Change of Location . . .

This is the Cray-1 Supercomputer.

In the late 70’s, it was the most powerful computer in the world.

But now, believe it or not, the iPhone 13 outperforms it by multiple factors.

Item                Units        Cray 1          iPhone 13           Factor

Weight            Ounces     176,000        6                         29,300X

Price(2022 $)  2022      $38,000,000   $1,000                 38,000X

Speed           MFLOPS     160           15,800,000           100,000X

Memory           MB            160             512,00                 60,000X

Power              kW            115             20 hours
consumption                                        LiOn Battery

Cooling                            Freon                   Air

Following on this, in 1984 when I was working on the Space Shuttle Program at JSC here in Houston, my Commodore 64 had more computing power than the computers flying on the Shuttle.

Think Moore’s Law.

Moore’s law is the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years.

This weekend Rob added these bulkheads between each RV site pad. I assume it’s to hold back the raised area of the new sites.

Since the people who had suggested Logan’s Roadhouse for our Alvin Opry group get-together won’t be coming tomorrow, we’re now going to Saltgrass Steakhouse instead.


Thought For The Day:

Something done ‘quick and dirty’ usually turns out to be not nearly as quick as you’d hoped, and much, much, much dirtier.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

January 22, 2011

Road Trip !!!!!

We left the rig about 8:40 heading to Livingston by way the Buc-ee’s on SR96. We stop there to top off the toad with fuel and Jan with breakfast kolaches. Then it was on to I-45 heading north.

We got into the Escapees RV Park outside of Livingston about 11am and quickly found the site where Dennis Hill and his wife of the RV Driving School were parked. Dennis’ RV Driving School is where Jan took her driving course a couple of years ago, and they are much recommended. I was very impressed with how good her instructor was in calming her nerves and reassuring her.

After a couple of hours catching up and comparing notes, we jumped in our truck and he gave us a tour of beautiful downtown Livingston, TX and its surrounding environs. Which took all of 15 minutes, maybe less.

Next we drove out US190 toward Lake Livingston. stopping at this boat launch along the side of the lake with a beautiful view of the lake and the bridge.

Lake Livingston

The first thing we saw was this Great Blue Heron in the bushes along side the boat slip. At first we thought there was a nest nearby, but it looks like he was just resting.

Lake Livingston Heron

A really beautiful bird.

Lake Livingston Heron2

Heading back toward Livingston, everyone agreed that it was time for supper. On the way out Jan had noticed this Mexican place called Pueblo Viejo, that even in the middle of the afternoon was pretty busy. We checked on my Droid and said it had 4 stars, so we decided to give it a try.

Pueblo Viejo

And the Yelp rating was dead on. It was really good. Great chips, a really hot salsa, and good food.

And even better company and conversation. We ended up sitting and talking for almost two hours before finally heading back to the RV park.

After talking over routes and schedules for the next month until we meet in Yuma, and we finally said our goodbyes and headed out about 7:15pm.

We got home about 9:15 after a great visit with good friends, and topped off the day with coffee and more delicious cinnamon rolls.

What a fitting end to a terrific day.

January 22, 2012

Buzzers and Tabasco . . .

It’s sunny tomorrow morning, but the rain is due in tomorrow afternoon, and then rain all next week.

But on Saturday, it’s sunny again. Funny how that works out.

Nick's Weather

But rain or no rain, we’re really looking forward to the few days.

Jan and I are big fans of dragons, and I recently found these two neat pictures on the Internet and wanted to share them.

Dragon 2

Tabasco Dragon

I really like the Tabasco baby bottle. The way I like spicy hot food, I wonder if I had one of these.

On another note, the turn signal indicator on the rig does not make enough noise for me to hear it. Jan can hear it from the passenger seat, but due to too much gun accompanying gunfire, and and playing in loud rock bands, I can’t.

So today as I was going through one of the bins, I came across a little 12vdc buzzer unit and decided to fix the problem.

I removed the flasher unit (that’s the red box) from under the dashboard panel and made up a couple of spade lug jumpers. crimping the buzzer leads into the jumpers.

Buzzer 1

I then Gorilla Taped the buzzer (that’s the little black unit) to the side of the flasher unit.

Here’s another shot of the leads.

Buzzer 2

I then plugged the jumpers into the flasher socket and checked it out. Loud and Clear!

While I’m on a roll, I also want to do one as a ‘headlights on’ alarm. I’ve got the diodes, but I’ll have to look and see if I have another buzzer. If not, they’re only a couple of bucks.

Other than this, it was a pretty quiet day. Jan cleaned (company’s coming) and I worked on some projects outside. For lunch Jan heated up some delicious leftover Mexican. I think it was almost better than originally.

Then around 5pm, I headed over to my client’s office to do some stuff that’s easier done when no one’s on the network.

January 22, 2013

Bird Blind . . .

Once again, after walking a little over a mile around the park, we sat outside and enjoyed our coffee and the view.

Galveston Bay View Site 80

Here’s Pinkie, our resident Roseate Spoonbill, along with some of the Ibises.

Pinkie and the Ibises

And here’s Old Blue, the Great Blue Heron that hangs out around here.

Giant Blue Heron and Pinkie

But after goofing off all morning, it was back to work. Today was the day to take a crack at restringing my blinds.

As it turns out, it’s not really hard, just kind of time-consuming. Here I’ve laid out the 4 parts in the order that they will be assembled.

Blind Repair 2

My first task was to measure out the two sets of strings I’ll be using.

The formula is:   Width + 1/2 Width + Height x 2 = length of string needed. Since this is a 4 string blind, two sets will be needed.

Blind Repair 3

When I first took my blind apart I discovered it used two springs instead of just one like most stringing diagrams I had found.

But a little more research yielded this diagram.

Blind String Pattern

Next I took each string, folded it in half, and then looped it through each spring.

Blind Repair 4

Then using a stiff piece of wire as a needle, I threaded one string through the folded over ‘eye’ and taped it over.

Blind Repair 5

Then following the diagram, I started threading the cord through the ‘night’ section of the blind.

Blind Repair 6

Then I did the same thing with the lower ‘day’ section.

Blind Repair 7

Here’s the blind laid out and completely strung.

Blind Repair 8

Then all I had to do was slide the pieces together, and put the endcaps on. But since it was getting late, I decided to wait until tomorrow to rehang it.

Blind Repair 9

While I was working on the blinds, Jan was removing everything from one of our slide pantries, so I could repair several of the shelves that had broken due to too much weight.

Jan also used this chance to go through the contents and throw away anything with expired dates.

Pantry 1

A little judicious repair with some heavy-duty zip ties fixed things up.

Pantry 2

About 5:30 Jan and I headed up to Webster for dinner and some shopping. Dinner was Chili’s, and the shopping was Sam’s Club for prescriptions and Kroger’s for some groceries, and then it was home for the night.

January 22, 2014

Girls with Guns . . .

Jan and I started out this morning with a 1 mile walk around the park before enjoying our coffee and muffins sitting outside. And enjoying it while we can, because tomorrow the weather gets pretty crappy for the next several days.

We’re looking at several days of rain, with a HIGH of 37 on Friday.  BRR!

I want my Global Warming, and I want it NOW!   Excess body heat only goes so far.

About noon I headed out to a couple of clients, and looking for a couple of new computers for other clients. And by the time I’d taken care of everything and gotten back to the rig, it was about 5:30.  And my beautiful wife had dinner ready.

Saw an article online about ‘Machine Gun Tourism’. For some reason when I first saw the title I thought it said “Machine Gun Terrorism”, which kind of made sense.

But then I figured out what they were talking about. Renting out machine guns for tourists to try their hand. And when we were in Las Vegas in 2010, Jan did her part to keep tourism alive.

And this was at “The Gun Store” location mentioned in the article. She’s firing her new favorite toy, a Thompson Submachine Gun.

Jan And Her Thompson 1

Jan And Her Thompson 2

And apparently it runs in the family, because here’s our granddaughter Piper in Houston, firing a Smith & Wesson 500 .50 cal. revolver, considered the most powerful handgun in the world.

Piper's First Gun

I’ve shot one of these a couple of times and they’re a handful.  Piper said she enjoyed the feeling of power it gave her.

Also according to the article, you can now fire one of these at “The Gun Store”.M249

This is a belt-fed M249 Light Machine Gun, and want one.

Just the thing for those pesky squirrels.

January 22, 2015

Sticker Free . . .

Well, it started raining last night and has continued to rain most of the day. In fact they issued flood warnings for the area, maybe even as much as 2 to 4 inches overnight. Tomorrow is forecast to be about the same, but starting Saturday, it’s supposed to clear up for a few days at least

One thing nice about being here at Lake Conroe is no more stickers. Or as we used to call them on the Gulf, sandspurs. Whatever you called them, they hurt like hell when you step on one. They come in the rig on your shoes, socks, and even your pant legs.

And we found out they also come in on Mister. So we have to frisk him after he’s been outside. Otherwise they fall off his fur and then snuggle down in the rugs, lying in wait like little landmines, just waiting for a bare foot.

Even worse, often when you pull them out of your foot, you get a spine broken off in your finger that’s so small that you can’t pull it out, but you will feel it every time you touch something.

About 4pm, Jan was jonsing for Cracker Barrel’s Thursday Turkey and Dressing, so much so that we ignored the pouring rain, and headed down the Interstate to the CB for dinner. One thing we both like there is that they have real dressing (cornbread dressing, the only REAL dressing) and REAL cornbread muffins (you know, the ones made with only cornmeal and not half-flour, and not so much sugar that they taste like cake.). It’s always good, and tonight was no exception. Delicious.

And even better for me, we got out of there with no extraneous gift shop purchases.

Leaving the restaurant, we had planned to make a Wal-Mart stop for a few things, but the weather was, as Jan described it, “just too yucky.” So we just headed home for the night.

January 22, 2016

RunPee and Flixster Too . . .

We walked our walk this morning, but stopped after the first 1.01 mile loop, because it was just too COLD. Although it was sunny, it was 44 degrees and windy when we headed out, and it didn’t get any warmer along the way.  But we made up for a short walk a little later.

About 2pm Jan and I headed out for some shopping, but our first stop was here in the park. Jan’s Mary Kay lady is parked over in the ‘D’ section and we stopped off so Jan could pick up some makeup she’d ordered and catch up. Then it was off to Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart

On the way over, Jan suggested that we use Runkeeper to track our walking around the stores. I kind of figured that the GPS wouldn’t work inside the big steel buildings like that, but I was wrong.

Yeah, yeah, I am wrong once in a while.

Anyway, it worked. I turned it on when we left the truck at Sam’s and then off when we got back to the truck and drove next door to Wal-Mart. Then on and off at the truck there too.

And this is what we got.


We actually walked further shopping than we did this morning. So I may try this again.

Since we often see movies around the country as we travel, we have 3 phone apps that we use to help us out.

The first one is Flixster, Flixster_thumb[7]which lets you see all the theaters in an area and how far they are away from your location. Then you can see all the movies being shown at a certain theater, and the times the movie is being shown. And you can even buy tickets online for the show.

And sometimes even more useful, you can start with the movie you want to see, and Flixster will tell you what local theaters it’s showing in.

The next movie app is Silent Mode Timer Free. Silent Timer Free_thumb[5]Ever go to a movie, put your phone on mute and then forget about it until hours later, missing incoming calls? Well, Silent Mode is the perfect app for that.

All you do is open the app, and set the time. You can either set the elapsed time for Silent Timer to mute the phone, i.e. if the movie is 2 hours and 15 minutes long, I would set the timer for 2 hours and 45 minutes to allow for previews and credits. Then just click the Set Timer button.

Or you can just set the actual time you want your phone to turn back on. Easy to use, and it’s free.

Last up is a favorite app of ours that I’ve talked about before called RunPee. RunPee_thumb[2]Just look up the movie you’re going to see and the app tells you the best 2 or 3 times to . . . wait for it . . . Run Pee.

Not only does the app tell you the times, it also tells you how long your window of opportunity is, what’s happening while you’re gone, and gives the ‘trigger phrase’ for when to leave. Or you can use the app’s timer that vibrates at 2 minutes before, 1 minute before, and then at the actual time. In addition, RunPee also gives you a synopsis of the first few minutes of the movie in case you’re running late.

It’s actually very funny to be sitting in a crowded theater, feel your phone vibrate, and see 4 or 5 people jump up and head out.  Sometimes I just want to yell out as everyone heads to the exit, “Run Pee!”

But one of our favorite parts is that the app also tells you if there’s anything after the credits. A lot of movies, especially Sci-Fi ones like we like, give you a taste of the next movie in the series after the credits. And many times, comedies will do outtakes, also.

But it’s really disappointing to sit through10 minutes of credits, and then . . . NOTHING. Especially when you probably should have taken that last RunPee opportunity.

BTW there was nothing after yesterday’s Star Wars.

January 22, 2017

Too Long A Day . . .

Not enough time to sleep.

More blog tomorrow. But here’s something to hold you.

Dawn on the Frack

DAwn On The Frack

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.

January 22, 2018

Sometimes Cheaper Is Better . . .

What work I got done today was done around the remodeling that’s being done in the office. So there are pieces of sheetrock and sheetrock dust everywhere. A real mess.

Coming home this afternoon, I picked up a call-ahead order from the El Pollo Loco in Webster that’s right on the way home. Unfortunately this will probably be the last time I’ll be able to do that, since there was a sign on the door saying that they were closing permanently on Thursday, Jan 25th.

It’s never very busy so I guess it just didn’t make it. That does still leaves the one in Victory Lakes that’s actually closer to home, but it’s a real pain in the rear to get to, where it’s located in the shopping center. But I guess we’ll have to now.

Jan and I don’t consider ourselves ‘coffee connoisseurs’, but we do know what we like. In the past we’ve really liked Kroger’s house brand, Private Selection, which runs about $6.99 per 12 oz. bag (remember when coffee actually came in 16 oz. bags.)

But recently while I was at Wal-Mart, and knowing that we were low on coffee, I decided to take a chance on a couple of bags of their Great Value house brand. And at only $3.99 a bag. And we like it better.

It smells better when it’s brewing, more coffee-like. And it has a much richer coffee taste too.

Sometimes cheaper Is better.

Looks like tomorrow will be nice enough, not really warm, but not raining and/or cool, either, to put up the other new bedroom awning. But we’ll see how it goes.

Jan and I had started planning on our next RV trip, coming up toward the end of June, when we’ll head up to Vandalia, IL for another big family reunion with Jan’s sister, Debbie and her family. And it looks like Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper, and Brandi, Lowell, and Master Landon will be there too.

Then coming home we’ll detour a little east and come back down through north Alabama to visit with my relatives for a few days.

While I was working on the websites last week, Jan and I were watching a Cash Cab marathon on GSN (Game Show Network). If you haven’t seen it, passengers hail a New York cab, only to find that they’re on a mobile TV game show.

As they travel to their destination, they’re asked questions of increasing difficulty and prize amounts. Along the way they get two Shout Outs, one mobile and one street-side. With the mobile shout-out, they can call a friend to get help with an answer. With the Street Shout Out, the cab pulls over and they can ask a random person on the street for help.

If they miss a question, it’s a strike, and with three strikes they out. As in out of the cab. They’re tossed out on the street, hopefully not in a bad neighborhood. If they make it to their destination without striking out, they can take the money they’ve won and walk away, or they get a chance to play Double or Nothing..

Like pretty much all ‘reality’ shows there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t see. Only about half of the contestants are actually random passengers on the street. For the other half , they’re recruited elsewhere to be on an unnamed game show and they get in the cab thinking it’s going to take them to the game show location, and then find out that the cab IS the game show.

When the random riders from the street get in the cab, they spend about 10 minutes with a production assistant who’s riding in the front passenger seat, signing waivers, learning the rules, etc., before the ride/game actually starts.

If they win money, they’re shown leaving the cab with the cash in their hands, but they don’t get to keep those bills. The production assistant takes the cash back from them, and then they get a check in the mail with the taxes taken out.

Finally, the biggest winner on the show won $6200, while most winners are in the $500 – $1500 range.

It’s a fun show. Check it out.

Tomorrow afternoon we’ve got a get-together with RV friends Jan and Dale, once again at Cheddar’s.

January 22, 2019

Four Hours Later . . .

And I don’t know any more than I did to start with.

Today was my one-month later eye doctor appointment after my initial maybe-diagnosis of Fuch’s Dystrophy in my left eye.

This all started last year when I had to get new glasses and an eye test to renew my South Dakota driver’s license. The Sam’s Club optometrist said I had a cataract. But when I went to Jan’s cataract guy, he said I had a tiny one, but that wasn’t what was causing my vision problems, i.e., my left eye won’t correct to better than 20/100. But he said he was a ‘retina’ guy, and I really should see the practice’s ‘cornea’ guy.

So when I saw him he ran a bunch of baseline tests and sent me home with a couple of drops to be applied 4 times daily. So today was the follow up.

And after a four hour wait, nothing’s really changed.  So he went over several possible remedies (two different types of surgery) different (more expensive) drops, or my favorite, leave it alone and check back in 6 months.

He said that there’s no harm, and it will give us a longer baseline to look for any changes.

So, as I said, after 4 hours of waiting, 2:30 to 6:30, I’m just as in the dark as before.

Coming home, we stopped at the Cheddar’s in Webster for dinner before getting home a little before 8pm.

A nice, though non-productive day.

January 22, 2020

Some Sad News . . .

I spent most of the evening trying to set things up so I can reluctantly upgrade my desktop computer from rock-stable Win7 to Win10.

I’m doing a complete system image (iso) of the hard drive first before I install Win10 on top of it. I would actually prefer to do a clean install but I’ve got a couple of older programs that I use regularly and can’t find the CD’s for.

But with the ISO file I can just reinstall the image and I’m back where I started. In the meantime I’ll keep looking for the missing CD’s.

Although it rained pretty much all day today, tomorrow’s supposed to be a little nicer. So I’m going to do some prep work for our upcoming oil leak test drive this coming Sunday.

Some Sad News.

I got a text message from one of my cousins this evening saying that my uncle Tom Calvin had died this morning.

He was 93, and he and my Aunt Lenette had been married for 70 years. He’s the last of my mother’s brothers, and the last of my direct relatives on my mother’s or my father’s side.

Tom and Lenette Calvin

But Tom’s real claim to fame is in the football world, both as one of the oldest living NFL players, and his coaching abilities in the state of Alabama, where he is known as the Winningest Coach in Alabama History.

After playing for the University of Alabama where he led the Crimson Tide in rushing and played in the 1948 Sugar Bowl, he played 4 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1952 to 1955. He was actually drafted for the 1951 season, but turned it down because he didn’t think the money was enough, so he took a job as a high school coach. But the next year, Art Rooney, the team owner, personally wooed him back to the Steelers with a bigger contract.

Tom even had his own Wikipedia page.

Not to be outdone, my Aunt Lenette was an Olympic-level gymnastics coach and worked with Bela Karolyi and other well-known coaches at several Olympics, including Japan in 1998 and others.

I had hoped to see him when we’re up in Alabama next month. He will be missed.

January 22, 2021

Another Sad Day . . .

Jan and I both got bad news today.

I found out that my cousin Marjorie’s husband, Dr. Walter Walker, died yesterday.

Margie and Walter 2020

He was 91 and in good health until recently. But he collapsed a couple of days ago and couldn’t get up. And when they took him to the hospital, they found he had advanced bone cancer.

We had just seen them last February when we visited them up in Athens, AL. So glad we got to see him then.

He will be missed by many.

And Jan found out today that her cousin Rhonda died a couple of days ago up in Tennessee. We don’t yet know what she died from, but it sounds like she had been ill for some time. She was only 66 years old.

And of course, I lost two of my aunts a day apart back in December. And this year isn’t off to a good start.

January 22, 2022

Our ‘Parked’ Model . . .

For the first time in over a year, we had lunch at Whataburger and it was as delicious as we remembered. Our first burgers in a good while.

We need to not wait so long again.

After that Jan got her hair cut, and then we made an HEB stop right next door for a few things before heading home.

We’ve had a real cold snap for the last week or so, with some highs in the 40’s and lows in the 30’s, though today it did make up to the low 50’s. And the cold weather looks to continue for at least the next week.

A number of our readers have wondered about what happening with our rig’s oil leak repairs.

Well, not much. In fact we’ve pretty much decided that our rig is now a ‘Parked’ Model. Note not a ‘Park’ Model, but a ‘Parked’ one.

Our rig will be 23 years old this coming March, with almost 200,000 miles on it. It’s been a real workhorse, and has taken us on a lot of fantastic adventures. But it’s time to put this workhorse out to pasture.

The last time we traveled in it was March 2019 right before our month in Europe when we made the trip up to Kingsland for another family get-together.

But in running the numbers, it just doesn’t make sense to put any more time or money into a 23 year old rig.

As far as the oil leak, the oil cooler itself is the next likely culprit. It’s pretty much the only thing left. And replacement estimates from repair shops run in the $3000-$3500 range.

In addition the rig’s tires are now 7 years old, so at the end of their lifespan. So another $3000-$3500 for new tires.

That means we’re looking at $6000-$7000 to get it back on the road.

Now it may be that when my back improves some more, I’ll replace the oil filter and adapter again so that it will at least run, but it’s very up in the air.

We’ve been here for over 4 years now, and see no reason to move anywhere else.

We pay $430 a month, which includes water and really good WiFi, and electricity runs us between $75 and $120 depending on the time of the year. So at the highest, we certainly can’t get an apartment for $550 a month.

So we’re here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

Jan's Patio Area Completed 2

A really nice place to call home.

January 22, 2023

Real Cornbread . . .

Lunch today was at Black Bear Diner, a place we haven’t eaten at in a while, but it’s back on our list now.

Jan started out with a House Salad as one of her 3 sides,

Black Bear Salad 20230122

and then finished up with the Roast Turkey

Black Bear Roast Turkey 20230122

and double Broccoli.

I went the breakfast route with the Meat Lover’s Omelet

Black Bear Meat Lover's Omelet 20230122

along with Grits and Fruit.

Everything was great, except for the ‘Cornbread’ Muffin.

I’ve finally decided that no one out here in Texas knows how to make ‘real’ cornbread.

It doesn’t have flour in it, and it’s not supposed to be sweet.

Pretty much every time I’ve had Cornbread since we moved out here from Alabama, it’s been Corn Cake, not Cornbread.

It has so much flour in it it has the consistency of cake, and it’s sweet.

I’ve even found flour in bags of ‘Corn Meal’ at the grocery store, so read the labels carefully.

If you want a recipe for REAL Cornbread, try this one from my Grandmother Clara.

Grandmother Clara Calvin

REAL Cornbread

2 cups Coarse Ground Yellow Cornmeal
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar (Just enough so it will brown nicely)
1/2 cup Powdered Milk
Add water (about 1-3/4 cups) until thick liquid consistency
Beat in 1 Egg
Bake (preferably in a cast iron skillet) in 450° oven until set.
Turn on the Broiler, watching carefully, until the top is dark brown.

Check it out.

Jan’s been going through some old photos and she came across this one of our daughter Brandi on my mother’s deck at her house in Birmingham. Probably about 1976 or so.


A real cutie, then and now.