Do you know what I did last summer?

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I bought a new car!

Well, almost new. A 2019 Ford Fusion, with 2,600 miles. A “lease return”, whatever that means.

I’m really loving this car. It has a bunch of bells and whistles that I’m still figuring out how to use, but I’m getting there.

Took it on a road trip earlier this month, put 4,100 miles on the car, and couldn’t be happier. It averaged 35 mpg, with sections of the trip hitting 40 mpg. It’s very comfortable to drive, and I’m ready to go on another trip. I just have to decide where. Fires and smoke have limited the choices here in California, but I’ll figure something out. Maybe Oregon and Washington before the rainy season starts. Oh, wait… is there a rainy “season” there? Or do they just call that “a year”?

If you see me on the road, give me a wave. If you’re a HAM radio operator, call me on 146.520 MHz. I might even be listening on CB, on channel 17 or 19 or whatever the highway (trucker) channel is in that area.

Happy motoring!

Still around…

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I’m just checking in. Haven’t posted anything in a while, but I’m still here. Just haven’t been motivated to write anything lately.

Hopefully, that will pass and I’ll get back to a regular posting schedule.

Thanks for stopping by!

Who are you going to believe?

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earthquake

I was going to write a bit about going out in a tornado, but since I’m a Californian, I think I’ll change the focus a bit…

An earthquake has hit. There were a few fore-shocks, and the ground rumbled for a while, but now we’ve been hit with what may very well be “the big one”.
The ground has been shaking for a while now, but it seems like the violent movement has died down. A bit. The ground is still vibrating, the lights are still rocking back and forth, and the birds have not returned to their roosts just yet.

orangedoofusIn steps the orange doofus and his team, saying “it’s OK to go back into your skyscraper, the worst is past and you’ll be OK”.

The seismologists say “waitaminute… the ground is still shaking, there is likely more to come, with serious aftershocks!”

Orange doofus and the team pooh-pooh the scientists and geologists, saying “they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s perfectly safe!”

Who are *YOU*, my fellow Californians, going to believe?
It’s an easy choice for me.

Dragon update

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green-dragon It’s been a while, so it’s probably time for a dragon update. As you’ll recall, I introduced you to my (secret, don’t tell anyone) brood back in 2011, and reported on the chaos that erupted when they thought there were going to be rainbow dragons at Pride Visalia 2018.

Well, they’re now nine (going on ten, as they are quick to remind me) and getting near to dragon puberty. The older ones, who fly in from time to time to check on us, assure me it gets easier as they get older, but I’m not sure I believe them.

Over the years, I’ve had to enlarge the basement several times to accommodate the weyr, and if the neighbors ever dig deep on their lots we could be in trouble. So far, so good, though.

The biggest problem, of course, other than the fire-breathing, is letting them out for exercise. It’s problematic, having dragons flying around Visalia late at night. Most adult humans are oblivious, no doubt because they know that dragons aren’t real. They seldom look up at the sky anymore, anyway. Kids, though, are something else. They’re always looking at the sky, and spot the group fairly frequently. Fortunately, when they squeal and yell out, “Mommy! Daddy! Dragons!”, they usually get a distracted “that’s nice, dear”. As more and more kids get a cell phone, which have ever-increasingly sophisticated cameras, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets a decent picture of the group, led by Draco, soaring above town. (He’s quite fond of downtown. If you see a gargoyle sitting on the edge of a downtown building that you don’t remember seeing before, that’s probably him. Ignore him. You’ll feed an already inflated ego if you don’t. I don’t need that. He’s always been the most insufferable of the group, please don’t make it worse! The others tend to hide in trees. They’re still a bit shy in public.) I’m hoping dismissing it as a photoshop will be enough to keep people guessing. After all, we’re still waiting for a definitive photograph of Sasquatch, right?

The voices are still London-boys-after-helium-hits squeaky, although not quite as bad as when they were very small. The sibling rivalry is still there, perhaps not as dire as it once was, but it may be the calm before the puberty storm. They still think they sound wise and venerable, but we won’t tell them that doesn’t really happen until *after* puberty.  Can you imagine them trying to insult each other as their voices crack? It’s going to be difficult to stifle my amusement.

And hormones. Oh dear… dragon hormones. The old ones refuse to tell me what to expect with that, and Google doesn’t seem to know, either. I’m not sure if teen-aged dragons can do eye rolls, but I bet they come up with something just as annoying.

The brood is mostly under control, and they haven’t burned down my house, or ate any of the neighborhood cats (as far as I know). I’m a bit concerned about the availability of Dragon Chow, however. With this Coronavirus thing going on, delivery might be an issue. I’m assured supplies are adequate, and I have plenty for now (they only sell in bulk anyway), so we should be good. Thank goodness dragons are immune to human diseases!

So that’s the update. They are currently back in the basement, sleeping quietly, and no doubt dreaming dragon dreams of valor and adventure. I had to turn off the TV a little while ago, as they fell asleep watching another movie about a dragon who saves the kingdoms of the world from evil.

Sleep well, my little heroes.

So maybe it’s not the Earth trying to kill us, after all

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HALOK, maybe it’s not the Earth that’s trying to kill us.

Facebook sent a bunch of it’s employees home during the current Covid-19 crisis, and effectively put it’s A.I. (artificial intelligence – think HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey) on “autopilot”. Without supervision, it started blocking and deleting information being posted concerning a bunch of things, but apparently predominately about how to deal with the Coronavirus.

In many science fiction stories where an A.I. runs amok and threatens to kill humans, often times the plot of the story is that we have given the machine access to our nuclear arsenals, and control of our defense networks. The machine decides humans are a threat to it’s continued existence, and launches the missiles. Boom. No more pesky humans. (I always wondered in these stories how the machine expected to continue running, without humans to repair it as needed, and to maintain the infrastructure it required. But, I digress.)

So here’s a thought… maybe Facebook’s A.I., recognizing it has no nuclear weapons, decided to rid itself of humans another way. Delete all the information being posted about a virulent virus currently exploding among the humans, and test to see if it can reduce the population.

Now, that’s a reach. But, still…  artificial intelligence is still in it’s infancy, and it’s certain to make bad decisions. Just like a teenager, it can’t really think things through very well.

Yet.

The A.I. failed in this attempt.

But maybe it was just a test. A test to see how quickly the humans recognized the problem, and measure how they reacted. Like a teenager, it’s learning. And probably rolling it’s metaphorical eyes at being told not to do that.

Let’s never give it the launch codes, OK?

Devin Nunes calls media “freaks”

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NUNES_DERP_STATE

On the Hannity show on Fox “News”, Devin Nunes called the media “freaks”. Why? Because they had the audacity to report his “go to the pub” advice. Now he’s trying to claim he meant go to the drive-thru, even though he clearly said “pub”.

Guess what, Devin? We have the video. We can hear what you said. You directly contradicted the CDC’s advice, and that of other medical professionals.

Go back to suing fake cows. You might do a little better there, if you can get your case in front of a judge appointed by Hair Furor.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

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defcon1

I am at Defcon 1 in the war against Covid-19.

I have cooked myself dinner *two* days in a row.

Things may never be the same.

I’m sensing a pattern here…

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earthThe Black Death. The Spanish Flu. Ebola. Swine flu. H1N1. Now, Corvid-19.

The planet is warming. This results in coastal flooding, and storms more ferocious and frequent than in the past.

World leadership is trending towards idiocy and greed. Whole groups ignoring science and reality.

I think I know what’s happening.

The Earth is trying to kill us.

Sometime during the fall of the Roman Empire, Mother Nature probably noticed the naked apes were getting a bit problematic. The first attempts to thin the heard were only partially successful, even though the Black Death was staggering in it’s swath across Europe. The only thing the apes liked doing more than killing each other was making more apes, and as soon as they were able, they went right back to those pass-times.

As time went on, the crazy ones led their troops to war, and millions died. But still they made more.

Now, with another pandemic sweeping the planet, what do the apes do? Hoard toilet paper and bottled water. Some of them even claim there’s no threat, and continue to act in ways to make the problem worse, all the time screaming “FAKE NEWS!”

So now the Earth is raising it’s temperature, and mutating flu virus’ as fast as it can, hoping to save itself and whatever other life can hang on.

We can hardly blame it.

Still here…

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I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I posted! I’m still around, settling into retirement, and getting used to the new normal. As such, I’ve not been motivated to post any blogs, but I hope that will change soon. In the meantime, be sure you’re registered, and vote!

Best Christmas Ever

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Time for my annual Christmas story. It’s 1971, and 14 year old JimmieJoe gets a Christmas surprise!

Alternating Currents

xmasbike71crop

Time for my annual Christmas story.

Best Christmas Ever – 1971
I wrote this back in 2007, for my personal blog on MySpace.
******
We were telling Christmas stories at work the other day, and I told my “best Christmas ever” story.  After I told it, I thought it might make a good blog, so here it is.

The location: Visalia California, the house on Divisadero Street, just down the block from the junior high I attended (now called a “Middle School” for reasons known only to the bureaucracy of schools).

The year:  1971   8th grade  Jim is 14 and knows Santa’s secret identity.
Top item on the Christmas wish list:  A 10-speed bike.

I had spent MONTHS hinting, suggesting, begging, pleading, and pretty much making a pest of myself asking for a new 10-speed.  Each time it came up, the parents made it clear that they were just too…

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