Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving of Thanks Day

Toby running through the fall woods a couple of weeks ago.

It was 59 degrees yesterday... inside the house.  But that's what you get in an old 1929 house, without insulation, during a cold snap.  Flannel lined jeans and sweatshirts, in case your wondering.

I've managed to land a "survival job" as Greg calls it.  Telephone Tech-Support in a company called ACS.  ACS does tech-support and customer service work for various companies, and is a worldwide company with some 80,000 employees.  They're doing an expansion in Tualatin and the huge amount of hiring they are doing even made the news a few weeks back.

Monday, November 15, 2010

None of the Above

In many political elections we often here about the wish to choose None-of-the-Above.

While surfing I came across a blog post with a poll; Which candidate would you vote for: Randy Leonard or Naked Woman? Amongst the comments to the blog post was this: "Heck, I'd pick a randomly chosen fully clothed woman in that race." This got me to thinking. . .

None-of-the-Above has always seemed a futile and impractical idea, but what about "Randomly-Chosen-Citizen" as an alternative candidate to every election race?

Lately it seems we are quite often faced in the polling booth with the dilemma of choosing the lesser of two evils. Many of us also wish for some choice other than career politicians. We have the nagging thought that anybody who actually wants to be in an elected office is probably not a great choice to direct the future of our country. Sometimes 'anybody but these goons' might actually be a reasonable and logical vote to cast.

How would "Randomly-Chosen-Citizen" work? It would appear on the ballot as just that. If it wins the election, a person randomly selected from the voter registration roles is sworn into office (with their acceptance of course). The randomness could be guaranteed with the voter registration number being chosen by the throw of dice. Two die yield 2 through 12, 11 possible outcomes, making a base-11 numerical digit. Eight or nine throws of the die creates a number large enough to cover the population. Why dice? Dice have proven their randomness by the test of time (throughout the ages). They can be thoroughly examined (measured, x-ray'd) for correctness. Specify the throw standards, say the same rules as casino craps, and use an impartial thrower, say... a six year old kid, and the randomness and impartiality are guaranteed.

There's the typical lament that sending the naive to DC is a bad idea because they don't understand and can't handle the wheeling and dealings of the DC political game (insert any word you'd like for 'game'), but isn't someone who is not part of this corrupt game what we're all currently yearning for?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bugging Out

When we cleaned out Keith's in May I vacuumed up the dried remnants of a bug infestation around the windows inside the upstairs bedrooms. Well it seems they're back.
I assume they are hatching out from underneath the shingle siding. It seems to be just this East facing wall which catches the morning sun.
I'm not sure just what the little boogers are. It might be fun to surf the internet and find out.

Update: Well that didn't take long. They appear to be "Box Elder Bugs", also known as "Garage Beetles" and "Stink Bugs", although the name Stink Bugs has been applied to many different bugs.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Warm Beer

Found Keith's place without power this week. Seemed to have been out a while, there was no water pressure at all and the fridge was warm. After checking a few things I found the power meter (which is a newer style with digital display) had no display. I called PGE and while chatting with them found the cause at the power pole. The high voltage connection to the transformer... well... fell out. It's just a little old it seems. The transformer supplies only Keith's house so nobody else had reported a power outage.
It wasn't a busy day for power crews, so these guys were out within an hour.
All put back together, and the beer is saved!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Douglas Adams Day

October 10, 2010
Oct 10, '10

101010 in binary,
which is ...
42 in decimal

the answer to the great question of
the meaning of
"Life, the Universe, and Everything."

42 in base 13 is ...
54 in decimal,
and therefore is equal to ...
the actual "great question":
"what do you get when you multiply six by nine?"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just Some Pictures

Where the barn was. The new grass coming up through the old hay mulch. ( pic from a couple of weeks ago).
Where the hay barn, cattle shed, and old fiberglass shed used to be.
The pond at its lowest, late August. The creek still had puddles all the way down it, but no visibly running water.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Going John Galt

In surfing for some commentary on "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, and for stories of "Going Galt" I came across the following article. It's not an exceptional article, it could use more detail and length, but it gives a good start to showing the novel's relevance to today's politics.

The website it's posted on looks interesting also, so I've added a link to the sidebar for further investigation. The site's "About Us" page is pretty good:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bad Engineer, Bad!

What should be added to a Belkin Wireless Router.

The Belkin wireless router has no power switch, no reset button, no switch or button of any kind. It has a power module (wall-wart) which plugs into it. That's it.

This implies that the only time it needs to boot and initialize is the very first day you buy it and plug it in, that somehow its electronics, functioning, and programming are so immaculately stable and self correcting that it will never need to be reset, EVER!

Personally I think some bean-counter was saving 2 cents on a switch component.

Unemployment Future

I'm a fan of vintage science fiction.

The stuff from the 1950's to 70's (pre- personal computer / internet time frame.) The sort of stuff where computational machines are actually smaller than a room, and where brilliant, space traveling scientists build an artificial intelligent computer out of vacuum tubes and relays.

Here's one which keeps popping to mind lately; "Commune 2000 A.D." by Mack Reynolds. It has three S.F. premises which struck me as significant ideas.

1. a portable hand held device which acts as telephone, connection to retail ordering, financial transactions, and information retrieval. In other words . . . the iPhone/iPod.

2. a possible future of automotive transportation in which there is no public mass transit but also no privately owned automobiles. It works a little like the taxi cabs of New York City. All automobiles are owned and maintained by the government. When you need transportation you press a key on your iPhone and a computer dispatches the nearest available cab to you, knowing where you are by locating your phones position (GPS). You decide when to release the cab (you can keep it waiting while shopping or visiting your cabin in the woods). You PAY for the time of use, it's not a free government benefit. Because nobody owns a car; garages, driveways, parking lots, etc are for the most part eliminated. Individual problems are also eliminated; payments, maintenance, updating, and disposal. What makes a system like this actually possible, practical, and affordable? Computerized robotic driving of the automobiles. When you request a cab, the nearest empty (and unmanned) vehicle starts its motor and drives itself to your location. With the coordination handled automatically by computer the cab arrives in only a couple of minutes (no waiting 20 minutes for a tri-met bus). In addition you can chose to tell the cab to drive itself to your destination or choose manual operation and drive it yourself. No traffic jams because flow of traffic (speed, route, etc) is determined by coordinated robotic drivers.

3. One of the main themes of the book is that industries, the production of all desired goods of society, has been automated by technology to the point where the entire population is provided for by the work of only 5% of the population. There is simply nothing (nothing necessary) for the rest of the population to do. All adults not working receive the UGI (Universal Guaranteed Income). The premise is that only a tiny fraction of this population devolve into mindless, sloth-like, creatures watching tv all day. The available jobs are fiercely competed for with the most menial job requiring PhD's to be in the running. The jobs are even limited to a few years so that others will have a chance at a career. Even so, the vast majority go their lives without working.

The plot is an investigator hired by the government to find out what these people are doing. What are they doing? Well that's another topic . . .

P.S. Why does this book come to mind you ask? (no I haven't read it recently) It's all the news articles about how so many of the jobs recently lost . . . will never come back.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Curent Light Reading

This book has popped up in numerous places as I've surfed the web-ether over the last few years so I finally got around to reading it. I reserved a copy at the library, all copies in Portland seem to be on constant hold, and picked it up a week and a half ago. I was in the middle of another novel so it sat on my nightstand for a week before I got to it. Now I'm barely 1/5th of the way into it and I'm getting emails from the library telling me it's due in a couple of days. I can't renew it because it's already on reserve by someone else.

So far it's such a good read that I know I'll want to re-read it again in the future, so I scrambled through Powell's website and ran out and bought my own copy yesterday. The library's copy was a huge hardcover that's difficult to hold while reading in bed. The copy I found is a standard sized small paperback and was only $6.95 used.

I'm not able to post a quote from the book here . . . simply put, there are way too many good quotes to chose from.

I'm hoping for some bit of a happy ending. It will be incredibly sad if the honest and brave, hard-working, capitalist loses to the insane anti-logic of the utopian socialists.

P.S. It kept popping up on the web as relevant to current events that I was bowled over to find it was written in 1957!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Still Boldly Going at 79

He’s late. He calls to explain. “A mix-up,” he says, and then, “I read all your stories.” Pause. “You. Are. A. Grrreat. Writer.” Another pause. “What’s your name?” I tell him. He says, “Of course it is.” I ask what his name is. “MY NAME? I. Am. William. Shatner!”

This is a great magazine article. It's long but worth the read for any fan of Shatner.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bank Runs - Part II

Problem banks . . .
The FDIC reported a second consecutive increase in its deposit insurance fund, -snip- but it still operates in the red, with a deficit of $15.2 billion.

Aaaaahhhh, so that's the reason to advertise with the typical government double-talk that "everything is OK folks, nothing to see here, move along . . . your deposits are safe."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anti-Imperialists !!!

"I support the right of the Jedi to build a temple, but does it have to be two blocks from the ruins of the Death Star?"

from: Cedar Posts and Barbwire Fences: Tweet of the Day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

London on a Shoestring

More highway-side-little-Oregon-towns adventures.
North on I-5, south of Cottage Grove. According to the map beyond Scotts Valley is the town of "London", London Oregon that is.
From all I could see Scotts Valley consists of one little school building a short distance from I-5. I couldn't find any community center at all.
As you go up into the valley the road is intermittently pavement and gravel. Here we come across a doe and her fawn standing by the side of the road.
At a junction, one road goes south to Elkhead, and the other turns north to London. Up on the crest of a ridge you go from the gravel road of Douglas county to the much better paved road of Lane county. The road sign isn't just funny for what it says, but for the fact it's on a little road out in the country in the middle of nowhere.
Coming into London you come to a tee in the road and find yourself looking at Church at London. London seems to consist of a Grange, Church, School, and Mini-Mart. All spaced at least 1/4 mile from each other. The sign for the Grange pointed south so we didn't get to see it.
I didn't catch the name of the road that London sits on, but the road we came in on is called "Shoestring road", so seeing London on a Shoestring is possible . . . in Oregon.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The NYC Cordoba Mosque

Even if:
The owners, financial backers, builders, imams, members, and patrons of the mosque are completely innocent of anything and everything you could think of, and they have complete legal rights of property ownership to build a religious facility.

You cannot deny;
That the fanatic, hard-line, Islamic terrorists around the world and those that support them will view the 13 story mosque overlooking the WTC neighborhood as a symbolic monument of triumph and victory. That these same groups, who wish the US and its citizens harm, will celebrate its construction and be emboldened, encouraged, and aided in their propaganda to continue their terrorist jihad against the US and western civilization.

Now . . .
It is the primary purpose and duty of the United States government to protect its citizens. Does that not include deterring and prohibiting aide to those that have sworn to do us harm?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bank Runs?

Was listening to the radio today when I heard a commercial that struck me as being rather odd. It said something like "and for 75 years not one customer has lost one cent in FDIC insured accounts". I wasn't listening at first and I thought it was an ad for a bank. I snickered at the stupidity of the statement, of course an insured account didn't lose money, and then as the ad continued I realized the ad was by the FDIC itself!

Now I've heard bank ads before mentioning their FDIC insurance but I don't recall an ad directly from the FDIC. It makes me wonder two things. The first is my fiscal conservative attitude kicking in and saying 'why is the government spending money on ads to tell people something that everyone knows?' The second I guess is from a conspiracy slant, 'why the sudden need to reassure the public that their bank deposits are safe?'

Is there something happening with bank deposits that I haven't heard on the news. My understanding of the current economy was that people in fear of losing jobs are paying down debts, not spending money, and saving more money than they have in nearly a decade. So if people are putting money in the bank rather than the stores, why is the government needing to reassure depositors?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Patricia Neal 1926-2010

Actress Patricia Neal passed away a couple of days ago. I remember her most for her role of "Maggie" in "In Harm's Way" a John Wayne WWII movie. I think this is one of the best love scenes ever filmed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sympathy for Bacon

An article at PJMedia with a few things I've thought all along.
for Islam is not merely a religious doctrine, but a comprehensive socio-economic and political system. . .

“The war is about the survival of Western civilization,

The root article the PJMedia article refers to is even better.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Presidential Media Appearance

My thoughts on our president's choice of public media appearances.
(OK, so I'm no expert at paintshop (gimp actually).

Next up, the president will discuss national security with the Teletubbies . . .

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Simple Truth

I was reading an article online and all the various politically biased comments that followed it. One reoccurring theme was how the currently elected politicians do not represent the majority of citizens. Then it hit me . . . a simple truth . . .

Politicians don't listen to the silent majority.

Now . . . whose fault is that?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Demolition week

The demolition work by Tabert Excavation and Trucking is completed. Sorry, but I don't yet have any good "after" pictures. The stark sunshine and shadow of mid-day photography makes for lousy shots, I'll try again some late evening this week. In the meantime here's some "during" photos.
The 500 gallon fuel tank that was beneath the little wood shed built on the pickup trailer. Tabert took this home for use.

Here he's crushing tanks. He would flatten these out like you wouldn't believe.

Here's an "after shot" of where the barn used to be. I swept the concrete and put some new gravel at the right end so far. The brown pipe with gray cap is the water well-head. He did a great job of filling in and reshaping the area. However, Keith had brought in so much fill dirt along the road side of the field that the barn area is still a low spot with no drainage slope. It will take a dozer to shape the entire area and field to get proper water drainage, but that's the next owner's task.

A load of tires and wheels. This is just the stuff from around the house and off of scrapped trailers. The local Sherwood Les-Schwab dealer took them for recycle and actually charged less than the county dumps. This load also included 7 batteries out of the mill building that looked 20 years old.

The white piece on top is the garden shed van. The brown is an old dump truck bed that sat beside the fuel tank and had been half buried with a pile of sand/gravel.

Having Fun

Cleaning the fields of weed seeds. This happens each time he goes to the farm. Luckily it only takes 15 minutes or so to brush it out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Demolition started

Tuesday and Wednesday saw a lot of demolition progress. Part of the job is he has to separate the material into different piles before hauling away; wood, metal, garbage.
In addition to the big track-hoe and dump truck he brought these little toys also for going up to the mill building. His business is just down the road near Hwy99 so bringing extra equipment is not that big of a deal. That black blur in the foreground is dog-a-roo tearing around the corner of the garage. After another big day at the farm he is moving very slowly this morning.

The toyota and buick are gone, and the realtor sign is now in place. No news from the realtor on prospects (at least not to my ears).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pirate Update and misc. . .

Here's the link for the Realtor listing of the Stearn's Estate. JohnLScott.

Saw the eye-doc this morning. Everything will be fine. Although the cornea is scratched, these things not only heal completely but also very fast. He's talking healed in 2 or 3 days at the most. I'm staying home today to rest it (eye doc's always use that stuff that dilate your eyes and your pretty much useless for several hours anyway). I took some pictures but without a mono-chromatic light source it's hard to see the scratches. All that can be seen is a small red dot of bruising. My vision is much improved already though still slightly blurry. The doc did give me some anti-biotic drops to use today and tomorrow.

Pirate Day !!

Aaaarrrh Matey, avast tha' look an' bring me some coffee!

While mowing lawns on the riding lawn mower, I had a tree branch whip back and smack me in the eye good and hard, and fast enough I didn't get the eyelids closed. I have a scratched cornea. I don't think it's serious, I'm given the impression these things heal OK.

I saw a doc at the Sherwood urgent care clinic who examined it well, wrote me a prescription for vicodin, and patched it up. A tetanus shot and some eye ointment also. He wanted me to check in again today, but instead of driving to Sherwood I'll go see Beth's Ophthalmologist here in Portland.

I met with Tabert Excavation yesterday about the demolition of the barn and so on. He'll be starting today and figures a few days this week and one or two next week. We're also getting a general garbage dumpster like we did before to finish out the house and mill building garbage.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bats, Bambi, and Barrels

The hydrangea is blooming at the Stearn's Estate. Summer is here.
Bats in the garage attic. I'm guessing there are 16, maybe 18 up there (see those hiding behind the stud). These guys are quite small, not much bigger than a mouse. They eat bugs, so I'm all for leaving them be.
Bambi of Brookwood Road.
Fencing completed on the first two sections. Mowing the fields around the house really does give the place a nice appearance. I met and chatted with the realtor for a few minutes last week. The realtor has placed small signs on the property and a large one should be coming soon.
The cleanup progresses slowly. Last week it seemed a lot of people were on vacation but this week things should start moving again. The guy who bought the pickup and Buick should be coming to get them now that we have titles (he has to arrange a tow-truck for the buick). I've had a guy show serious interest in the JohnDeere tractor and mower. The demolition contractor should also be out to discuss the details and let me know when he can get started. In the mean-time I've been hauling stuff out of the woods. I'd prefer he didn't have to go up into the woods with heavy equipment. If his demolition doesn't include a general garbage dumpster then I'll be arranging to get one of those and finish the cleaning of the house, garage, and woodshed.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Mowing some trails through the fields. Big-tongue dog really enjoys romping through the forest and fields. (82 degrees yesterday).
Fence is ready for wire from the northwest corner to the barn driveway. From there to the old wood fence is weed city and I'm having trouble getting the old gas weed eater to stay lit. I've removed and cleaned the carburetor as best I could but it acts like the high mixture jet is still faulty.
In addition to the pile of metal on the concrete pad that we built there was some more this side of the pad. I started clearing it from the road end, so far I've hauled 5000 lbs and haven't reached the pad yet. The white piece is the pile of wood; behind it is a small pile of rubber/plastic; the red piece is the old dozer blade from dad's John-Deere tractor.
There were two redwood trees in plastic pots stuck in the ground of the garden. I've transplanted them to the site of Keith's ashes. I'll soak them throughout the summer with 5-gallon buckets with small holes drilled in the bottom.