Category Archives: General

Independence Day

We have ribs in the smoker, and I’ve been doing odds and ends around the house (including laying conduit and PVC for power and water of a new irrigation system). I want to wish as happy a holiday as possible under the circumstances to all of my readers. If you’ve never done it (or even if you have), I recommend reading the Declaration aloud; too few understand what this is all about, particularly given the state of our educational system. I also recommend reading Coolidge’s speech on the sesquicentennial. It seems more timely than ever, and is one of the best of its breed.

I will say, though, that Trump’s speech last night was a pretty good one, and it kicked off the campaign much better than the one in Tulsa. And of course, it drove all the right people nuts.

Yesterday’s Launch

Something to finish the weekend with.

FWIW, Amiko is married to Scott Kelly, who is the Kelly twin who spent a year at ISS.

The Midland Flood


I’ve driven through that area countless times on the way up to our cabin at Houghton Lake (we always considered Lake Sanford the half-way point from Flint), but I’ve never actually been in downtown Midland. I hadn’t realized the lake was artificial, dammed by the Tittabawassee. I wonder if this will affect Dow Chemical (the major industry of the town)?

Kathy Kinsley

She was a tech nerd and coder who started blogging about the same time I did, I think, back in late aught one. She lived in Cape Coral, and I remember when she went through Hurricane Charlie and her car was damaged, in 2004. I talked to her once when we were living in Boca, on the other side of the state, I don’t recall what about. I never knew how old she was, but apparently she was just a year or so younger than me. Rest in peace.

[Update a while later]

Wow, this post is already in the top 10 Google search for “Kathy Kinsley.” Not sure whether to be proud or frightened.

Quarantine Lessons From Spaceflight

Thoughts on the similarities.

Meanwhile, we’re back home. As noted, we did drive up to Cambria (with the cats, which was…interesting — it was their first road trip, and Ember cried most of the way). It was relaxing up there, but a little weird, with all the restaurants being closed except for delivery or carry out, and most of the motels empty (we had a vacation rental across the street from the beach). We drove up to Ragged Point on Saturday (which was also closed except for gas and the general store), but no further into Big Sur, then perused the elephant seals on the way back to town. Not that many on the beach; it was just past mating season. A few week ago the beach at Piedras Blancas would have been full of them, fighting and fu**ing (I could have just written “mating,” but I liked the alliteration), and the mothers and pups trying to avoid being crushed by the bulls.

Did a three-mile hike Sunday on the bluffs above the ocean, and shot lots of pictures of breaching and fluking gray whales and their spouts as they migrated north. Very weird being up there on a weekend with so little traffic. I may post some, after we look at them to see how they came out.

Got back to Redondo Beach yesterday (the lack of heavy traffic on the 405 through Sepulveda Pass and West LA on a Monday afternoon was a little eerie), and now get to put the house back together after fumigation. The cats (who cried all the way back) are looking around and at each other like they’re wondering “Was that all some sort of weird dream?” Not infected, as far as we know (seems unlikely, considering that we were already hermits before this all started; it’s an introvert’s paradise).

[Update mid-morning]

One thing we saw up there that we never see in LA: Stars. We were across the street from the beach, and it was quite a dark neighborhood. Orion was very obvious, and I could easily see the Pleides naked eye. Milky Way wasn’t obvious, though.

Electrical Problems

We’ve got a circuit out (most critical issue: Patricia’s upstairs office). No breaker is obviously tripped. Guess I’ll have to open the box.

[Late-afternoon update]

I appreciate the comments, but have heard nothing I don’t know. Fun fact: When I was a kid we didn’t have breakers; we had fuse boxes.

And yes, I know that some wags will say that when I was a kid, electricity hadn’t been invented.

[Update Saturday morning]

Bad news: There’s voltage on all the breakers. Not sure how to trace where the line opens up. Don’t know how much an electrician would charge, but I might be able to buy some kind of tracer for the same cost.


[January 27th update]

Threw in the towel and called an electrician. It took them an hour or so to run down the problem; a bad neutral line in an upstream outlet. Buried behind oak cabinets that were earthquake strapped, of course.

Good deal, though, for $225, plus they fixed a couple other things that had been an issue for a while.

[Bumped again]