She Squeezed Us In . . .

As I said yesterday, today was a nice stay at the rig day for us. I took care of a couple of things on the chore list, including killing some weeds around the site and bringing in a couple of rolls of paper towels from our storage shed.

Jan spend some time making all our upcoming doctor’s appointments for this year. Because of Medicare, we have to make all appointments one year plus at least one day later each year. That’s why originally we had our appointments in February, and now we’re pushed back until sometime in April, in this case, after April 6th this year.

I figure in a few more we’ll booking our doctors in December.

Last night, after I posted the blog about visiting Longneck Manor while we’re up in Fredericksburg next month, I decided to go online and actually book our tour. And I ran into a problem.

The only tour still available was the 2pm one Friday afternoon AND there was only 1 spot left available. So what was Jan going to do while I took the tour?

Yeah, right!

So I thought I’d give them a call this morning and see if they could squeeze both of us in. I mean I doubt they’re going to get a single person to sign up for the one remaining spot of the tour. And about 5 minutes after I called, Monica had me set up and I had a confirmation email.

So we’re good to go.

Then later in the afternoon I sent a text to Juana, our favorite Texas Huddle server, to see if she was working somewhere else since Huddle got closed down by the State of Texas.

Turns out that she hadn’t gone anywhere else yet, because the crew had been told that they would reopen soon. Of course they said the same thing last time when they were locked out due to non-payment of rent. They were telling everyone it was an A/C problem, despite the sign and the big padlock on the door. And they were closed almost 3 months.

I also put in a call to Joe, my mechanic to look at my struts/shocks situation on my Jeep. Hopefully I can get them done before our March trip.

Shrinkflation hits home again.

A couple of times a week, Jan and I have Whipped Cream with our morning coffee. And Karma demands a big squirt too.

Up until a couple of months ago, we could all have a couple of squirts and a generous dollop with our coffee. And then the next day we could have a smaller dollop again with our coffee.

But no more.

Now we pretty much just have the first day’s amount, and maybe an extra squirt for Karma, and that’s it.


Thought For The Day:

The First Rule Of Government:

Someone, somewhere out there is having fun. It must be stopped.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

February 20, 2010

Plans in Jell-O…

Well, as usual, we found our plans written in Jell-O.

We had planned to leave here in San Marcos this past Friday, but now we won’t be leaving until tomorrow, Sunday. It took longer than I figured to get all of Gina’s new stuff set up, including a new computer, and her Raccoon Cam that lets her watch the raccoons on her back porch that she feeds every night.

It’s pretty neat. It has remote pan and tilt, and night vision that really works.

But it’s all working OK now, so tomorrow we will head west to Balmorhea, TX to spend the night before arriving in Las Cruces, NM  on Monday night for a couple of days.

Then it’s on to Tucson, Gila Bend, and Yuma.

February 20, 2011

The Best Shrimp Burrito in the World . . .

is found at Sofia’s Mexican Food in Gila Bend, AZ, at least according to Jan.

But more about that later.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday in talking about getting diesel, is that we traveled 889 miles on the 102.7 gallons we used. This means we got almost 8.7 mpg, showing that driving 55 really saves $$. And there were a lot of hills in these miles, so that makes it even better.

Our site at the Pima County Fairgrounds only had 30 amp, but this time of the year that’s not a problem. However I would definitely want 50 amp in warmer weather.PimaCountyFairgrounds

The view to the south this morning was really nice, with the low clouds hanging on the mountainside. We’re supposed to run into rain on our trip today. Hopefully not too bad, though.


We pulled out of the fairgrounds a little before 8:30 heading for Gila Bend, AZ, about 138 miles away. We wanted to get to Holt’s Shell RV Park as early as possible since they only have 24 sites and can fill up quickly, especially since they’re a Passport America park, and the best deal in town. Last year we just lucked out and got the last site.

Traffic through Tucson wasn’t bad at all, probably helped by the fact that it was a Sunday morning. I remember a few years ago when they were redoing the Interstate through downtown, and you had to get off and on I-10 several times getting through town. It was really a mess, but today we breezed through at 55 all the way.

About 9 we were passing the Cortaro area and the Cracker Barrel where we spent the night in March 2007 while we were on our first RV trip in a rental Cruise America Class C.

Class C

We had attended the Life On Wheels seminar in Tucson, and before we headed back toward Houston, we wanted to see the Body Worlds exhibit in Phoenix, since we had missed it when it was in Houston.

Body Worlds Body

We really enjoyed the show and were on our way back out of Phoenix by 5pm.

Unfortunately it was all downhill from there! We had planned to drive from Phoenix thru Tucson and back to Las Cruces on our way home. I figured it would take us about 7 hours and we would be back in Las Cruces about midnight, and in fact, already had a paid reservation at a KOA there right off I-10.

But it was not to be.

Unfortunately, due to construction, Phoenix had decided to take the 6 lanes of I-10 and 4 lanes of I-17 down to TWO lanes…DURING RUSH HOUR!!!

It took us two hours to cover the distance that took us less than 10 minutes coming in.

Finally, about 7pm, we were out of the traffic and moving down I-10 toward Tucson.

Life was good.  Yeah, right.

We suddenly started seeing traffic warnings on the overhead electronic signs.

“Freeway Closed 85 miles ahead. Expect Long Delays.”

“Freeway Closed 65 miles ahead. Expect Even Longer Delays.”

“Freeway Closed 45 miles ahead. Expect Enormous Delays.”

Well, maybe if we had really seen the last two we would have paid more attention.

After checking the computer we saw that a Flying J truck stop where we had planned to stop and refuel, was about 10 miles before this, so we decided to press on.

Asking at the Flying J, Jan was told that a car had collided with a gas tanker and they had both blown up. We were also told that they were rerouting traffic around the accident and there was only about a 30 minute delay.

And we fell for it!

Almost 5 hours later we rolled back into the outskirts of Tucson. It was now after midnight.

We had gotten up at 6am and I was dead tired. Jan had been asleep on the couch since about 9pm. It had taken us over 7 hours to cover what had taken us less than 2 going up.

At the next exit, I saw a sign for a Cracker Barrel and pulled off. Cracker Barrel is one of many companies that encourages/allows RV’ers to park in their lots. They even have large spaces striped out for them.

When I went back and crawled into bed (I left Jan asleep on the sofa) I was the only RV in the lot. When I woke up about 3:30am and decided to get back on the road, I looked out and saw there were now 7 other coaches lined up beside me. Guess I wasn’t the only one looking for a place to sleep.

Anyway, back to the present, a little while later we passed Picacho Peak and the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch, an attraction we first visited in 2008 on our way to Alaska.


They have more than just ostriches. They also have deer, miniature Sicilian donkeys, Boer goats, and Rainbow Lorikeets.

Roosters 1

Rainbow Lorikeets are, despite the name, actually parrots, found mostly in Australia and New Zealand. And they are very friendly.

At one point Jan was covered in Lorikeets, feeding them the little cups of nectar.

Roosters 2

Me, however, not so much. I don’t what it was, but I only got one.

Roosters 3

These Lorikeets certainly live up to their ‘rainbow’ name.

Roosters 4

About 20 miles later we got off I-10 and onto I-8W on the last 65 mile leg heading toward Gila Bend.

About 20 miles out we ran into heavy rain, leading me to dread having to park and set up in a downpour. However, by the time we got to the RV Park, the rain had cleared and the sun was out.

We pulled into the park a little after 11am and found plenty of sites to choose from. After getting parked and set up, Jan fixed sandwiches and chips for lunch, and then we just relaxed for a while.

So relaxed in fact, that a nap was in order. And a very nice one it was, too.

We’ve stayed here 3 or 4 times and it’s always been a nice little park, and cheap too, since it’s Passport America at $12 a night.

Gila Bend RV Park

And the views are pretty good, too.

Gila Bend RV Park View

Along with this great sunset we saw here in 2008.

Gila Bend Sunset

A little after 4pm Jan and I drove into beautiful downtown Gila Bend to eat supper at Sofia’s Mexican Food. We discovered this place in 2008 and always eat here when we have the chance. It’s one of those little hole-in-the-wall places that often turn out to be great.

And Sofia’s is one of those.

Sofia's 2

Jan says this is the best Shrimp Burrito in the world. And she’s had them all over the country. The thing is just stuffed with large shrimp, along with a little rice and some chopped tomatoes.

Sofia Shrimp Burrito

I had the Carnitas Dinner with well-seasoned shredded pork and all the fixin’s. And their chips and salsa are really good too, with a very spicy red sauce. Very, very good.

Sofia Carnita Dinner

After supper we drove around a bit and then checked out the location of the Elk’s Lodge that I’m going to join next month.

We got home a little before 6, just in time for Jan’s primetime viewing pleasure, the premier of Amazing Race, and a new Desperate Housewives. A twofer for her!

Tomorrow, if the weather holds, I’ll start removing the two front chairs to finish removing the last of the carpet so I can get started putting down the Allure laminate.

February 20, 2012

Fed Deer and Sleepy Cats . . .

After coffee and muffins this morning, Jan finally got to use some of her deer corn.

Lake Pointe Deer 4

With all the rain we had while we’ve been here, it’s the first chance she’s had.

As usual we had a great time visiting Gina and look forward to seeing her again soon, hopefully in June when we’re back here for our granddaughter Piper’s high school graduation.

We headed out about 9 am, earlier than we normally like, but we’ve got a 375 mile trip today so we wanted to get an early start. It’s certainly a lot easier to get ready to travel after you’ve been parked 4 days, than when you’ve been parked 3 months like last week.

About 3 hours later, passing through Junction, TX, we stopped off to eat at Isaak’s Café, about a mile south of I-10.

On Texas Monthly’s list of Best Texas Café’s, we first ate here last year and really liked it. The only problem was that the out-of-business store whose lot we parked in last year, is now a Dollar General. So we park on a side street in a church parking lot. No tickets when we got back, so all was good.

Getting back on the Interstate, Jan wanted to drive, so she took the wheel while Mister and I napped.

Mister on Dash 2

He looks entirely too comfortable up there.

We both fought headwinds the entire way which meant the gas mileage sucked. But we finally got into Saddleback Mountain RV Park at the Balmorhea exit about 5:30 and got set up.

Saddleback Mtn RV 2

This is a really nice little park. $10 a night with Passport America for 50 amp full-hookups. They’re all long pull-thru’s so you don’t even have to unhitch, not that there’s anywhere to go out here in the middle of nowhere.

You just stop at the office, pay your $10, and pick a spot. The sites aren’t even numbered. They had 22 rigs by dark, the most I’ve ever seen, and I heard more coming in later.

For dinner Jan heated our leftovers from Salt Lick last night, and they were just as good as tonight.

Tomorrow we only have about 240 miles to Las Cruces, and we’ll gain an hour going into Mountain Time so we don’t have to leave quite as early as today.

February 20, 2013

Oh Dark Thirty . . .

Well, it looked like Oh Dark Thirty, but it was actually about 8:30. But the day was so dark and dreary when I got up this morning that it looked like it was about 6. And it stayed that way all day.

But at least getting to spend some time with our friend Gina made up for it. We got over to her house about 9:30 so Jan could spend the day with her while I ran some errands for her and Jan.

My first stop was at the feed store over in Sattler to get some deer corn so Jan can fatten up the many deer here at the RV park. At least I thought I was going to get corn. But someone suggested that instead of corn, I should get Creep Feed since it had a lot more protein and was better for them. And even better, it was $2 cheaper for a 50# bag.

Creep Feed is used to feed nursing calves to help transition them to solid food, and is made up of food pellets about a half inch in diameter and an inch long.

My next stop was at the PetSmart over in New Braunfels. I was looking for an aquarium air pump valve for Gina’s Oxygen Concentrator. She wanted to be able to run one line into her bedroom and another one into the living room, rather than dragging portable tanks back and forth.

When she asked the oxygen company about doing that, they said they didn’t know any way to do it. But in looking it over, the tubing was the same size as used on aquariums so I thought I might try a valve like this.

Aquarium Valve

It’s all stainless steel with no rubber or gaskets to contaminate the oxygen flow.

Next up was a stop at Home Depot for a few things for the rig, and then after a quick stop at Buc-ee’s for a coffee/cappuccino, I headed back to Gina’s

I spent a while getting the air system set up and it looks like it’s going to work fine. I will have to increase the concentrator’s output a little to offset the longer length of the living room line, but that should be no problem.

About 6pm we all headed over to the Cypress Creek Café in Wimberley, one of our favorite local eating establishments.

Cypress Creek Cafe

The food is always delicious, and it didn’t disappoint this time either. And we had such a great time talking that we didn’t get home until almost 8:30. But it was certainly worth it.

February 20, 2014

Winding Down . . .

Jan and I headed out a little after 10:30 for another ‘last meal’, this one at Twin Peaks, our new favorite restaurant. Our regular waitress,

Twin Peaks 4

Lauren, took her usual great care of us, and we got a chance to talk and learn more about her.

One thing I was disappointed to learn about was the upcoming menu changes at Twin Peaks, because my favorite Average Joes are going away. They are mini Jalapeno Sausage Dogs with spicy mustard and jalapeno/onion relish. Really good.

Twin Peaks Average Joes

An order of Average Joes and a cup of their Venison Chili are my go-to meal whenever we go there. Guess I’ll have to find something else when we go back. Of course I  may find something I like just as well on the new menu.

Leaving Twin Peaks we stopped off at a local carpet store to check out carpet samples for an upcoming bedroom carpet replacement project, but they didn’t have what we were looking for. We’ll try again somewhere else.

Next, after dropping a letter in the mail, Jan and I headed over to Friendswood to visit a friend and take a look at the intermittent audio problem with her entertainment center.

Leaving Connie’s, our next stops were Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club for a few things, and then after quick stops at a client’s and a hardware store, we headed back toward home. Getting back to the Dickinson area, we realized that it was after 5, and we were getting hungry, especially since we had eaten lunch at 11, so we headed over to Monterey’s Little Mexico for some of their great Tortilla Soup, and Chips and Salsa.

Back to the park, I stopped off at the park office to pick up my external HD enclosure that had come in from Amazon. At the rig, after putting stuff away, I pulled the HD from the client’s computer that I mentioned yesterday and installed it in the new case.

Finishing it up, I plugged it into my computer and confirmed that it was readable as an external drive, so it goes back to the client tomorrow, as well as a rescued laptop for one client,  and a new video cable for yet another.

Tomorrow, besides delivering stuff to clients, I’ve got a lot of small chores around the rig that I need to finish up before we leave here on Monday. Then we’ve got a dinner date with some more friends tomorrow night.

Another busy day.

February 20, 2015

Rut Roh . . .

Jan and I left the rig about 10am, but were hindered by the high winds. So high in fact, that it was a real struggle that get the rig door open, and keep it open, while we were trying to get out. The winds today, as the next front comes through, are really something fierce.

We were heading up to the Clear Lake area for Jan’s oncologist’s appointment. This was just a routine one, for a checkup and prescription refill. Waiting for Jan, I did enjoy the fact that the clinic had superfast Wi-Fi, about 60 Mbps. Makes the waiting a little easier.

Leaving the clinic a little before noon, we drove over to the Jason’s Deli in Webster for lunch. Jan usually goes for their Broccoli and Cheese Soup, and I always have the Southwest Chicken Chili, and then we’ll try one of their many sandwiches. Always good.

Coming home I made a stop at Lowe’s for a few things and then we fought the winds back to the rig. When we got here, the winds were gusting to over 50 mph. In fact we found our satellite had blown over and rolled down the driveway.

The last time our satellite was knocked over was on our gate last year, and cows were involved.

I tried to work outside, but the wind was so high it was difficult to stand up, much less get anything done. So I took a nap.

Getting up and finding the wind had slackened off somewhat, I went outside to check out the installation of the new headlights on our truck. My shop manual said four screws should do it.

Truck Old Headlight

One Torx head bolt removes the amber lens set at the bottom and then three bolts hold the headlight unit itself. But sometimes the manual lies, so I wanted to check it out. But as I got the bottom lens off, it started to rain, so I stopped there. I was able to confirm that the top unit is held on by the three bolts. But that will have to wait until tomorrow.

New Headlights 2

The new unit is only one piece, and held on by just the three bolts, so it should be an easy change-out.

On another note, I ordered something from Amazon this evening and found that Amazon Prime just got better. They now offer Free Two Day Shipping with SUNDAY delivery. At least here in the Houston area. Prime just keeps getting better.

Finally, under the ‘Rut Roh’ heading, the weather forecast says that it’s supposed to be windy, cold, and rainy from now until we leave here March 1st.

Just great.

February 20, 2016

Parts is Parts . . .

We did our walk this morning, at least the first part of it anyway, for a distance of 1.13 miles, just making a complete loop of the park. We’ll try to walk again tomorrow since it’s showing 80% chance of rain on Monday, 100% for Tuesday, and then Wednesday morning we’re back down in the Clear Lake area for our yearly checkups. So after tomorrow, Thursday might be our next shot at a walk.

After our walk, we sat outside for a while with our coffee and some of the great pumpkin muffins that Sherry gave us at lunch yesterday. Really, really good, and Jan wants the recipe. Even though it was in the 70’s, it was pretty overcast so it was still comfortable.

Later in the afternoon, I was back on pump repair. I wanted to try to completely disassemble it and see if I could figure out what was wrong with it. But before that, I hooked the pump motor up to 120vac to see if it would even run.

And it did, but very slowly, with a lot of straining. So it was obvious that there was a lot of drag on the shaft from somewhere. My first thought was bearings, but you never know..

So I started out with this.

Pump Disassembly 1_thumb[1]

As I figured the fan was just pressed on the shaft so I used a small gear puller to get it off. Then removing the two screws let me start to remove the motor shaft.

Pump Disassembly 2_thumb[1]

So I kept at it, pulling pieces off,

Pump Disassembly 3_thumb[1]

until I finally ended up here, with a big pile of parts. As they say, parts is parts. Hopefully I can get it all back together.

Pump Disassembly 5_thumb[1]

There are no roller or ball bearings, just brass sleeves, and they all looked clean and smooth, as did the shaft, so that wasn’t the problem.

But when I inserted the rotor – shown below

Pump Rotor_thumb[3]

back into the stator – shown here

Pump Stator_thumb[3]

and tried to turn it, there was a lot more drag than normal. In fact there should be no drag at all. They shouldn’t be rubbing or touching in any way.

It looks like there is just gunk built up on both the outside of the rotor and the inside of the stator, and that’s causing the drag. At least that’s the theory I’m going with right now.

Tomorrow I’ll dig out some 2000 or 3000 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the two pieces to see if that makes a difference. If you ever try something like this, be sure you only use regular sandpaper, and not steel wool or metal oxide paper. Tiny bits of metal can get in the windings and short out the motor.

Finishing up for the day, I stuck the two metal pieces into a small bowl of CLR to clean them up and remove some of the rust. The plastic pieces I dunked in a bucket of Dawn and Awesome mixture to let them soak overnight.

I do have a backup plan for all this, though. Besides the option of buying one of the pumps on eBay for $100 to $185, which I’m loathe to do . . .  because I’m cheap, this afternoon I had another idea.

All I really need is a washer pump that runs on 120vac (which I’m sure all of them do) and has an input/output hookup kind of like this.

Pump Input-Output_thumb[3]

It only has to be close because I’ve got plenty of room underneath there and I can reroute the hoses if I need to. And the size isn’t a problem either for the same reason. So if I don’t have a handle on all this by Monday, I’ll take the pump down to an appliance parts place and see if they have something close.

About 4:30 Jan and I headed over to Willis for a Whataburger dinner, great as always. Then coming home we made a quick stop at the nearby Kroger’s for a few things.

All in all, a nice day. But then isn’t that what RV’ing is all about?

February 20, 2017

A Celebratory Dinner . . .

The forecasted rain announced itself in the middle of the night with a downpour that rattled the coach, and it was still coming down in sheets when we got up around 8am.

But by the time we left at 9am for the Clear Lake area and Jan’s medical appointments, it had slacked off enough that the flood warnings for the Houston area had been canceled. So, although it was raining steadily the entire way, we made good time, and got down to Webster in time for Jan to get a Chick-fil-A sandwich for lunch before her lab work appointment.

With that done, we made a stop at both Lowe’s and Home Depot picking up some items that we needed, as well as some other shopping along the way.

Finally I dropped Jan off at the Breast Diagnostic Center at 12:45pm for her yearly mammogram. Since she had breast cancer 3 years ago, her checkup is a little more involved,  with both a 3-D mammogram and a Diagnostic Ultrasound.

Normally the whole thing takes a couple of hours, but this time there was a problem with the order from Jan’s doctor, and the Center was running behind. And of course with Jan on pins and needles waiting for the results, it was really nerve-wracking for her.

For both of us, actually, since I  was waiting out in the truck.

Finally about 4pm she came out with the good news that everything was fine, with no problems found.


With that over for this year, we got onto 45N and headed for home. But as we came down off the Tollway onto I-10W, we decided a celebration dinner was in order, so we made a quick exit for the Longhorn Steakhouse in Katy.

Longhorn, along with Saltgrass, are our two favorite steak places. Both are much quieter than Texas Roadhouse, and the meat quality is better than both Roadhouse and Outback.

And tonight was no exception.

Of course, since this was a celebration, we started off with a drink, a White Peach Sangria, with Absolut Vodka, Peach Schnapps, wine, and fruit juices.

Longhorn White Peach Sangria

A really delicious drink, that as usual, we split.

Jan went with her regular Flo’s Filet, cooked perfectly between medium and medium rare, while I went with the 18oz Outlaw Ribeye.

Longhorn Outlaw Ribeye

My side was Crispy Texas Okra, whole okra split lengthwise, and then battered and fried. Really good, and a nice change from traditional Fried Okra.

As an additional side, we split an order of their new Whole Roasted Carrots, drizzled with a Cinnamon Whiskey Caramel Sauce.

Longhorn Roasted Carrots

All we can say is – WOW!

After that great meal, with leftovers left over, we got home a little before 7pm, hopefully seeing the last of the rain for a while.

Next Monday, we both have our yearly doctor checkups in the morning, and then Jan has her consult with her oncologist, and that should be it for the year.


February 20, 2018

Buyer Beware . . .

I put in a call to Thousand Trail’s Trail Collection people to get some info on it.

Our Thousand Trails membership comes up for renewal the 1st of April so I wanted to double-check that I could just buy it at any time after April 1st. Just be aware that the program ENDS every year with the renewal of your TT membership. So if I bought it on March 31st, it would end the next day.

Also be aware that the TC membership will automatically renew at the end of the time period, whether you want it to or not. So be sure to cancel it manually if you don’t want to renew.

Sounds like a good use of one of those one-time credit card numbers If your bank offers them.

A little before 3pm Jan and I headed up to Clear Lake to have an early dinner at Rudy’s BBQ, one of our 3 favorite BBQ places nationwide. The other two are Sonny’s BBQ, mostly in the Southeast, and Famous Dave’s BBQ, located pretty much everywhere except the South.

I got half a pound of their Moist Brisket,

Rudy's Moist Brisket

while Jan got their Stuffed Baker, a jumbo baked potato, topped off with chopped brisket.

Rudy's Stuffed Baker2

And of course, you can’t go to Rudy’s without getting some of their Creamed Corn.

Rudy's Cream Corn

Jan doesn’t really like corn, but she loves Rudy’s version.

After our delicious BBQ meal it was on up I-45, first to the Sam’s Club for a prescription, and then next door to the WalMart  for a few things.

That’s when it got kind of scary. As I did last week, I used the Self-Checkout area, and as I did last week I got some Granny Smith apples. But this time I noticed that the software running on the checkout kiosks was different than the last time.

But I didn’t realize how different until I put the bag of apples on the scale and started to enter the code from the little label on each apple (4017). But before I could, the computer popped up with “1.52 lbs. at $1.47/lb of Granny Smith Apples    $2.23”

OK, how did it know that I had Granny Smith apples?

So now my mind is racing, looking for an answer.

Is there a camera inside using fruit recognition software? And if so, how does it know the difference between my Granny Smith apples and Golden Delicious apples? Especially through the plastic (albeit clear) bag.

Is it reading the little labels on each piece of fruit?

Granny Smith Apple Label

Or are there RFID chips inside each label that the scanner is reading? In answer, no, there are not. I peeled off a label here at home and held it up to the light. No RFID chip.

So next time I’m peeling off all the little labels before scanning them.

Stay tuned.

And in another example of scary computer stuff, I’ve been looking at getting one of these Wyze cameras to set up here in the rig.

Wyze Camera

It livestreams right to the Internet with a 1080p picture, night vision, and motion-sensing. And even better it’s only about $25. But I held off, hearing that a new version was coming out. And that looks like the end of this month.

But double-checking the Amazon reviews flashed a big STOP sign to me. Apparently users have detected the cameras streaming data to IP addresses other than the company servers, i.e. IP addresses in China, Japan, Germany, Russia, and others.

The data is going out on UDP port 10001 which is a high-speed port with no error-checking, often used for live-streaming.

So where else is the video going beside your smartphone?

But it gets even scarier.

One Amazon user blocked the camera’s MAC address in his router so it could not transmit anything to the Internet. Instead he installed an SD memory card in the camera and just recorded the video.

The MAC address is a unique address that is normally hard-coded into Internet devices. Your router has one, your computer has one, and the Wyze camera has one that’s printed on the back of the unit.

But in this case, the camera, seemingly sensing it could no longer access the Internet, changed its supposedly HARD-CODED MAC address to another one, one that now lets it access the net again, sending your video out to other countries. You know, like China, Russia, . . .

Scary.  Buyer Beware.

Tomorrow it’s back to work.

February 20, 2019

Red It Is . . .

Well, the consensus is that Jan should go Red again. Now all I have to do is to convince her. I know our daughter Brandi is on my side, so hopefully we can wear her down.

When we were at Cheddars yesterday I noticed a new menu item, their Texas-Sized Nachos. Now I know everything is bigger in Texas, but this is ridiculous.

Texas Sized Nachos

21,600 CALORIES? Really?

Well I guess if you split it with 9 friends, it wouldn’t be too bad.

I got my new camera set up this evening after charging the battery overnight.

Panasonic FZ80 Camera 2

But I haven’t even taken a photo with it yet. I did format the 128GB SD card, and with the 4K quality (3840 x 2160) resolution I selected, I will be able to store over 23,000 photos at about 8MB each.

I could have set it for 4896×2752, but at 13.5MB each, the photos can be a pain to work with. But at that resolution, I would be able to print out a full-size 16” x 20” photo, if needed.

When I unpacked my camera yesterday, I thought that something was missing. The other three Panasonic Lumix had all included a charger module like this.

Panasonic Battery Charger Module

But not this time. All I got was an AC USB charger and cable, which means that the battery can only be charged when it’s in the camera. This means you can’t use the camera when you’re charging the battery, even if you have two batteries to swap out.

So I was happy to see that the spare battery and car charger kit I received today comes with a module that can be powered by both AC or the 12V car charger.

I was impressed to see that the camera can also be controlled via a smartphone app thru the built-in WiFi. Among other things, you can both take photos and view them on your phone with the app. Very neat!

Looking forward to having a chance to play with it more.

Several of you asked about the new Zoom Scope I ordered and wondered how it worked.

Zoom Scope

Well, I don’t know yet, since it didn’t ship until this morning, but I’ll let you know.

I took the plunge today and finally ordered a jar of pure 100% Carolina Reaper powder.

Carolina Reaper Powder

As I’ve mentioned before, At over 2.2 million Scoville units, Carolina Reapers are the acknowledged hottest pepper in the world.


There are two other peppers, Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath, that are vying for the new crown, but they haven’t been certified yet. But Pepper X is rumored to be over twice as hot as the Reaper.

So if you hear about me bursting into flames, you’ll know why.

Tomorrow afternoon Jan and I are meeting long-time friend Tricia for breakfast/lunch at our new fav, Snooze. Really looking forward to it.

February 20, 2020

And Now Another One . . .

I Won’t Do That Again.

My Aunt Virginia gave Jan a couple of local Athens Church cookbooks, containing many of our family and friend’s recipes, including many favorites I remember from my childhood, and even later, specifically my Aunt T’s Dill Bread. Even Jan remembers this bread, since Aunt T was still alive and baking it when we were first married.

Jan suggested that I look through the cookbooks to see if I recognized any other names. And that was my mistake.

I quickly came across one that rang a bell. She was a classmate of mine, in fact she was both my Chemistry and Biology lab partner when I went to the 10th grade in Athens. She was really cute, a cheerleader, and sweet to boot. Even better, her father owned the Ford dealership in town, and she got the very first Mustang in town for her 16th birthday. She and I got along great and I almost broke my rule to not date that year.

Since I had been with my previous girlfriend, Sam (Samantha), the future Duchess, for over a year and a half while we were in South America, and I missed her, I wasn’t in a big hurry to get back to dating again.

Since I skipped the 1st grade and started directly into the 2nd, (another story) I was always the youngest kid in my class, even though few people knew it.

I also didn’t really go to the 9th grade, since we were living in South America at the time. My mother, who had been a teacher, signed off that she had home-school me, but what really happened was that she just gave me all the textbooks and told me to read them. Which I did in about a month. And had no problem in the 10th grade in Athens.

So anyway, while most kids already had their driver’s licenses going into the 10th grade, I didn’t even get my learner’s permit until October of that year.

So my asking a girl out would have gone like this.

“Mary, would you like to go to the Junior Prom with me? Oh, and by the way, can you drive?”

Nope, not going to happen!

Or even a worse scenario, having my parents drive us.

Nope, not that either. Haven’t done that since I was about 12.

So I never asked her out, but I did think about it. Partly because it seemed like a lot of guys were intimidated by her and she didn’t seem to date much. And in hindsight, I wish I had asked her out.

Because when I made the mistake of looking her up this morning, I found she died at the age of 58 in 2006, of Early Onset Alzheimer’s

I won’t do that again.

February 20, 2021

Thankful . . .

As I said yesterday, today was just a hang-around-the-rig day, sorting through stuff, some to throw away and some to go over to the storage room. And of course, more of Jan’s delicious chili for dinner.

Later in the afternoon I went outside and got us hooked back up to shore water. Then I took a few minutes to fill our onboard water tank up again, and stowed away my heat lamp, all ready for the next freeze.

Looking over my PayPal Debit Card charges in my email, I noticed that though the charge had come through for the first two days, which was for 2 days at $64 + tax per day, nothing had come through for the last two days.

But when I went online to look at my PayPal account directly, I saw several ‘pending’ charges from the hotel that were much higher than I thought they should be,

So I asked my bookkeeper (Jan) if I could see the hotel bill that I got when we checked out. Since I had my hands full with luggage I just handed it off to my bookkeeper (Jan) without looking at it yesterday. They had taken my credit card and I had signed the bill when I checked in, so I didn’t get a chance to look it over.

But when I looked at it today, I saw a problem, a big problem. While the first two days were $64 each, the 3rd day was $139, and the 4th day was billed at $124.


So I put into a call to the hotel, and was told what I thought might be the problem, based on things I’d been reading online in the last couple of days.

The rates that the hotel charges are set centrally and are based on an algorithm that sets the rates based on hotel occupancy. So when the hotel filled up, the rates went up. But she said they’re not supposed to go up in the middle of a stay. So she’s looking into it for me to get it corrected.

Jan and I are very thankful that we came through the Big Freeze with few problems, and our hearts and prayers go out to all the people who didn’t fair as well as we did.

February 20, 2022

More Muffins . . .

As I said in last night’s blog, lunch today was at Gator’s Bar & Grill over in Dickinson once again. We usually try to eat here on the weekends since they have a bunch of Brunch Specials on the menu, though it seems we usually get our usual favorites. But we have on occasion gotten some of the specials and they’ve always been good.

Jan got one of her favorites, the Strawberry Walnut Salad with Grilled Chicken.

Gator's Strawberry Walnut Salad 20220220

That’s a big dollop of Bleu Cheese in the middle.

it seems I’ve gotten stuck on Gator’s Baked Potato Soup with all the fixings.

Gator's Baked Potato Soup 20220220

Then for dessert, Jan tried Margie’s new Keto Biscuit, heated with butter. Jan said it was good, but more like a muffin than a biscuit.

Gator's New Keto Biscuit 20220220

Even though it had to be defrosted, my Keto Blueberry Muffin was as delicious as usual.

Gator's Blueberry Muffin 20220220

Heated with cold butter.

Leaving Gator’s, the next stop was at our store room so I could get a photo to show the movers.

Store Room Contents

I had to get a wide-angle shot to get it all in.

We started out here with a 5 x 5 climate-controlled unit, and then got a second one after we sold the house. Then we switched over to a 10 x 20 C-C one, which was cheaper than 2- 5 x 5’s. It’s obvious we didn’t need one this big, but at the time it was all they had in a larger one.

But I’m looking at a smaller one at the new location.

Our last stop was at the HEB for our meals next week.

February 20, 2023

They Said It Wouldn’t Hurt As Much . . .

They Lied.

I was at my dermatologist’s office by 11, and was getting my head basted by 11:30. Then I got to wait and marinate for two hours while I read on my tablet. Next, I was taken into another room and put under the broiler.

Unlike last time with the blue light PDT, this new one has a red light. And Dr. Joe said that it was not supposed to be as painful as the blue one. I can only assume he’s never tried it, because, though my memory may have faded in the 5 years since my last one, he was very, very wrong.

It hurt a lot more.

The only redeeming factor was that it only lasted for 10 minutes, and not the 16:40 like the blue light.

And the really good news is that I get to go back in a month and do it all over again. Since just like last time, it’s a two-step process.

My head was still burning when I got home about 3pm so I rubbed some Allocaine on it and that quieted down the heat.

I wasn’t able to get any photos of the procedure because, rather than the dark glasses I was given last time, this time I had goggles that completely blocked my vision. So next month I’ll have the nurse take a photo.

Tomorrow is going to be Los Rameriz Mexican for lunch and then WalMart for more stuff.