Daily Archives: April 16, 2024

Catching Up . . . Again

A couple of funny things happened the other night at the Bernadette Peters performance down in Galveston.

The guy sitting in the aisle seat right in front of me, seemingly there with his wife and another couple, looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there.

He was really hitting his large wine cup and looking around everywhere, but at Bernadette up on the stage. And if he clapped at all, it was just a perfunctory two claps and that was it.

Don’t know if he was looking for someone specifically, but he kept turning his head all around. And when everyone stood up to applaud after the last song, before the encore, he was just gone, leaving his wife and the other couple behind.

Then a few minutes later, as Jan and I were leaving, we exited off to the side rather than the center aisle, which was more crowded. And as I turned the corner at the end of the aisle and started up the ramp, I bounced off the wall a couple of times due to my wimble-walk. And as I did, I felt a hand on my back steadying me, which I appreciated.

But then the hand became an arm around my back holding me, and a female voice in my ear asking, “Where do you live?” When I told her that we lived up in Santa Fe, she then asked, “Are you driving home?”

With that, I suddenly realized that due to my ‘bouncing’ off the wall a couple of times, she thought I was drunk. So I turned to her and said, “I’m not drunk, I’m just crippled!”

She blushed bright red and stuttered, “That’s . . . that’s not what I meant.” and her arm left my waist.

So if she didn’t think I was drunk, was she just offering to come home with me? Jan might want to say something about that.

Then this past Sunday, our ex-Texas Huddle server, Juana, texted us that she was working a shift that afternoon at her new spot, BoomerJack’s. So we headed up there for lunch.

It was really good to see Juana again, and it looks like she’s fitting right in her new place.

While Jan had the Blackened Catfish with Double Grilled Veggies,

I got the 5 Wings with the Mango Habanero Sauce.

I was kind of surprised to find out that BoomerJack’s doesn’t allow you to order ‘all drums’ with your wings. You just get what you get, I guess. They’re the first place that’s ever told me this.

More Catching Up Tomorrow.

Thought For The Day:

These Two Stories Were Published On The Same Day A Few Weeks Ago.

So does it just cancel out?

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2012 – Our very first gate in our Gate-Guarding Adventures

2013 – Our visit to Organ Stop Pizza with the largest Wurlitzer Pipe Organ in the world

2014 – Flashback to 2008, our first year on the road to Alaska

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 16, 2010

Under the weather…

Jan woke up with a migraine so we decided to not do any sightseeing today, But by noon she felt like getting some lunch, so we went out for soup and sandwiches from Crazy Otto’s. We ate here last Sunday on our first night here and wanted to try it again. They make a great chicken salad sandwich.

When I got back we had an email from The Bonnie Hunt show saying they had some extra tickets for the 6pm show and would we like to also attend that taping as well as our 2pm one?  We, of course, said yes.

About 6 pm Jan heated up our leftover Famous Dave’s BBQ from earlier in the week. Just as good as the first time, too.

Tomorrow we’ll probably do a day pass to the Good Sam Rally that’s right next door.

April 16, 2011

A Day of Ear-Popping Fun . . .

This morning was another early one. That makes two in a row. This has got to stop.

The reason for this early start was that this was another road trip day, this time north to Flagstaff.

Our first stop was about 2 miles away for two fill-ups, gas, and a quick breakfast at the Mcdonald’s next door. Then it was out onto I-17N heading for Flagstaff, a little over 50 miles away.

The trip was a really spectacular drive, especially when you take a curve and get your first glimpse of San Francisco Peaks that loom over Flagstaff.

San Francisco Mtns 1

This shot, taken in early April 2010, shows a little more snow.

San Francisco Mtns 2

Humphreys Peak, on the left, is over 12,600 ft. high, and is the highest peak in Arizona.

Our first stop as we came into town was the parking lot of Bookman’s, a really great used bookstore. Really a used book, used magazines, used toys, used video games, used small appliances, store.

While Jan and I enjoyed Bookman’s, we noticed outside Bookman’s was the local version of the town mascot. In this case, it’s a mountain lion.

Flagstaff Mtn Lion Mascot

We’ve seen javelinas in Sedona,

Sedona Javelinas 2

moose in Coeur d’Alene, ID, (I’m not sure if this guy is chained down because he keeps wandering off, or he gets moose-napped.)


and mermaids in Beaufort, SC.

Mermaid 1

After we did the bookstore thing, and Jan and I shared a cappuccino in the coffee bar, we piled into our truck to drive around.

Old Route 66 passed through Flagstaff so we took some time to drive the old downtown area, checking out the little shops and stores. Heading on out on 66, we stopped off at an Office Max for a few things. There were still some snow banks in the parking lot, left over from last week’s snow, and by the exit, this indication that they weren’t sure that last week’s snow was actually the ‘last’ – a snow shovel and a bag of salt for the sidewalk.

Flagstaff Snow Shovel

Our next stop was right down the street. where I did the Best Buy, while judging by the large bags she lugged back, Jan tried to buy out the World Market store right next door.

By now it was almost 1:30, and with us getting hungry we decided to have lunch at Salsa Brava, a Mexican restaurant that we really liked when we were here in March of 2008.

And apparently, we weren’t the only ones who liked it. A while back, Salsa Brava was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins’ & Dives, and you can check it out here on Salsa Brava on Diners, Drive-Ins’ & Dives.

The food was delicious, in fact so much so, that Jan and bought a copy of the Salsa Brava Cocina Cookbook shown here.

Salsa Brava Cookbook

After a great meal, we drove back to the Bookman’s parking lot for a quick stopover at the Michael’s store right next door.

We decided to return to Verde Valley by way of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon along AZ-89A

Listed as one of the Top 5 Scenic Drives in America, the switchbacks through Oak Creek Canyon only cover a little over 2 miles, but drops you over 2600 feet in elevation.

Talk about your ear-popping!

Oak Creek Canyon

In fact the whole trip was ear-popping. Starting at about 3200 ft. in Verde Valley to a little over 7000 ft. in Flagstaff, and of course, back again to Verde Valley.

The stop-and-go driving through downtown Sedona took a while, but we got back to the rig about 5 pm, after another long, but very enjoyable day.

Tomorrow we’ll be Skyping with Brandi, Lowell, and of course Landon. We can’t wait.

April 16, 2012

Gate Guarding – Day 1

We were awakened yesterday morning about 7:45am and told we had a gate waiting for us.

We were given our hats, orange safety vests, login forms, clipboard, and a hand-drawn map to the gate. Jamie said our supervisor Larry would be waiting for us.

We were ready to roll a little before 9, with our first stop right across the street at the Exxon station to top off my tank with about 80 gallons of diesel for $4.10 a gallon. When I’m going to be parked for a while I always like to do it on a full tank to cut down on condensation and algae growth in the tank.

About 9:15 we were on the road heading to our gate. Our route took us on all two-lane roads from Whitsett southwest over to Fowlerton, about 45 miles away. But it was the last 8 miles of dirt road that was a problem.

It was so bad that I was only able to do 8-10 mph. And even then we had drawers come open that hadn’t come open in 5 years. It almost 45 minutes to finally get to the gate site, where our supervisor, Larry Ross, was waiting for us with our utility trailer just as promised.

It only took us about 10 minutes to get parked and set up. Larry pulled the generator trailer behind the rig and got us hooked up with AC power to the coach.

STS Gate 2

A little later Larry headed back to town to bring out our sewer trailer, while Jan was up and running on her new Gate Guarding career.

STS Gate 1

And we quickly had our first visitor, not a truck, but a friendly roadrunner. He walked back and forth right in front of us, just a couple of feet away.

Roadrunner 4

Roadrunner 5

Supposedly they’re really good about keeping snakes away. Jan certainly hopes so.

The only downside to our location is we not only have no Internet service, we have absolutely no Verizon cell service at all. NONE.

In fact I had to drive to Cotulla, 35 miles away to get a good signal. Apparently, AT&T works in this area, so I’ll have to see about getting a cheapie phone at Wal-Mart. But I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about Internet. I’ll have to work on it.


We only had about 20 vehicles in and out yesterday, and the site was closed from 7:30pm to 6 am.


April 16, 2013

Third Time’s the Charm . . .

This is Annisten Robinson, Jan’s great-niece and granddaughter to Jan’s sister, Debbie. She’s really growing up fast.

Annisten Robinson

And this red-haired beauty is Zoe Nadeau, two days old and Landon’s new 2nd cousin.

Zoe Nadeau - Red Hair

About 4pm we headed out for dinner at Organ Stop Pizza. And it turned out to be a real experience.

What you’ve got is a pizza place, putting out very good pizza, and, oh by the way, they’ve also got the world’s largest Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

Organ Pizza 2a

Originally built for the Denver Theater in 1927, and used into the 1930’s, talkies and the Great Depression led to its silencing. Then it was purchased by Organ Stop Pizza in the early 70’s and installed in their restaurant. Since then, parts from other ill-fated Wurlitzers have been added on, making this almost 6000 pipe organ, the largest in the world.

In 1997 the restaurant commissioned the building of a new console to better support the many controls, keys and pedals.

Organ Console

The console resides on an 8000 pound hydraulic elevator that raises, lowers, and rotates the console, allowing it to appear and disappear from the stage.

Organ Pizza 3

Organ Pizza 4

The organ also has a lot of lighting effects, and other things like bubble machines.

Organ Pizza 5

This final photo shows how the pipes and other instruments cover the entire rear wall. It also shows the stage with the console retracted.

Organ Pizza 7a

Oh, and the pizza was pretty good, too. A crispy, thin-crust pizza, it wasn’t doughy or crunchy. Very good, especially for a place that you also go for the entertainment.

Well worth a second visit.

April 16, 2014

On the Road to Alaska . . .

Thought maybe I’d relate some of our travels during our first year on the road. We weren’t blogging then, so all we have are all the photos we took, and some emails Jan sent to friends and family.

Although we left Houston on February 6th, the Alaska part kind of started on April 9th, 2008. But between then, we did Las Cruces, Casa Grande, Yuma, San Diego, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Casper, Billings, Sturgis, and Coeur d’Alene.

After Coeur d’Alene our first stop was Cle Elum, WA. The attraction for Cle Elum is the fact that it’s right down the road from Roslyn, WA, which stood in for the fictional town of Cicely, AK, in the TV show Northern Exposure.

And it’s all still here.

The Roslyn Café.

Roslyn WA 1

Chris’ KBHR Radio Station

Roslyn WA 2

The Brick Bar

Roslyn WA 3

But the inside is completely different from the show.

Roslyn WA 6

Roslyn WA 8

And here’s Ruth-Anne’s General Store.

Roslyn WA 4

The first thing you notice is that Cicely (Roslyn) is much hillier in real life than on the show.

Roslyn WA 5

And you remember Maurice’s big house on the lake. Well this is what it looks like in person. It’s actually pretty run-down. No lake anywhere nearby, either. Just goes to show you how TV shows can fool you.

Roslyn WA 7

Northern Exposure was supposedly loosely based on Talkeetna, AK, but the town did not want the TV show filmed there, so Roslyn was selected. All of the inside scenes were filmed in a converted warehouse over in Redmond, WA.

On April 13th we entered Canada at Sumas, WA, about 25 miles northeast of Bellingham, and spent our first night at the Brookside Campsite in Cache Creek, BC after a 172 mile trip.

Cache Creek 1

Note Mister out front wondering what all the fuss is about Canada.

One funny thing we found when we got up the next morning (note the time) was Mister sound asleep atop the kitchen cabinet. We’re not even sure how he got up there.

Cache Creek 2

And from the look on his face when he finally woke up, neither was he.

Cache Creek 3

We spent the second night 269 miles away at the Southside RV Park in Prince George, BC, and saw our first Moose Warning sign.

Prince George 1

Prince George 2

And then a 254-mile trip took us to Tubby’s RV Park in Dawson Creek, BC, the official beginning of the Alaskan Highway.

Dawson Creek 1

Dawson Creek 2

Dawson Creek 4

We also saw our first Magpie’s there.

Dawson Creek 3

We ended up spending 3 nights in Dawson Creek due to bad weather and very high winds. In fact semi’s were banned from the highway.

And if the semi’s ain’t going, I ain’t going either.

I’ll follow up with more Alaska another time.

April 16, 2015

Resting Up . . .

Jan and I did so much walking yesterday during our visit to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, that it was really nice to pretty much goof-off all day.

I came across an interesting article the other day called The Real History of Fracking. Amazingly, fracking is not the recent invention that most people think. Would you believe the Civil War?

A interesting article. Check it out.

I spent a couple of hours this morning working on some web client stuff, after which I called our daughter Brandi to ask why she and Lowell and Landon were in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.

Her response was “What . . . what do mean? Washington?”

I laughed and said,”Well, I heard on the news that a 4-year-old boy crawled under the White House fence and then led the Secret Service on a merry chase through the bushes before they finally rounded up the wily culprit. Brandi agreed that it certainly sounded like something Landon would do, but it wasn’t him.

First this, and now a gyrocopter. The Secret Service just can’t win.

Later in the afternoon, I painted Jan’s toes for her. First, a clear base coat, then two coats of polish, and then a clear top coat. She says I do a better job than the salons because I take my time. I haven’t told her that’s because I enjoy playing with her toes.

Like yesterday, today was another beautiful day. It finally crept up to 61 degrees here, but with the sunshine almost all day, it was really nice.

And tomorrow looks to be more of the same.

April 16, 2016

Always Be Prepared . . .

Or Oops!

Nothing much new this morning, just the same old, same old. Coffee, breakfast, and webstuff.

About 3:30 I headed into Conroe and the Sam’s Club to pick up the prescription I dropped off yesterday. And always being prepared saved me $73.62.

For some reason every time I pick this one up, the price is all over the place. Sometimes it’s $25, sometimes it’s $42.17, and today, it was $83.62. But it should only be $10.00

So I always carry a printout of my Walmart/Sam’s Club prescription history when I go to pick up this particular one. It shows the price I’ve paid in the past. And strangely, the clerk couldn’t find the $10 cost, until I showed him my list, and then he found it immediately.

Funny how that worked out.

On the way home, I made a Kroger’s stop to pick up a couple of Kroger-specific items – 2 bags of their Private Selection Coffee, and a couple of containers of their really good Cranberry Fruit & Nut Salad.

Then it was home just in time for Jan to have a great dinner ready for us. One that starts with Chicken Rice-A-Roni, adds large chunks of grilled chicken, and some extra spices, and gets served with a side of the Cranberry Salad, and some sliced tomatoes. Really good.

Tomorrow night we’ll finish off the Cheesy Beef & Potato Casserole from the other night., with hopefully, some more of the Cranberry Salad. Looking forward to it.

Under the Oops! heading, here’s how to destroy your company with one line of Unix code. And this is it.

rm -rf {foo}/{bar}

‘rm’ is the ‘remove’ command, I.e. delete
’r’ stands for ‘recursive’ which deletes this directory
and every subdirectory below it
(the article has this command wrong)

‘f’ is the ‘force’ command, which means ‘Don’t give me any of those pesky “Are You Really Sure You Want To Delete This?” messages.

But that wasn’t his only mistake. Because he had an error in the script he wrote that contained this command, the variables ‘foo’ and ‘bar’ were undefined.

So when he ran the script, ‘rm –rf’ started at the very top directory (called ‘root’) and began deleting everything under it. In other words, EVERYTHING!

But wait, it gets worse.

He had correctly done his backups before he ran this script to clean up some old Temp files and other unwanted stuff, BUT he left them mounted, I.e. online. So when ‘rm –rf’ was finished with his main drive, it moved over to his backup drives and started deleting everything on them too.


And it was the owner of the company who did this. He owned a small website hosting company with about 1500 customers, so he actually deleted all of his customer’s websites.

This is the reason that, although I host all my websites on Godaddy, where their backups have backups, I have full copies of all my client’s data on my hard drive, which is backed up on two different external hard drives.

You can’t be too careful.

April 16, 2017

A Real Do-Nothing Day. . .

We never left the rig. In fact we never even opened the rig door.

Very nice.

I did spend a good bit of time working on a new website, trying to configure a lot of photos so they can be posted. I’ve got a ways to go.

Still enjoying my new Jetpack MiFi. I checked the speed this morning about 2:30am and got over 30 Mbps.

Looking forward to picking up my new Galaxy S8+ this coming Friday. Of course, then I’ve got several days work loading and setting up a lot of apps. But this will be a good chance to weed out programs that I really don’t use anymore.

Following the recent story of the doctor who was thrown, literally, off a United flight. I’m always interested in how the story changes after one of these big events break, and this one has been all over the place.

But right now the consensus of the many law blogs I read is that he’s in line for a big payday, maybe as big as 8 figures ($10,000,000), but we’ll see.

Initially, everyone pointed to what’s known as the Contract of Carriage, the 30+ pages of Federal rules, the fine print on your ticket.

Because the initial story said the flight was ‘overbooked’, people looked at that section of the rules. And if you’re still at the gate on an ‘overbooked’ flight, they can deny you boarding for pretty much any reason. But the kicker here was that the flight was not overbooked, but was fully booked, with every seat filled.

And all the passengers, including the doctor, had been seated.

Then four United cabin personnel showed up at the gate and needed to get to Louisville so they could work a flight the next morning. The gate agent then went on the plane and asked for four volunteers to take a later flight (at 3:45 the next afternoon) and offered up to $800 in compensation.

When no one volunteered after repeated tries, they had the computer pick four passengers at random, who were basically told to get off or else. The ‘else’ being they would be forcibly ejected. At this point, two passengers left.

Turns out that the ‘at random’ picking wasn’t really random, but used an algorithm that looked at what class they were flying, (economy class got kicked off before business class who got kicked off before first class, etc.), what clubs they belonged to, how many miles they had, and how early they had checked in for the flight. The problem with all this was that once the Doctor was on board and seated, a whole new set of Federal rules come into play.

Under Part 21 – Refusal to Transport, there are 19 specific reasons a passenger can be ejected from a flight, like being drunk, barefoot, smelly, 9 months pregnant without a note from your doctor, blind with no escort, etc.

But not one of these reasons is needing his seat so a company employee could fly instead.

So then when the Doctor refused to deplane the ‘police’ were called  The problem here was that the three gentlemen were NOT really police, NOT Law Enforcement Officers. They were Chicago Aviation Police, I.e. they were licensed non-armed security guards, just like Jan and I are for gate guarding. In fact it is questionable whether or not they had any legal right to even be on the plane.

According to eyewitnesses and the several videos, when the Doctor refused to leave the plane, he was tazered, punched in the head several times, dragged from his seat, hitting his head on the opposite armrest, and was knocked unconscious.

At this point, he was dragged out of the plane and left bleeding and still unconscious in the jetway while the three ‘gentlemen’ went to find a gurney or stretcher. I guess they figured that just continuing to drag him through the terminal would be bad form.

At some point, he came to, and dazed, confused, and bloody, stumbled back onto the plane, mumbling both that he had patients to see tomorrow morning and he wanted his laptop.

At this point, he was once again dragged from the plane.

He ended up hospitalized with a severe concussion, a broken nose, and two missing teeth.

At first, the United CEO blamed the whole thing on a ‘rowdy’ passenger that they were required to ‘re-accommodate’. But that didn’t stick, as the videos of the bloody, unconscious 69-year-old Asian doctor went viral on the Net.

Then it was a ‘sincere’ apology. And when that didn’t help, the CEO promised to never, ever throw a passenger off a United plane again.

At this point, the rest of the Internet piled on with some really hilarious themes.

Fly Delta – We Beat The Competition, Not Passengers!

United Airlines – We have an offer you can’t refuse. No, really.

Flight: $400, checking a bag: $25, getting dragged down the aisle: priceless

And even new seating charts.

United Flight Club

So that’s pretty much the story at this point. The three ‘gentlemen’ have been suspended and will probably fired. But we’ll see how it plays out for the rest.

April 16, 2018

The Texas City Disaster . . .

Not much new at work today, mostly just looking at some YouTube videos on different WordPress themes. When I finally move our two company websites from our in-house server up to Godaddy, I want to change the WP theme to something new, and a little easier to support.

I did get some use of my Spanish when we had an order from Zaragoza, Spain. We needed some clarification on the order so I gave it a shot. And I guess it worked because I got an answer back that I could also read.

I did have to be careful, because Spain Spanish is different from Mexican Spanish is different from South American Spanish. And South American Spanish is what I’m most familiar with.

Even the address can be strange. In Colombia, South America, where I lived, 3rd floor would be translated as ‘3er Piso’, or ‘Piso 3’. But in Spain, 3rd Floor is 3°.

Yes, that’s a degree sign. It actually stands for the ‘o’ in ‘piso’ or ‘floor’. And since many apartment buildings don’t have numbers on the doors, you can also see an address like 3°, 5a. This means ‘3rd floor, 5th door’, with the ‘a’ coming from the word ‘puerta’, the Spanish word for ‘door’.

The other problem is getting the USPS online shipping software to take these strange addresses and print out a shipping label. But we finally got the package on its way.

When we moved to Texas and Houston in Dec. 1978, we very quickly heard about the 1947 Texas City Disaster.

On April 16th, 1947, 71 years ago today, the SS Grandcamp, tied up in the Texas City Harbor and loaded with 2,200 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, caught fire and exploded. It sent a 15’ wave of water for 100 miles,  leveled over 1,000 buildings, destroyed the Monsanto Chemical Company plant, and 1000’s of cars.

Texas City Explosion 1

Then 15 hours later the nearby cargo ship High Flyer, also loaded with ammonium nitrate, exploded, killing many of the police, firefighters, medical personnel, and even sightseers, who had rushed into the area.

Officially 567 people were killed, with 63 never identified.

Texas City Explosion 2

Additionally, 113 people were listed as missing, since no body parts were ever found. And it is speculated that there might be 100’s of other dead, visiting seamen and their families, travelers, etc.

On a more personal note, 27 of the 28 members of the Texas City Volunteer Fire Department were killed.

So imagine how Jan felt when years later our son Chris announced that he had just been hired as a Texas City Fireman.

Tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to Baytown for a consulting gig. A friend of a friend has an access gate that is controlled by a WiFi/Internet phone app. But it doesn’t work. In fact it seems it’s never worked right.

I’ve done some research, including downloading the manual, and I’ve got some starting ideas on what the problem is, or at least one of them. I suspect that this might be one of those cases where it’s a two-part problem. So we’ll have to see.

April 16, 2019

Not Worrying About The Brakes Anymore . . .

I spent the morning on and off making changes via email for the new ad card for our upcoming May sale, which we didn’t find out about until this past Friday. So it was a rush to get it done ASAP to get it out for May, and also to get it done before I leave town.

Also talked to Chantelle Nugent, our travel agent, about what we needed as far as luggage tags, passport wallets, etc. Turns out that she has included all that in our box of documents that goes in the mail today, and we should have it Friday.

Jan and I headed out about 1pm with our first stop at the Cheddar’s in Webster for lunch. Then it was on by my clients to pick up a bunch of Amazon stuff that had come in.

We had also planned to have my client and the office manager witness our wills, but it looks like we will still need a Notary, so I may just have it done at the bank on Thursday.

Then it was on over to WalMart to stock on B. C. (Before Cruise) stuff, and a few things to take with us. Last it was by the dry cleaners to pick my blazer and Jan’s pashmina for the trip, and then we headed home.

But ‘headed’ is all it was. Although I can’t see exactly what’s happening, it looks like we have a leak in a bottom radiator hose on the truck. I tried to limp it home, but finally decided to just call our roadside assistance and get a tow home.

Getting home and thinking it over, I decided that this was a straw/camel situation. With both the radiator problem and also needing a disc brake pad replacement, I just don’t have time to fix both. So I’m renting a car from Enterprise starting tomorrow and then I’ll drop it off Friday morning before we leave for Budapest.

Wrapping up, we saw this interesting cargo coming up the Interstate from Galveston, or maybe Texas City, last weekend.

Refinery Reactor on Trailer 1

Refinery Reactor on Trailer 2

That’s just one long, long trailer. Must be interesting on corners.

April 16, 2020

Less and Less . . .

Needing some groceries, and Jan not having been out of the rig since last Saturday, we headed out for WalMart about 1pm,

And it looks like less and less people are worrying about using masks, just a small minority, and I saw no one wearing gloves this time. And although the rope entrance lines were still up at WalMart, people were just bypassing them and walking straight in and out. And nobody was stopping them.

And looking at the news around the country, more and more people are starting to rebel against some of the overly strict rules. One web article talked about the rise of petty tyrants all around the country.

For example, Calvert County Maryland is proposing that people only be able to shop for groceries on certain days depending on the first letter of their last names.

Or the two churches in Greenville, MS where the police raided two drive-in Easter church services and gave people $500 tickets (later dropped). And then there’s the governor of Michigan who started declaring some items sold in WalMart as essential and others as non-essential.

I’ve seen PSA’s on TV telling you to use your time at home to plant a “Victory Garden’, but Gov. Whitmer banned the sale of plant and vegetable seeds. Or the people decided to use their stay-at-home time to do some home remodeling. However the governor banned the sale of many building materials.

Or if you want to do a little solitary recreational fishing out on the lake, you can only do it in a canoe, or kayak, not any kind of powered craft, even if it’s electric.

And with all the kids at home needing things to keep them occupied for your sanity, let’s ban Arts & Crafts supplies, and of course, Toys & Games. That makes sense, right?

And, unfortunately, it’s not just the governor. A Michigan judge has issued an order authorizing a county health officer and police to arrest and jail anyone they suspect of being sick with the coronavirus.

So, let me get this straight. They’re letting real criminals out of jail to protect them from the WuFlu, while throwing WuFlu sufferers into jail. Yeah, that makes sense.

Well, all these draconian rules garnered the governor a big protest where 3000-4000 cars clogged the streets of the capital to vent their frustration.

To paraphrase Star Wars, “The more they tighten their grip, the more people slip through their fingers.”

And then there’s the county in Montana that wants residents to wear pink armbands to be allowed to shop in local stores. At least it’s not a Yellow Star.


Before we left the WalMart parking lot, I put in an online order to the Black Bear Diner right across I-45 to pick up on our way home.

I got my favorite Bacon Cheeseburger Salad,

Black Bear Diner Bacon Cheeseburger Salad Takeout

while Jan tried something new, their Roasted Turkey Dinner.

Black Bear Diner Roasted Turkey TakeOut

Both as good as the in-house versions.

April 16, 2021

it’s A Box . . .

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday about our get-together at the El Palenque restaurant up in Spring is that like many other places here in Texas, masks were optional, even though they still had the signs up, and the staff was still wearing them.

It was interesting to watch people walk in the front door, look around, and then off come the masks.

Another thing I forgot to mention about yesterday’s get-together is that our friends Janice and Dave Evans are the reason we’re here at the Petticoat Junction RV Park in Santa Fe. They’re good friends with the owners, Rob and Debra, the park owners, and so Janice and Dave recommended them when we were looking for an RV park down in this area.

And we’ve been here for about 3-1/2 years so far.

For the last year, there’s been a new home going up about 3 houses down from our park entrance. Set on a large lot, it looked like it was being built by the owner since the progress was so slow. We drive by it almost every day, and it seemed like we wouldn’t see any real progress for days(weeks?) at a time.

Since there were usually a couple of boats, and a camper parked on the property, we figured it was just going to be something like a vacation cabin. I mean it was pretty plain, just a big rectangle with no real pizazz.

5525 Ave L - 1

But then in the last month, they really started sprucing it up, with shutters, trim, shrubbery, and an entrance path.

5525 Ave L - 2

And then one day a For Sale sign appeared out front.

Since it was so plain vanilla on the outside, just a big box, we wondered what it looked like on the inside, and what they were asking for it. So I Googled 5525 Ave L, Santa Fe, TX, and found this.

5525 Ave L - 4

5525 Ave L - 3

A very high-end build, that really looks nice. It’s a 1500 sq. ft., 3 bedroom, 2 bath, but the real surprise, to Jan and I at least, was the price.


For a box. A nice box, but it’s a 30’ x 50’ box!

It will be interesting to see how long it stays on the market.

April 16, 2022

An Onerous Task . . .

That turned out to be relatively easy.

Jan and I headed out for lunch about 12:30, after loading up the Jeep with a lot of winter stuff destined for the storeroom.

Lunch was at Yummy Yummy once again, our favorite local Chinese Buffet place.

We thought we’d lost it for a while when it closed down during the height of the virus stuff, and it was closed for almost 18 months. But when it finally reopened last September, we were there as soon as we heard it was back.

Yummy Yummy

After Yummy’s we drove over to the big HEB on Hwy 96, hoping to get our weekly HEB visit out of the way.

Now being the day before Easter, we expected them to be busy, but not overflowing parking lot busy. So we came in one side and went out the other, without stopping.

Another day, I guess, but not tomorrow either. All HEB’s are closed on Easter.

Coming back toward Santa Fe, we got a close-up look at the new Amazon warehouse at the corner of Hwy 96 and FM1266. The gates were open, and it looked finished, but there was not a Prime truck in sight.

Amazon Warehouse Hwy96

With this one, and the one down on I-45 in La Marque, we now have two Amazon warehouses in our vicinity.

As it is right now, I ordered something at 2pm today, it was shipped at 4:15, and I got it at 8pm. If it gets much faster, I’ll be getting stuff before I even order it.

On our way back toward home we made a storeroom visit and dropped off two heaters, two large bags with our winter blankets, and my Rollator, which I haven’t used since Branson back in December. It’s nice to have that stuff out of the way. At least until next Fall.

The onerous task I mentioned was defrosting our freezer. And it turned out to be easier than I had hoped.

The last time our freezer was defrosted was in 2017 when a repair place in Louisiana turned off the rig’s 12 volt system to work on it, and did not turn it back on when they were finished. And without 12 volts, the gas function of the refrigerator doesn’t, well, refrigerate.

So we picked up a rig with a refrigerator with a lot of spoiled food in it.

But this time things worked out better.

We got a large Styrofoam Crawfish Cooler from HEB, as well as a couple of blocks of dry ice that they also sell.

HEB Crawfish Box

At about 2 cu. ft. the cooler was large enough to hold everything from the freezer, with a dry ice block on the bottom. underneath the food, and another block on top. I also put a remote-read thermometer in there too.

At about -100°, the dry ice kept the food frozen solid for more than 24 hours. And by cold, I mean very cold.

Dry Ice Thermometer Reading

Yes, that’s -38°. And it was down to –46 with the lid closed. A lot better than using bags of regular ice. And a lot less messy.

After we removed all the food, and turned the fridge off, we repeatedly heated up Corning Ware casserole dishes full of water in the microwave, placed them in the freezer and closed the door. After we did this 5 or 6 times, I was able to start using a plastic chisel to carefully help the defrosting along.

All told, the total job only took about 4 hours, with most of that just waiting for the hot water to speed things along.

Finishing up, I wiped everything down to dry it, and then then turned the fridge back on. At that point the fridge temp had only climbed up to 40°, not a problem.

Since the stuff in the cooler was staying nice and cold, we decided to let the freezer cool back down, so we waited until this morning to restock it.

Hopefully, that’s done for another few years.

With Brandi and her family up in OK with Lowell’s parents, Jan and I are just doing lunch at Saltgrass for our Easter. I figured they might be pretty busy, so I made a reservation for 2pm.

Mmmm! Steak!

April 16, 2023

Hardly A Day Goes By . . .

Lunch today was at Denny’s once again, with Angie taking her usual great care of us.

Denny's Omelet 20230416

And once again we both had our usual Ultimate Omelets, both pretty much the same, except Jan’s has no Green Peppers and mine has added Ham.

Then it was right across the Interstate for our weekly HEB stuff, and then home, just in time for today’s Amazon Prime delivery.

Hardly a day goes by.

The other day I received a couple of items from Amazon to let me bump up my Amazon Firestick. It only comes with 8GB of internal RAM, which sounds like a lot. But after installing a lot of apps like YouTube, YouTubeTV, Apple+, Pluto, Crackle, etc., you start running out of room to install anything more.

The Firestick has a way to add more memory, but rather than make it easy by just being able to plug in a micro SD card, you have to do it externally, using a USB flash drive and a special cable.

Firestick Cable

OTG Cable

Firestick USB Flashdrive

128GB USB Flashdrive

Then there’s a whole rigamarole on hooking it up, partitioning, and then configuring it. Here’s some more info on how to do it.

How to Add Storage to Fire Stick OS

And for you Mrs. Maisel fans out there, if you didn’t already know, Prime Video started off the 5th (and last) season this past Friday by posting the first 3 episodes. Then they’ll release one new episode a week for the next 6 weeks, which will wrap up the 9 episode season.

One thing new this season is a number of flash-forwards to the 1980’s when, by then, Midge is a big star.

Check it out.

And don’t forget, tomorrow morning at 7pm starts the first launch window for the Starship Heavy down at Boca Chica, TX.

Starship Launch Tower