Tug-o-war

The tug-o-war is a struggle while on vacation. You are being pulled this way and that. You are torn between two sets of family who both have missed you, who have looked forward with anticipation to your arrival, and ultimately have planned out every waking moment of your visit.

Here in Arizona, there are two sets of relatives to visit – the inlaws and the sister-n-law’s family. When you only have a week during your vacation, your time has to be split between both and that is the challenge. How do you keep both happy and feel like you have spent enough time with both? In the end, someone is likely going to feel like they got the short end of the stick.

So, this vacation isn’t shaping up to be all that relaxing. It will be go go go the whole time and if it isn’t one it will be the other.

Yesterday’s adventure left out one family but it did have provide for a unique experience as there was a visit to a national park where wild horses roam free. There was a good chance the horses wouldn’t be spotted since they go where they please and one would never know where to find them unless you were in a helicopter looking for them.

Anyway, as it happens, we got very lucky and they were literally less than a hundred yards from us since they had come down to water at the river. A magnificent site they are! Kind of felt like the Old West for a moment. Just sitting there on the bank of the river, watching and listening as they did their thing. I am sure the horses probably feel the tug-o-war war between modern society and the quiet solitude of the wild, something they really have no control over.

Well, despite the push and pull of family obligations, this was a gratifying experience and I am thankful that I was lucky enough to catch this site on the very first visit.

Rover

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NASA has done it again. They have pulled off a scientific and technological feat that is astounding, really. I watched the thing unfold and the landing appears to have gone flawlessly, even though the actual testing of this event was theoretical and computer modeling.

That’s all pretty cool stuff. But it raises some questions for me.

The first one has to do with the way it is powered.

It isn’t solar this time. It’s basically a small nuclear reactor. So, if there is technology to use this kind of thing in space and if there is technology to use something even bigger on our military naval vessels, why aren’t we using this technology to power our homes? Our schools? Our hospitals, stadiums, cities, our cars, etc? Why not? Wouldn’t it be better than the options we have now?

The second question comes back to the “search for life.”

Proof of life only has to be a single cell microbe of something. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they can define it as “living.” Of course it would be hailed as an incredible scientific discovery and lauded for all time. It will raise other questions too.

What gets me on this one is that a small single cell microbe will declared as “living” but a human embryos and fetuses are still seen as “not living.” Human, multicellular organisms on earth aren’t considered life by a bunch of people up here on this ball of dirt, thus they don’t see any problem with destroying that life. How wrong and misguided is that? It astounds me.

Anyway, a robot on another planet (again) is pretty cool. I am sure it will help answer some questions, but not all of them.

Avoidance

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It snowed for about 36 hours this last weekend. The snow was light and fresh and was covering everything. We got about 9″ of the white stuff.

For a short time, the world was quiet. Peaceful even. There is something very comforting in watching it snow. For me, it causes me to slow down and enjoy the stillness. Silence. Fresh.

But, under that blanket of white there is a yard that just makes me cringe.

I can honestly say this is the time of year where I just think the NW is plain ol’ ugly. The trees are naked. The grass isn’t green yet. Everything feels grey and cold, not to mention sopping wet. The snow helps hide this dreadful scene.

With the snow, the yuckiness is gone. It just goes away. It can be avoided, put off, ignored. The ugliness is replaced by something beautiful, divine, perfect.

So, while the snow lasted, I avoided even thinking of all the work that has to happen in the yard before Spring arrives. Now the snow is melting quickly and the sopping, rain soaked ugliness is returning.

Avoidance is no longer something I can hold on to.

I am just gonna have to do it.

Just chill

OK, no, I don’t wanna chill.

Seriously.

It is damn cold outside (for the NW) and it is freaking chilly inside the house.

This week the low temps up here in the Northwest corner of the US is going to be in the low 20s. That isn’t typical for us so when it gets down in this range, we tend to just break out the sweatshirts and insulated jackets and try to avoid the out of doors. Last night the low was around 27 degrees.

So, the furnace has been acting funny and last night I was pretty sure there we were headed for a breakdown. Sure enough, this morning the house was 58 degrees when it should have been 66 when I got up. The furnace has in “lockout” mode – meaning it tried, it didn’t get lit, and then it gave up…for the next three hours.

When I got up to let the dog out at 5:00am I was like, “Crap. This is rather irritating, and cold. Dang, it’s cold in here.”

I tried resetting the furnace by turning off the power and then back on again. The stupid thing gave a good effort but after three cycles of trying, I gave up and went back to bed where it was warm. After warming up a bit, I was awake. So, back out of bed I went and out to build a fire in the wood stove. I was trying to be quiet so as to not wake the others in the house. Quiet, I tell you. Only to have one of the smoke detectors decide to CHIRP for a new battery. So much for being quiet.

Anyway, fire started and going and the warmth is starting to fill the room.

I called into work and let my manager know I was going to have to deal with this issue today and took at least half the day off. (Thank goodness for flexibility!)

I disassembled the ignitors, cleaned them with sandpaper, and reinstalled them. Furnace back on, cycled through the startup process, and still nothing. So, out comes the shop vac and vacuuming the pumps, the fans, the gas feed tubes (not sure of the technical term), etc. How did I know to do this stuff? I had a tech here once who we called because this happened like 6 years ago and we had no idea why it wasn’t working. He literally came out, cleaned the stuff, and charged $125 for 15 minutes of work. He was like, “Look, you don’t need me or need to pay me for this stuff. You can do it yourself.” He showed me what to look for, where to clean, and how to take the ignitors out and clean them.

VOILA!

Everything is back up and running. “Let there be heat!”

The fireplace is all fired up (see what I did there?) but the furnace is now doing what it is supposed to. I’ll keep the fire burning so as to not drive up the gas bill while the cold is here this week, but we are back in the warmth.

Naming it

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There is dumb, and there is really dumb. This falls into the dumbest dumb of the dumb category. Apparently, when you have lots of money, you have to do dumb things like this. Buying the naming rights for a stadium, arena, venue, or whatever is kind of a way to promote your business by making it something that becomes recognizable to all.

Amazon, and Bezos, go the other way. They name the former Key Arena the dumbest of dumb names ever.

Climate Change Arena.

WTF? Talk about a nonsensical name. If I were a fan of any sport that took place in that building I’d be pissed. Thus, I am not really a fan of hockey or women’s basketball and won’t hardly, if ever, visit the arena. I can only think of two occasions in the last 25 years that I went inside the building, and neither of them involved sports. So, no skin off my back, but I just think it is a dumb name. Name a building after a social cause?

Waste of money. And time.

I am sure there will be more stupid names to follow. We are in that kind of “awareness” in the United States at the moment.

So, I’ll name it. I didn’t buy the rights, but I have the freedom to call it whatever I want. So, I’ll name it what it is: “Dumb Name Arena.”

Disc disc

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OK, I am about to complain about something I am still learning and haven’t a lot of knowledge on, but that’s what this blog is for – complaining, or pissing and moaning.

What is the topic of the day? Disc Golf.

Over the last several months I have had the chance to play disc golf with a buddy. He was looking for someone to go with him and I had done it a couple times while in college and I knew there were a few places here locally to go and play, so I said yes.

And I had a lot of fun!

Of course, there is a learning curve with this sport and I am a little short on technique (as well as just being short) but I had fun nonetheless. So much so, that I bought my own set of beginner discs. There is skill in trying to throw a disc accurately and for distance. Something I am gonna have to spend time learning to do.

Anyway, my buddy took me to a local course that is relatively open. I guess in the disc golf circles, this would be considered a good “beginner’s course.” Yes, there are some trees and other obstacles on the course, but not in a way that would make it overly challenging or accessible.

Now the complaint…yesterday, my buddy took me to a course across the river. He said it was a more difficult course. And it was! It was full of trees. Everywhere! The best example for how many trees there were, think of playing frisbee in a cemetery, where every 7th headstone was a tree. Yeah, that’s a lot of obstacle to play around. No good sight lines. No straight shots.

Anyway, I fared alright considering it was my first time there but I still lost (yes, I am competitive). I got to looking last night at the stats for the two course: both are a par 54 course with a total difference in distance of 121 feet (5193 to 5072). My complaint here is the par for the course.

How can a course with very few straight shots and trees over the entire course still be a par 54, the same as a course with much fewer trees? Who rates these things and decides the par? Obviously, trees add to the challenge but that should also increase the par, shouldn’t it?

Again, I am learning this sport. I don’t know how these things work. I just kinda felt like I played the course better than my score would reflect. Truth is, though I complain, I still had fun! That’s important right?

Well, and winning too. But fun is most important…or so I have been told…

Double

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Double. More than double. But not for your pleasure.

A new licensing fee appeared on the renewal form for the car I drive most, a hybrid. It wasn’t there last year, but appeared this year and it more than doubled the cost of registering my vehicle. There was no mention of this fee anywhere in the media, that I can find, until after the fact that it was applied to people’s licensing fees. Surprise! The cost of registering your vehicle more than doubled!

The biggest kicker, I am paying a fee for something I don’t use, an electric vehicle charging station (and those this fee is supposedly going to build). Thus the word HYBRID, meaning it powers itself by using two different types of fuel.

I tell you, bigger government means bigger fees. Always. There is never an exception to this. Ever. The problem is that many times the fees aren’t actually used for the stated purpose, nor do they totally justify the collection of the fee in the first place.

Why is the government in charge of building charging stations for electric vehicles? Why is it that those not driving plug-in cars are paying a fee to plug in a car that won’t plug in?

The epitome of what is wrong with government. I mean there is a LOT wrong with our government, at many different levels, but this is just another fine example of why so many people dislike and don’t trust the government.

Fall quarantine

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I’m not ready for summer to be over. I’ll admit, I like the sun and warm days (but not hot days…72 is the perfect temp). But, clearly in the Northwest, that doesn’t happen for long up here.

Being from the Northwest, I have grown up with rain. I don’t like it much. Yes, there is a need for it and it does keep things green here, but I don’t like going out in the rain and spending time in it. Yes, I am going to let that stop me from having fun out of doors, because, well, being in the rain for long period of time just isn’t that fun.

Anyway, we just went through six months of lockdown (literally and figuratively). To say that the summer wasn’t a bit of a let down, even with half way decent weather for some of it, would be kind of an understatement. It was a big let down. Trips cancelled. Outdoor activities cancelled or severely hampered/limited. Not much hanging out with friends or family (but we did some). Always the specter of “what if” when we decided to go for a drive to who knows where…what if they aren’t open, what if they don’t have anything to see, what if we can’t find a place to go to the bathroom, what if there is no place to stay? Irritating when you look back on all this stupidity.

So, now there is a new prospect of a “lockdown” in the Northwest, not from dreaded Covid *eyeroll*, but from the weather. It will be more windy, more rainy, and darker sooner and longer. To say that that will kill the spirit of anyone who has to stay inside for the next six months because of the weather is discouraging. Really discouraging.

I am not sure I can handle this next lockdown. I don’t think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder but I can certainly say that I am feeling like I missed out on the best part of the year. I kinda feel like I have treaded water all summer only to have no payoff of fun and relaxation. Know what I mean?

How do you deal with the change in seasons, especially the summer to fall transistion?

Mass-debate

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It seems the governor of my state hasn’t a clue and he takes every chance he can to prove it. He likes to think he is a climate change expert, but it’s just a poorly veiled attempt to tow the party line of climate alarmists.

Governor Doofus (Jay Inslee) said the other day that the fires in Washington weren’t wildfires but “climate fires.” He blamed them solely on climate change.

Here’s the thing, there are still scientists that are debating the true impact of climate change or whether it even exists. “Proven” science isn’t really, since information can be manipulated to show what you want it to show.

Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, says the governor needs to put on the brakes and drive in the other direction. He says the governor’s claims about the fires are flat out wrong. While Mass broadly supports climate change as a whole, he disputes how the information is used and seems to believe that it isn’t always used in a matter that informs the public accurately.

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll hear more about the Mass-debate when the jerk off governor has more to say about climate change and fires.

Tool

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Joe Biden would like to have it both ways

“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?” Biden said during a climate change speech. “If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is underwater?”

Hey, Joe, if more of America is under water then less of it can be on fire.

I am no sure if Joe is aware, but that’s how the whole fire suppression thing works. Firefighters put water on stuff (not to mention the fire) so it won’t burn.

The current president might not be the sharpest tool in the shed on certain things, but do we really want to replace him with an even duller tool? Not just another dull tool, but one that will truly be a tool to all things Socialist and Communist?

Maybe Joe should stop being a tool.