Daily Archives: April 19, 2024

A Bit Of This, A Bit Of That . . .

As I’ve said before, I never really know what I’m going to be doing when I get into work. And this morning was no different, in that I ended up assembling office equipment.

Specifically a new chair like this.

High Back Office Chair

Turned out to be a really nice chair, very heavy-duty. Our office manager liked it so much I ordered another one for the Shipping area. Only took about 30 minutes to put together. A great deal for only $135.

Jan has an Echo Dot next to her side of the bed, but she wanted one with a clock, so I got her this one.

Echo Dot With Clock

One thing I like is that Amazon can preset your Echo so that you just have to plug it in and it’s ready to go. No setup required.

Jan and I have a travel bag for when we ‘travel’ of course. And it contains several items that we’ve come to depend on, based on past experiences.

First up are these shower handles

We find that more and more motel/hotel showers have absolutely no handles of any kind. And both Jan and I are getting to the point where we like something to hold on to getting in and out of the shower.

So these suction cup models are great. They’re really strong and won’t come loose until you pop the levers.

Next up are these large S hooks. It seems like a lot of the hotel luggage racks no longer have any way to hang up bags, clothes, etc.

So we keep a couple of these in our bag just for that purpose.

Also, we have a number of chargers, cables, and cords to connect just about any device.

But after our Killeen Eclipse trip, we added a couple of more items.

For the first night, I couldn’t get the deadbolt on our door to lock. It wouldn’t turn at all. Plus there was a very large gap under the door. Large, as in letting daylight in.

So I ordered a pair of these door jamb wedges.

Door Jamb Wedge

And for a little extra ‘oomph’, I got this alarm that will go off if the door is even moved a bit.

Door Jamb Wedge Alarm

And it is LOUD!

And the next day I was able to get the deadbolt lock loose up by using a pair of water pump pliers to break it free.

Yesterday, I saw some posts about a SpaceX Super Heavy Starship launch tomorrow, April 20th. But now all those articles seem to have disappeared. So maybe not.

Watch The Skies!

Thought For The Day:

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-front for the urge to rule it.” – H. L. Mencken

Your Retro-Preview Highlights –

2010- La Brea Tar Pits

2013- Ten Worst Bombings In History

2014- Katherine Ross And Me

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 19, 2010

The The Tar Tar Pits…

This late-breaking news just in…

We just found out our upcoming grandchild is a BOY!

His name is Landon.

Today we visited the La Brea Tar Pits, which strangely enough, is in the middle of Beverly Hills. And even stranger, or maybe funnier, The La Brea Tar Pits, actually translates as The The Tar Tar Pits, since “La Brea” means “The Tar”’ in Spanish. Thus the title of this blog.

Anyway, we got there about 11 and decided to eat lunch first at a Marie Callender’s right next door, or as they call it in Beverly Hills, just ‘”Callender’s”. Apparently ‘Marie’” isn’t fancy enough.

And this is not your average Marie Callender’s.


And the food was really upscale too. We both had the Trio lunch plate, which consisted of a gorgonzola-pear salad with walnuts and cranberries, a choice of soup, (Jan had potato cheese, I had chicken tortilla), and a warm turkey/cheese sandwich on focaccia bread. It was all really good. And we were so full we didn’t even have room for pie…then.

After lunch, we walked next door to the Tar Pits. Before we even crossed the street we could smell the asphalt in the air. And walking into the park we could see the results of the asphalt, or at least, the simulated results.

Tar Pit 2

The tar, along with methane gas, bubbles up from the ground and forms large pools. And it’s been doing this for tens of thousands of years. The oldest fossil found here has been dated to 38,000 years ago.

Tar Pit 1

Then rainwater and dirt/grass/leaves accumulate on the surface, masking the tar. Animals come down to drink and get mired in the muck. And sometimes predators come to feast on the “stuckees” and get stuck themselves. Thus a wide range of predators and prey have been excavated from the tar here.

Here is an excavation that’s been underway for years, and tens of thousands of fossils have been found.

Tar Pit 3

Here are the bones of a sabretooth cat that are in the process of being removed.

Tar Pit 4

Many of these animals were much larger than their contemporaries. Here is a medium-sized sloth. And being medium-size, this sloth was only 7 feet high and weighed 1800 pounds!


And again, this ancient bison was much larger than the ones that live today.


This is an American camel, that became extinct over ten thousand years ago.


This is a mother Mastodon and her baby, found together in the tar.


And this is “Zed”, a 13 foot tall Columbian Mammoth, bigger than any elephant alive today


These are the bones of an American Lion, that was larger than any lion or tiger of today, and larger than the sabretooth cat from its own era.

American Lion

This is the skeleton of a horse. What’s different about this is that horses died out in the Americas thousands of years ago, and didn’t return until brought over by the Spanish explorers in the 1500’s.


This short-faced bear was enormous. Larger than any bear today, it was a foot taller than any grizzly and probably weighed a thousand pounds more.

Short-Faced Bear

And this is the sabretooth cat. Sometimes incorrectly called a sabretooth tiger, it is actually closer to today’s housecats, rather than tigers.


This diorama shows a sabretooth trying to munch on a short-faced bear. I think the cat will probably end up as bear chow.


It was really amazing walking around here, thinking about all this going on right where we were standing 20 or 30 thousand years ago.

Leaving the Tar Pits we drove about a mile away to cruise the famous Rodeo Dr.


We saw a lot of expensive cars, and a lot of shops with names we couldn’t pronounce.

Guess I should have been more impressed, but I wasn’t.

Tomorrow we’ll be attending two tapings of the Bonnie Hunt Show that will be shown Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

April 19, 2011

Show Low Eve . . .

Coffee and blueberry muffins started off this ‘Get Ready to Travel” day. Tomorrow we leave the Verde Valley for a few weeks in Show Low, AZ

I had a mental list of things that I wanted to get done, starting with reinstalling the air lifts that hold the cargo bay door open.

Then next I want to air up any tires that needed it, there’s where my problem started. Everything went smoothly until I tried to figure out why I wasn’t getting any reading on the tire pressure sensor on the driver’s side inside dual. I removed the sensor and tried to read the pressure on the valve extension with my gauge.

And got no reading whatsoever.

But since I’d had trouble with tire extensions several times before, I removed the extension and used a screwdriver to press the valve in and heard air, so I knew the tire wasn’t empty.

Now I needed a new extension, so I started calling tire stores. Finally Big O Tires told me that Camelot RV Services stocked them. So off I went to town. It turns out the only ones they stocked that were long enough were the flexible ones, and not the normal rigid ones that I’d used before. So that’s what I got.

Getting back to the rig I installed the valve and got things working again.

My next chore was to finish cutting out the last of my RV Quick Shades to fit my windows.

By then it was about time to meet Dennis and Carol Hill, owners of the RV Driving School, for one last dinner at our favorite local Mexican place, La Fonda.

After a great time at dinner, talking about RV’ing and traveling to Alaska, we finally said our goodbyes, and Jan and I drove over to Camp Verde to check out the Maverik Country Store to see if we can get in and out with our rig to fuel up tomorrow morning. And luckily it looks like we can.

So tomorrow morning, we’ll head out to make the 150 mile trip to Show Low.

More from Show Low tomorrow.

April 19, 2013

How to be Unlucky and Lucky at the same time . . .

Joe Berti is both unlucky and lucky.

He’s unlucky because he was close up and personal at the Boston Bombings.

He’s lucky because he passed the explosion area about 30 seconds before it went off. He was even more lucky (as was his wife) because she was less than 10 yards from the first explosion and came through without a scratch.

He’s unlucky, because three days later he was driving into his hometown of West, TX just as the fertilizer plant explosion took place. His car was rocked by the blast and debris rained down on the roof of his car.

He is lucky because he was once again unhurt.

His wife said they’re going to make him just stand out in a open field for a while in case he attracts any other disasters.

I’ve seen a lot of articles recently talking about how society is coming apart at the seams with all the bombings and other terrorist activities. But when you look a little closer you get a different story.

Would you believe that out of the 10 worst bombings in US history, 5 of them took place more than 80 years ago, and one of them more than 120 years ago?

And 8 of the 10 took place more than 30 years ago.

The 10 Worst Bombings in US History

10) The World Trade Center Bombing (February 26, 1993): A van filled with explosives went off in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center. Almost unbelievably, although over a thousand people were wounded, only six were killed. It could have been much worse because the goal of the bombing had been to take down both towers. Had that happened, the body count would have been even larger than 9/11. The terrorist behind the attack was Ramzi Yousef, who is now serving a life sentence.

9) The Preparedness Day Bombing (July 22, 1916): The Preparedness Day parade was designed to lift morale in San Francisco in anticipation of the possible entry of the United States into World War I. Before the event, anti-war activists were harshly critical and during the parade a suitcase bomb went off, killing 10 and wounding 40. Labor leaders Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings were convicted of the crime and were both eventually sentenced to life in prison. After the two men spent 20 years in jail, Democrat Governor Culbert Olson grew concerned about whether they received a fair trial and pardoned them.

8) The LaGuardia Airport Bombing (December 29, 1975): Four days after Christmas, a powerful bomb that had been placed in a locker at LaGuardia Airport went off. It collapsed the ceiling and fired shrapnel across the room. Eleven people were killed and seventy five were injured by the bomb. Although a number of groups were thought to potentially be responsible including FALN, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Jewish Defense League and also a Croatian nationalist named Zvonko Busic, no organization ever claimed credit and the crime remains unsolved.

7) The Haymarket Affair (May 4, 1886): A protest rally in Chicago led to a clash between anarchists, union members and police. During the protest, an anarchist threw a bomb at the police. A police officer was killed by the bomb and several others were wounded. That led to an exchange of gunfire between the cops and the violent crowd. Seven police officers and four members of the crowd were killed while one hundred twenty people were injured. While no one ever figured out exactly which anarchist actually flung the bomb, seven were prosecuted for the crime. Ultimately, Oscar Neebe received 15 years in prison, Michael Schwab and Samuel Fielden served life in prison, Louis Lingg killed himself while he was jailed and Adolph Fischer, Albert Parsons, George Engel and August Spies were hung.

6) The Los Angeles Times Bombing (October 1, 1910): A bomb wired to 16 sticks of dynamite exploded in an alley next to the Los Angeles Times. The bomb killed 20 employees of the paper and injured another 100. It turned out that two brothers who were members of the Iron Workers Union, John and James McNamara, were angry about the anti-union slant of the Times and set the bomb as retaliation.

5) The Bath School Disaster (May 18, 1927): After losing an election for Township Clerk, School Board Treasurer Andrew Kehoe decided to take revenge by executing what turned out to be the worst massacre at a school in American history. After murdering his wife, Kehoe set off bombs that he had secretly been planting inside the school for months. As rescuers arrived to begin helping the wounded children and teachers, Kehoe drove up in a truck filled with explosives and blew himself up, slaughtering even more people. By the time it was over, 44 people were dead and 58 were injured.

4) The Wall Street Bombing (September 16, 1920): A horse-drawn carriage packed with 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of iron was detonated outside the headquarters of J.P. Morgan Bank on Wall Street. Although anarchists were believed to be responsible, no culprit was ever prosecuted for the bombing that took the lives of 30 people and injured another 300.

3) United Airlines Flight 629 (November 1, 1955): John Gilbert Graham had a poor relationship with his mother, Daisie Eldora King. After taking out 4 life insurance policies on her, he offered his mother a “Christmas present” that turned out to be a bomb. It went off while United Airlines Flight 629 was in the air, 35 miles outside of Denver. All 44 passengers and crew died.

2) Continental Airlines Flight 11 (May 22, 1962): Thomas G. Doty bought a couple of large insurance policies, purchased 6 sticks of dynamite, and then got on Continental Airlines, Flight 11. Doty then committed suicide via explosion in hopes that his wife and child would receive the insurance money. All 45 passengers on the plane died when the bomb knocked the plane out of the sky.

1) The Oklahoma City Bombing (April 19, 1995): Timothy McVeigh, along with his co-conspirators Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier were responsible for destroying a large section of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a truck bomb. They were motivated by anger at the government in general along with the heavy-handed tactics used by the Clinton Administration during the Waco Siege and at Ruby Ridge. There were 169 people killed in the bombing and 675 were wounded.

On a much more cheery note, check out this family with 10 kids in Montgomery, AL.

Homeschooled Kids

They’ve all have been, or are being, homeschooled. But the amazing part is that 6 of them started their college studies by age 12. And that’s just the first six to reach that age.

The oldest of the 4 remaining kids, 10-year-old Katrinnah, plans on taking her college entrance exams next year.

22-year-old daughter Serenneh, is on track to become one of the youngest physicians in American history. And the others are no slouches, with one a spacecraft designer and another, a certified architect.

The family says they’re just ordinary folk. The father was an Army helicopter pilot, and the mother dropped out of nursing school to homeschool the kids.

They have a website called College By Twelve that tells more about how they do it.

And the rest of us wonder “Why Johnny Can’t Read”.

A little after 4pm we headed over to J & M II Chinese Restaurant, our favorite local Chinese restaurant.

Every time we go I keep telling myself that I’m going to have something different, but every time I end up having their delicious Szechwan Garlic Chicken. And having tasted mine last time, Jan changed from her usual Combo Pan-Fried Noodles to the Szechwan Garlic Shrimp.

And of course, along with it, we had Hot & Sour Soup and some Crab Won-Ton.

Everything as good as usual.

April 19, 2014

Laid-Back Saturday . . .

Not much at all happened today. Just a nice, quiet day around the rig.

It was nice enough outside that Mister stayed outside on his leash until it got hot enough for the AC in the rig to come on, then we brought him inside, much to his displeasure. He really likes being outside, but we’re always outside with him, or leave the door open, at least. Many times we leave the screen door open and he just comes in on his own. Otherwise, he knows to bang on the screen door to be let in, to either eat or used the litter box. He won’t go outside.

Jan spent part of the afternoon making her Sausage Balls and Squash Casserole for tomorrow’s Easter get-together at Brandi’s. If we showed up without the Sausage Balls, there might be rioting. The first thing some people ask coming in the door is, “Are the Sausage Balls here yet?”

While she was working on that, I went into Conroe to get $5.00 in quarters and ten $1 scratch-off tickets. Jan puts the quarters and scratch-offs into individual plastic eggs that will be hidden for the kids to find at tomorrow’s Easter Egg hunt.

The scratch-offs are for $500 a week for 20 years, I.e. $520,000. I told Jan I wondered how we’d feel if someone won the big prize from a ticket we gave them. Then I figured we could just tell the kid we’d give him this whole bag of candy for that piece of cardboard. Hopefully, he’d fall for it.

For dinner I heated up some of the Rudy’s BBQ we got on Wednesday. Along with that we also had a can of Bush’s Bourbon and Brown Sugar Grillin’ Beans. Even better, we’ve still got enough for another meal.

Later, for dessert, Jan and I split one of the Tres Leches that we got at Randall’s yesterday. Very good Tres Leches.

Tomorrow Jan and I will head down to Brandi’s about 10am for the big Easter meal. Then Monday morning we’ll head back over to the Colorado River TT park for a week or so.

April 19, 2015

Hey! It’s Vegas, Baby!

Jan and I were up about 6am to get ready for our 305 mile trip up to the Las Vegas Thousand Trails where we’ll be for the next two weeks.

Since I had done so much packing away yesterday, I didn’t really have a lot to do this morning. So after having our coffee and the Jack in the Box’s breakfast sandwiches we picked up yesterday afternoon, I first put away all the Satellite/DVR stuff.

Our 32” TV normally sits up on the front console, but when we travel, it rides on the floor on my side of the bed with a couple of pillows around it, so that just takes a minute or so to store it away.

Then I went outside and stowed away the Winegard Satellite Dome and the stand I put it on. I used to just set it on the ground, but a few years ago when we were in Houston for our 3 month winter-over, our satellite quit working. When I checked it out, I found an ant nest that completely filled the dome. So now it sits up on a foldup work stand.

I cranked up about 7:45 and I pulled out about 10 minutes later with Jan following me in the truck. Getting down to the highway, I got us hitched up and we pulled out on the highway about 8:15.

The trip was pretty smooth, at least until we got west of Kingman. Then the road pretty much became one continuous washboard. They did have a couple of long construction areas where they brought both sides over to the same side, and were completely redoing the other side. So there’s hope for the future.

We pulled into the Las Vegas Thousand Trails about 2pm after unhitching about a mile down the Boulder Hwy. Then everything kind of ground to a halt. There was nobody in the guard shack. And no one answered the intercom, either.

So after about 10 minutes of just sitting there, I walked into the park and back to the office. And it was locked up tight with no one around. And by the time I got back to the rig, there were two more rigs behind us. Finally, the ranger showed up, saying she had been leading someone to a site.

We finally got parked over in the new upgraded area in a 50amp site. In fact, it’s so new and upgraded that the 50 amp here is $5 a day extra rather than the usual $3. But when I started to write the check out for $70, I was told there was tax to be added.

When I asked, “How much?”, she hit a few keys on her calculator and said, “78.40.” Yikes!  Some quick mental calculations told me that’s a 12% tax rate. Yikes again.

When I later complained to Jan about it, she just looked over and said, “Hey! It’s Vegas, Baby!

April 19, 2016

Change of Plans . . .

The weather really eased up today with no more rain, at least for the Conroe area. But more is still possible, at least up until this Friday. As it stands now, 7 people have died, mostly from just driving into flooded areas.

Today was a rig cleaning day for Jan so she waited to take her shower until she was done. And a few minutes after she got in, I heard a scream, so I ran into the bathroom to see what was happening.

I found Jan terrified, trying to hide from a tiny spider on the floor of the shower. The spider was crouching at the other side, as far away from Jan as it could get. I figured that the spider was probably screaming too, but probably only a dog could hear it.

But she didn’t want me to kill it, so I had to pick it up in a tissue and throw it outside. So out the door it went.

Now this is a woman who has killed scorpions, large ones, by stomping on them while wearing sandals. But she’s scared of an arachnid half the size of a dime.

But I figure that spider wrangling is one of the reasons she keeps me around so it works for me.

A little before 7pm, Barbara Spade, a ranger at the Colorado River Thousand Trails called to tell me our reservation for two weeks starting this Sunday has been cancelled due to the flooding there. So I guess now we’ll be making our Lake Medina sojourn a little earlier than we had planned. I’ve already changed our reservation from Colorado River to Lake Medina, so we’re good to go.

I’ve done some rearranging and updating of some blog stuff. I set up Jan’s Favorite Recipes as individual dropdown pages.

April 19, 2017

Cruising The Strip . . .

Again, thanks for the kind comments about my Paul Revere screed. I’ve always enjoyed history, especially the misconceptions and mythical parts.

In fact one semester in college I took 3 history courses all at the same time as electives.

One reader asked if there were all these other riders, how come Paul Revere got all the press? I guess you might say he had a better press agent. Or at least had Henry Wadsworth Longfellow write a poem about him.

So why did Longfellow write about Paul Revere when there were other riders, and Revere didn’t even make it to Concord? Well, one reason stated was that Paul Revere was the best-known of the bunch. A well-known and prosperous Boston silversmith, he was well-connected with the Revolutionary leadership, and a prominent member of the Sons of Liberty.

But there are some whispers that Longfellow found the name Revere easier to rhyme than Dawes, Prescott, or Bissell. Or especially Ludington.

And not surprisingly Longfellow took a lot of liberties (artistic license?) with the storyline in the poem.

For example, Revere did not observe the two lanterns in the old North Church tower, saying the British troops were coming by sea. In fact he was the one who ordered the lanterns placed in the tower in the first place.

Longfellow’s poem was not written until 1860, but even then some people were upset that Paul Revere got all the acclaim. Helen F. Moore even penned a parody poem on the subject.

‘Tis all very well for the children to hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;

But why should my name be quite forgot,

Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?

Why should I ask? The reason is clear—

My name was Dawes and his Revere

But note that she didn’t try to rhyme anything with Dawes either.

I did get my exhaust pipe strap hanger installed this afternoon and it works fine.

Generator Exhaust Strap Hanger

So that’s fixed now.

About 4pm Jan and I headed back down to the Henderson area to once again have dinner at Golden Flower Chinese Restaurant, a place that friends turned us onto. And this time we had a dinner companion.

Boots Gibson, a long-time blog reader lives in Las Vegas and wanted to get together. So Golden Flower was the perfect place.

Turns out that Boots and Jan have a lot in common, both having worked in the medical field for many years, so they hit it off pretty quick.

Boots Gibson et al

We had our usual great meal and spent over two hours there. I think our waitress was wondering if we were going to start all over and order again.

Later, about 7:30 Jan and I headed over to the Vegas Strip to do our drive from the top to the bottom. We both enjoy watching some of the amazing outfits people actually wear out in public as they parade along the street.

Getting down to the bottom of the Strip at the airport, we head back over to Flamingo Rd. to have a piece of pie at Blueberry Hill Restaurant, known for their homemade pies. And it certainly shows.

And tastes.

April 19, 2018

Neighbors . . .

About 3:30 Jan and I headed up to Webster, first so Jan could get her haircut at her favorite SuperCuts, or at least her favorite stylist at her favorite SuperCuts.

While she was there, I went down the block to the office to pick up some Amazon stuff that came in today, and passed on some info to my client. And when I got back to the SuperCuts Jan was just coming out. Perfect timing.

Our next stop was right down the road to have dinner again at East Star China Buffet, where we ate just last week with Chris, Linda, and Piper. And it was just as good as last time.

But, unlike last time when I had Shrimp, Shrimp, and Shrimp, this time I only had Shrimp and Shrimp. Don’t want to get in a rut.

When we pulled into the parking lot we found ourselves right behind a big tour bus unloading ahead of us, so we thought we’d had a big delay, but except for an initial stampede, it cleared out very quickly, and we had no problems.

Finishing up, and heading home, we made a Lowe’s stop for a few things for a new project I’m working on. I’ll have more details later.

I mentioned over the last couple of days about Katherine Ross, my former next-door neighbor, so here’s a repeat of that post.

Hair Dryers and Hollywood February 17, 2017

This kind of made me think of a new game where you link yourself to another person you know through one or more celebrities.

And with my cousin Joy, she’s met Roy Orbison who knew Johnny Cash and then back to me. So we have a Bacon Number of 3. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she put some thought to it, Joy could come up with some more names that might get us down to a BN of 2. Because I actually have a bunch more too.

It’s fun to thing about.

Now since my friend Tricia spilled the beans on the whole Katherine Ross hair dryer thing and several people asked, here goes.

For the first five Shuttle launches, I was part of the NASA television crew that was set up on White Sand Missile Range at a location called Northrup Strip. Northrup Strip was designated as the backup landing site for the Shuttle.

STS-1 and STS-2 both landed on the dry lake bed at Dryden with no problems. But when STS-3 came along in March 1982, problems. Between the Shuttle launch on the 22nd and the landing scheduled on the 30th, heavy rains flooded the lake bed and made a landing impossible.

At this point the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center was still under construction, so White Sands it was. And when it was announced that the Shuttle would be landing there, it seemed like the entire world invaded the little New Mexico town of Alamogordo where we were staying.

There were only two nice motels there, a Best Western and a Holiday Inn. Located side by side, I think they may have both been owned by the same people, since they shared the same restaurant and the bar.

We probably only had 30 people staying at the hotels, but when pretty much every television crew and film crew in the world descended on the town, they found both motels already full. And that’s because, without a lot of publicity, they were filming part of a movie there. And the stars and the crew were taking up most of the other rooms.

The movie in question was “Wrong Is Right”, a dark comedy starring Sean Connery, Katherine Ross, Robert Conrad, Leslie Nielson, John Saxon, and others. There were other stars in the movie whose names you would recognize, but these are the ones concerned because they were staying at the hotels with us.

The sands of White Sands were standing in for sands of Saudi Arabia which is where part of the movie was supposed to be taking place. So they were here for a couple of weeks to get those shots.

Now before all the Shuttle Landing commotion, we had a nice tight little group, with both the movie and NASA people. We even had several astronauts with us, Anna and Bill Fisher, and Story Musgrave.

We all got along great, trading autographs for Shuttle patches, etc., getting drunk together in the bar, and sometimes some of us eating together in the restaurant.

Sean Connery was full of great stories about shooting other movies on location, including the Bond films, while Robert Conrad and Leslie Nielson were constantly throwing jokes back and forth at each other. Katherine Ross didn’t say a lot, but seemed content to listen and laugh at the jokes, and she had a beautiful laugh.

Then one morning as I’m almost ready to leave my room to go down for breakfast and then leave for White Sands, there was a knock at the adjoining door to the next room. Not knowing who was staying next door, but figuring it was a NASA type, I open it to find Katherine Ross standing there wearing a robe and with a towel wrapped around her hair.

And she was holding up a hair dryer by the cord like it was a dead rat.

“You do electrical stuff, right? Can you fix my hair dryer? I’m already running late and it keeps going on and off every time I move.”

“Let me guess. You always unplug it by just yanking on the cord, right?”

“Well, yes.”

Now luckily for Katherine, I had a side business at the time. I soldered up computer boards for a couple of local computer stores in the Houston area. Back when I worked for the Department of Defense, they sent me up to the NASA Certified Soldering School at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. so my boards looked like they were factory done.

The stores would give me the blank circuit boards and all of the individual parts, IC’s, transistors, resistors, caps, etc. I would then populate them and solder them up. I got paid $10 a board and I could do 3 or 4 an hour. Good money for 1982, especially since I was doing 100 at a time.

But what this all meant was that I had tools with me in my room since I always brought a bunch of boards with me on these trips. And I just happened to have a replacement AC plug to boot.

So it only took me a couple of minutes to snip off the old one and install the new one, which garnered me a Thank You! and a quick hug from Katherine Ross.

Now the next night the bar was kind of quiet, with only the NASA people and some of the film crew there, with the stars all off at some press thing. But things picked up when Katherine walked in, dressed to the nines. Like Academy Award night nines.

She walked up to the big round table where I sitting with 6 or 8 other guys and stopped in front of me.

“Thank you for what you did for me this morning. I really appreciate it.”

“No problem. I was glad I could help.”

Then she winked at me and walked off.

There was dead silence around the table, with all eyes on me.

Well, at least after Katherine left the bar.

And my reputation among my coworkers was greatly enhanced.

It’s hard to top this one

April 19, 2019

This Is Getting Real . . .

This is what Jan said when we started going through the “Goody Bag” that our friend and travel agent, Chantelle Nugent, sent us today.

It contains all the tickets, luggage tags, passport holders, ID badges, itineraries, and information we need for our trip. WOW!

We picked it up at the PO tonight on our way home from our ‘Monterey’s for dinner / Alvin Opry for fun’ evening. Saw a lot of old friends and heard a lot of great singers and songs. And the new venue at the Alvin American Legion Hall is really.

Tomorrow morning we’re heading up to Brandi’s for a couple of days for swimming and Easter dinner. Really looking forward to it.

Wrapping up this short blog, I thought you might be interested in this close-up of the 27 Merlin rocket engines that recently propelled the second Falcon Heavy into space.

Falcon Heavy Engines

April 19, 2020

the fine print . . .

I was back on the phone with our friend/travel agent Chantelle Nugent this afternoon, talking about changing our September 2020 Holland America 12 day Alaskan Cruise to May 2021. And as they say, ‘the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.’

We had been told that we would receive a 125% credit from our canceled cruise to apply toward a new one. So we were looking at about a $1500 surplus to apply to upgrades, excursions, the gift shop, etc. But in the fine print, you find out the 125% only applies to the amount you’ve already paid.

Which was the $600 deposit we made back last October, with the remaining $5600 due this coming June. So we got an additional $125.00 rather than $1500.

But we did come out about another $600 ahead because our new May 2021 cruise is that much cheaper than our September 2020 one. So we decided to take that total $725, add another $675, and bump our room up from an Inside one,

Holland America Alaska Inside Room

to a Verandah room like this one.

Holland America Alaska Verandah Room

Of course, if we really wanted to splurge, for $3600 extra, we could have bumped up to a Pinnacle Suite.

Holland America Alaska Pinnacle Suite

“It includes a living room, dining room, pantry with microwave and refrigerator, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a private verandah with whirlpool. The bedroom features a king-size bed, plus a separate dressing room and the bath includes an oversized whirlpool bath and shower as well as an additional shower stall. There’s also a sofa bed, suitable for two people, and a guest toilet. Amenities include a private stereo system, use of the exclusive Neptune Lounge, a private concierge and an array of complimentary services.”

So it has two bathrooms, one with a whirlpool tub/shower AND a separate shower. And another whirlpool on a private verandah.

And at 1134 sq. ft., it’s the size of some small homes.

For dinner this evening I did an online Curbside Pickup order at Whataburger, and as before, we ate it in our car in the WalMart parking lot. Just as delicious as always.

I’ve been thinking recently about some of the societal changes brought about by the WuFlu, and how many will be temporary and how many will hang around.

Here’s the list I’ve come up with so far.

Working Remotely/Working From Home
Online Food Ordering Pickup/Delivery
Online Grocery Pickup/Delivery
Telehealth Appointments
Doctors Able to Work Across State Lines
Online Education/Homeschooling
TV Remote Productions from Home
Live Streaming of New Movies
  and most importantly
Alcoholic Drinks to Go

What are your additions?

Tomorrow morning on my way to work, I’m going by my doctor’s office to get the WuFlu Antibody Test, and the results should only take 15-20 minutes so I should know before I leave. If I have had it, then we’ll get Jan tested too.

April 19, 2021

And Now For Something Completely Different . . .

Now that Jan’s patio area is finished and up and running,

Jan's Patio Area Completed 2

it’s time to get back to some other stuff around the rig that’s on my list, most of it maintenance chores of one type or the other.

Things like flushing out the water heater, putting the windshield solar screens back up, cleaning out the dryer vent hose, and replacing the sliding window in the rig’s screen door.

Then the biggies are to install a new fuel pump and fuel filter in the rig’s generator and try to get it working again. If that doesn’t work, there’s a nearby company that works on Onan and other generators, both mobile and stationary, so I’ll have them come out and take a look at it. Would have been nice to have in during the recent freeze.

And then, of course, there’s the real big one, getting the engine’s oil leak fixed so the rig is drivable again. Not that we’re going to do any RV traveling, but it would be nice to be able to get out of the way of an oncoming hurricane if necessary.

Then on the Jeep, I want to clean off the discoloration on the headlight lenses, and then probably replace the bulbs with much brighter LED ones, finishing up with new tires and an oil change before we leave on our Illinois/Alabama trip the first part of June.

Tomorrow looks to be another errand day starting with lunch at our long-time favorite King Food Chinese. Really looking forward to a big bowl of their Hot & Sour Soup. Then coming home, Cowboy Coffee and sitting out on the patio for a while.

April 19, 2022

Old Friends and BBQ . . .

I got a new toy the other day, but I won’t be able to really play with it until Thursday.

It’s a Alexa-Controlled Smart Thermostat.

Alexa Thermostat

Made by Honeywell, it should be a direct replacement for the Honeywell one we have now.

Honeywell Thermostat

Which was a replacement for the round one that was in the coach when we bought it in 2007.

Honeywell Round Thermostat

Just one more thing that Alexa controls in our coach.

Things like our Power Converter, our Firestick, the fan in the bedroom, the coffee pot, the light over the sofa, the table lamp, our Jellyfish lamp, and the dryer fan motor. And probably a few others I’ve forgotten.

I fully expect that someday I’ll tell Alexa to do something and she’ll say, “I’m sorry, Greg. I can’t do that.”

And then take over the coach.

About 11:30 Jan and I drove over to Pearland to have lunch with Bonnie Horner, an old friend and former hospital co-worker of Jan’s. And we ended up having BBQ for lunch at an old favorite of ours, Central Texas BBQ.

We started eating here back in the early ‘80’s, and it was a regular stop for us. But we haven’t eaten here since before we started RV’ing in 2008.

And it was good to be back, and just as good as always.

And it was good to be able to spend some time with Bonnie again. We’ll have to do it again soon.

April 19, 2023

Expiration Dates?

Back in 2015 while we were staying in Prescott, AZ while our rig was being repaired after our big blowout, we were in Sam’s Club one day and came across a display of this Campbell’s Slow Kettle Tomato and Sweet Basil Bisque.

Campbell Slow Kettle Soup

Since Tomato Basil is Jan’s favorite, we grabbed a box of 4 to give it a try. And that night we both agreed that it was the best ‘canned’ soup we’ve ever had. So we went back the next day to buy some more.

And as happens, the display was MUCH smaller, with only 8 boxes left. So we bought all 8, for only $1.89 a box, 10 cents less than the $1.99 yesterday.

Though we ate them often over the next few months, somehow the last 3 boxes got pushed to the back of the pantry, and I guess we lost track of them.

Until the other day. And so tonight I decided to try one for supper. Even though the Expiration Date was December 2015.

So I figured I’d pop the top, give it a sniff, and then go from there.

And it looked fine, and it sniffed good. So I stuck my finger in and tried it.

And it tasted good.

So 3 minutes later I had a delicious bowl of Tomato and Sweet Basil Bisque. Just as good as always.

And we’ve still got 11 more bowls. So much for expiration dates.

Today was Jan’s follow-up appointment with her oncologist, really just a formality since she had a good report from her mammogram yesterday.

So all we’ve got left is our last consult follow-ups with our GP next Tuesday. Then hopefully we’re done for this year.

Tomorrow we’re heading up to Conroe to meet up with our old RV friends, Debi and Ed Hurlburt, and hopefully Janice and Dave Evans. We’re meeting them at La Pizca (The Pinch) restaurant there, the same location as last month’s get-together. Really good.

Though it’s not definite, don’t forget to check out the possible SpaceX Starship Heavy launch tomorrow morning with the window opening about 8:30am.