.

Looks like our local location of Pho Barr is coming along. They’ve got the sign up on the building so they’re getting close. It’s going into the same spot as our late, lamented Pho 20, so it will be nice to have a nearby place without driving into Webster.

Hopefully soon.

December 18, 2022

A Mistake or Fraud?

Lunch today was at Yummy Yummy, our great local Chinese Buffet place. And it was just as good as always.

And very busy.

Then it was on up the feeder to the HEB for some stuff. Some of it for Christmas Day dishes Jan and I are going to take up to Brandi’s on Sunday, Christmas Day. And it seemed that we weren’t the only ones prepping for the big day. The place was really busy.

Next up, and last up, was a quick stop at the Santa Fe PO to pick up the latest tranche of Christmas cards, finally getting home about 3:30.

I did get a couple of other things in the mail, one was from the Social Security people letting me know how much my SS check will go up next year. On the face of it, a nice jump until I take into consideration all the increases in pretty much everything we buy. In fact I’m pretty sure if I totaled it all up, we’re still falling behind.

The other letter was from Medicare about a recent charge to my account. I figured that it would be for my recent 1 year evaluation on my Cervical Spine Fusion or the MRI/X-Rays I had last week.

But instead it was for a “Receiver (monitor), dedicated for use with therapeutic glucose continuous monitor system”. In other words, a glucose monitoring system for someone with diabetes. Which I don’t have.

And the charge came from West Lake RX LLC in San Antonio, TX, and ordered by someone named Michael O Olatunji.

Neither of whom I ever heard of.

So either this is a mistake, or deliberate fraud. Either way it’s not mine, so I’ll put a call tomorrow to the Medicare Fraud Hotline and let them know.

So far it looks like we may have dodged a bullet on the Big Arctic Freeze around here. Right now we’re looking at a low of 21° on Thursday, and 25° on Friday, with a 30° low on Saturday. So hopefully Sunday will be even warmer.

But the big help is that there’s no rain in the forecast, so no ice.

But of course, that means no snow for Christmas either.


I’m going to put in a quick call tomorrow morning to see how our Jeep rebuild is doing. Hopefully it will be ready soon.