Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Small World boats getting bigger to accomodate heavier riders -

Sad. And scary! Imagine being stuck in A Small World while they struggle to refloat the boat ahead of you. That could permanently damage your psyche!

More on mail

A good take on how to deal with unwanted mail...


Hit and run… Road TT and Road 39. Horse versus vehicle. Ouch! Yes, I’m listening to the scanner again as I look for material to fictionalize. And still amazed at the amount of activity at this early hour. Hit and run. Domestic violence at 5 in the morning? Fights. Car thefts. Breaking and entering. Yes. It happens. I guess I always thought that criminals stayed up late and then slept in till noon. Silly me!

And now this… “Subject fell from ladder, Orland fire responding.” It’s dark outside! What was he doing on a ladder? Let me think. Breaking and entering? Nah! That’s too obvious.

Late breaking news... now there are four (4) horses on the road at 39 and U.

You've Got Mail!

Somewhat as expected, I didn’t get an instant reply from Lowe’s when I sent them an e-mail of complaint. 24 hours passed. Exactly. And the note I received stated that the Chico store had been notified of the complaint and that they would reply… within 24 hours. I can hardly wait!

And speaking of e-mail. I think it’s time for me to start switching all mail over to my Gmail account. The obvious reason is that Outlook is a terrible memory hog. Second, when this hard drive fails, I don’t want to have to go through the Import hassle of repopulating my folders with the archived mail file and then spend days deleting most of it. And switching to Gmail will allow me to change ISP’s without a serious debate with myself. And last will be the fact that I can then access my mail from any computer.

I know you should be able to access any POP 3 account from Gmail, Yahoo mail or Hotmail; I’ve done it before, many times, but not with I get an error every time.

And which ISP would I switch to? Satellite (Hughes) is still my only option. But someday there will be a real choice and I want to be able to switch in a hurry. I don’t want to worry about mail accounts.

Pass the ibuprofen!

Darn! I’m not sure what happened but my right leg is out of action. My training walk went well yesterday; all was normal and I did the 4+ miles at a sub 14 minute/mile pace. A good cardio workout. Afterwards, I stopped for a cup of chai at Bellachino’s and sat down to read…outside on the patio. And that may have been my undoing. It was chilly and my knee seemed to stiffen up because of that. When I got up to leave I noticed a slight limp and then it got worse as the day went on. By bedtime, it was downright painful.

It felt pretty good when I woke up and I made it into the kitchen as smoothly as ever, but now it’s bothering me again. So rest is good for it. And as much as I would like to say, ‘Tough it out, Steve!’ and then go for a fast 5K training walk, I really shouldn’t. I’ll take the day off. And lots of ibuprofen.

And I won’t be bored. There are plenty of things to do. Gary and I worked at the Seniors Thrift store yesterday afternoon, finishing up the storage shelving and moving boxes. Our plan was to spend this afternoon cleaning out the last of our temporary work area and converting it to sales. We also put a new roof on the building; paid to have it done. And one of my chores requires me to climb up and see how well they did before we cut the roofers a check. I think I’ll pass on that for today. Level ground is what I need for a day or two.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


From an interview with Dr. William Thomas on Time Goes By

“We human beings live a long time after our reproductive peak. This is no accident. Our species took the necessity of aging and, from that, refined the virtues of elderhood. Elders are an integral, biologically determined element of the human cultural fabric and it is time they understood this role and begin to play their part.”

That caught my eye and my attention. So many species are programmed to reproduce and die, but we aren’t. There is a reason. We’re not just here to use up space and oxygen. The problem for so many of us is that we don’t know why we’re here. We need to find out why… and not let old age simply happen to us.

Where's fall?

It looks like summer has returned. Good. We have to go to Susanville this weekend; I’m picking up the camper and returning it to the Planet Orland for the winter and so that summery forecast is nice to see. Going over Morgan Summit in the snow is not my favorite thing to do.

A quick browsing of the e-mail this morning gave me this… "I don’t think anything will change until Americans revolt and get it into their heads that they need to be informed voters instead of just listening to the paid political ads."DEBORAH PRYCE, a United States representative from Ohio who is retiring.

And I was reminded of the conversation I had with a friend, yesterday, and she told me, in all seriousness, “Oh, no. I don’t read. I don’t have time for that. I would never get anything done if I read.” And what percentage of the population does she represent? Sorry, Ms Pryce, it won’t happen in your lifetime.

And this; another invention idea to be given away, absolutely free! Except for the usual 10% of all profits from it. Cash, check or money order. No credit cards. So here it is… many electronic devices use flash memory, but what is needed is a device that will allow the user to easily access and edit the programs on those devices. For instance, a device that uses Bluetooth wireless technology (Or EMR) to access your cell phones flash memory and allows you to import numbers and names using a real keyboard. It would allow you to import ring tones from your own library of tunes. And it would work on all cell phones. Manufacturers could block access to the operating systems so that you wouldn’t accidentally ruin your phone by overwriting some critical code. And it wouldn’t be limited to cell phones; we’re surrounded by devices using flash memory. And electro magnetic radiation should allow us access to them without the use of wires and adaptors.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I have a problem with Lowe’s. The local store just made it onto my personal ‘Don’t Shop’ list. Last Saturday, I had stopped at Bellachino’s and after I finished my medium chai, it was time to go to Lowe’s for some supplies for the Plant Barn; redwood for 3 new plant tables. I picked through the lumber until I had what I thought were the best of the lot, maybe $130 dollars worth of lumber, and I proceeded to the checkout where I had to wait. And wait. And wait some more. One clerk; on the phone and making sure he wasn’t making eye contact with any of the four people in line. About 20 feet away, at the Commercial Sales desk, another clerk yawned and also looked elsewhere. I took this for about ten minutes before I abandoned my cart in the middle of the aisle and left the store.

Now what? I had made a statement…sort of. But I still need the wood and must look elsewhere for it. The Chico Home Depot? I stopped shopping there because of the same type of incident. It looks like I will have to drive to Red Bluff and go to the Home Depot store there.

Speaking of ‘big box stores’, have you noticed that it’s almost impossible to find a Complaint Department on their websites? There is no reason to complain to the clerks in the store; the complaint will never reach the ears of anyone who might make a difference.

OK. I’m wrong. I found the Lowe’s complaint department and have sent them my grousing via e-mail. Wish me luck.

New posts on Short Laps, Good Eats and Working

Staying on top

Another busy day. I have to go into town (Chico) early and get a pneumonia vaccine injection at the doctor’ office. That’s something new; something I hadn’t heard of before. I had the influenza injection last week and had no problems at all from that, so I am not expecting any difficulties this morning. After that, it’s time for a walking workout in the park… before it rains.

And after reading today’s post from Time Goes By, I have been thinking once more about healthcare in general. (Don’t we all?) And one of the minor irritations of our current healthcare system is the fact that most physicians won’t tell you what to do anymore… they suggest. As if, somehow, we are only slightly less knowledgeable than they. (Darn it! Sometimes I need to be told what to do!)

And in today’s health care climate, you do need to be that knowledgeable. Sad, but true. If you are in need of medical help today, you are also in need of a friend to guide you through the ‘hoops’ and to stay current on what is considered to be good medical practice. And access to the internet is mandatory if you want to stay on top of it.

Changing Aging

Some more from his blog

Well said! And, apparently, here on the Planet Orland, we have lots of chipmunks!

Changing Aging

Changing Aging is the title of a new favorite blog, just discovered when reading an interview with Dr. Thomas on the Time Goes By blog.

When we were looking for a physician after moving to the Planet Orland, we deliberately looked for one that dealt with our needs. And our future needs. We found a medical group in Chico that included a geriatrician on their staff. She is not our current physician, but she is available. And we know how lucky we are to have found such a situation. Geriatricians are few and far between.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

the resident curmudgeon

quote of the day

Amazing! Selfishness=progress.

What were we thinking?

Millard Kaufman

Writes First Novel at 90

This was interesting. Mr. Kaufman also expressed hope that he would someday 'grow up'... but I don't think he was serious about it.


It’s slow going this morning. I don’t seem to be able to get my mind in gear. I have been listening to the scanner and for the past 30 minutes there’s been a conversation between dispatcher and officers about a woman in Willows who is reporting that someone is trying to break into her apartment. Naturally, what I find odd about this is the fact that it is still being talked about; 30 minutes later. Shouldn’t the officer be there?

The scanner is very much like television was for me in the past. I turn it on to hear a human voice. On my terms. Most of the time it’s simply background noise, yet a part of my brain is alert to what is being said and I will usually hear the humorous or exciting transmissions. And sometimes this requires some imagination on my part; scanners monitor a frequency and then move on if nothing is being broadcast, so I don’t always get the whole story or the end of a story. Just snippets of high drama.

One of my favorite blogs is all about overheard conversations and how they can lead to great fictional stories and I guess scanner conversations could be used the same way.

(Another way to create a great story in your mind is to read old newspapers. The small news items that take up less an inch or two of print can be fertile ground for your imagination.)

It’s been at least 15 minutes since I last heard anything about the break-in attempt in Willows. Did the officer arrive? Did he find anyone? And then I remember that I hear a lot of scanner noise about possible break-in’s. And the reports are usually false; imagined. This may be another one.

I know that there are times when I am awakened by what I think was a loud noise, like something falling. I even get up and wander around the house. Nothing. Dreams imitating reality. Or I will see the motion sensor lights out front have turned on. Oh, oh. Then I see the branches of the maple tree waving in the wind. But still I peer out the window to see if there’s someone nearby or a vehicle in the driveway. Just checking!

And speaking of imagination; don’t we all see things that aren’t there? A movement out of the corner of our eye? Last night, I could have sworn I saw someone walk from our bedroom and into the entryway. It was just a blurred shape and seen at the very limits of my peripheral vision. Plus, I was just waking up from a nap. But I got up and looked!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Proposed Police State

Should I continue saving Frequent Flyer miles for awards?

Or go back to driving? Driving!


I’ve said it before; fall is a great time of year. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if the supply of colored leaves was inexhaustible and they could be seen flying all year long? I was walking in the park the other day when I was suddenly immersed in a golden leaf shower. The tree above me had released its grip on hundreds of leaves all at the same time. What a sight! And Chico is wonderfully supplied with fall color; as good as any New England village. As you drive down the Esplanade, the leaves flutter into the air all around each passing vehicle in shades of gold and red while autumn sunlight gilds the scene.

And I will be out in the park again this morning. I took a day off because of the blood donation on Thursday, but I have to keep up with the program and get the weight off. And the blood pressure down. Although just returning to a walking regimen for a few short days has done wonders there. BP is already back into the 120/70 range. The goal is 4 to 5 days a week and 20+ miles.

I was browsing once again on the Think or Thwim site and came across this alternative to typing. At the same time I was reminded that I might have a real use for this application. With Boo sleeping in my lap, typing becomes a real chore; disturbing us both. I’m not sure that the developer had a goal of improving cat/human relations when he started this, but it could be a great side benefit. And how about children or grandchildren in your lap? Perfect!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dark Roasted Blend

Dark but oh so neat

I can't remember if I gave this site a link. I certainly should have. If you like great photos/images and etc... plenty of etc!

On the Road...again

Listening to the scanner; “Near road MM and 6th. Two cows out. No description.” If I were to guess; they would probably be four legged and resemble the genus, Bovine. But, hey…that’s just a guess.


forces false confession out of man -

J. Edgar would be so proud!


Health is on my mind once again. I went in to give my usual quarterly pint of blood at the blood drive yesterday and was surprised when the nurse took my pulse and then said that he would have to consult someone higher up before allowing the donation because my pulse was ‘irregular’. And of course I remembered that during my physical on Monday, the doctor had remarked that my pulse was irregular. He termed it a ‘false Arrhythmia’ and didn’t seem at all concerned. Asked me how much coffee I had consumed that morning? 3 cups. Caffeine, he said. Yes, another doctor, some 6 or 7 years ago had noted the same thing and scheduled me for an ECG and a Stress test. All were passed with no problems noted. Probably genetic. And caffeine. Darn! (And yes, they allowed the donation.)

No, no one has told me to stop drinking coffee and any increase in exercise will produce Arrhythmia. I keep telling myself. But the most powerful organ in your body? The mind. Must. Think. Positively. And perhaps I should switch to tea… (40 mg versus 105 mg)

Gaudi Again

I was browsing the feeds again and I see that Michelle has something posted. Art books. And as soon as I read it, I was reminded of the many books on the life and works of Antoni Gaudi. His art was architecture and I can’t think of anyone who did it better! The cathedral, Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, is probably his best known work. What amazes me every time I look at it is the fact that it was created so long ago. It looks fresh and new! And I would love to live in a world where all of the buildings would give me a sense of joy and wonder… as Gaudi’s do.

Back to the books; Alicia and I have been using Shelfari to showcase our favorite books. Sure, it's a sales tool for Shelfari, but the covers look nice!


All is well. The moon is full, the world has not destroyed itself overnight, the temperature is moderate, I have had one cup of coffee and the cat is asleep next to me. Now, if only John Walters were President; everything would be perfect! Who is John Walters? I have no idea, he’s just anyone else. Pick a name, any name.

But. I digress. It’s time to tackle the RSS feeds and see what ‘real people’ have to say this morning. I check all of the family blogs first and see that no one has posted anything new. What’s with that? Time Goes By is dependable and there’s a new post on “Attitudes of Seniors and Baby Boomers on Aging in Place.” And it’s filled with interesting data and charts. But, none are surprising. I wonder if they thought about breaking the data down by region?

And yesterday’s post on Time Goes By was intimidating to me. I thought about it for awhile but I finally had to pass. The novel idea of writing a review about a blog, someone else’s blog suddenly became a task in my mind. A huge task! As if I was being asked to submit a term paper. Yikes! I just couldn’t do it. (Thanks, Wally…for being so kind as to mention me.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oh so true

You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. - Jeannette Rankin


I didn't forget my tape recorder this morning and so I was able to recall some of the thoughts that had careened through my mind while walking this morning.

And one of those was a reminder to check out NPR for the story on 'Red State Welfare'. A story about the current farm bill and the subsidies that it finances.

What I found amazing in the story was the fact that millions of dollars in farm subsidies are sent to 'farmers' with a New York City Zip code. It's the same in all large urban areas. Millions of dollars going to 'farmers' who seem to live far away from their fields. It must take them hours to get the morning milking done! And it's probably difficult to get that combine down Wilshire Blvd. during the rush hour.


Michelle; to continue my discussion on aging, this is my mantra... And I found this one at the Plant Barn.

Straitjackets - for two

Bush/Cheney - Los Angeles Times

Take my president...please!

Radio Days

Yesterday, I ended up my day at the Senior Citizens Thrift Shop, watching as a new roof was being put in place. The weather was perfect for it and it looks like we will be protected from the winter rains; if they come. Then Gary asked me to look at some stuff he had found in the basement. Gary had fallen down the stairs in that same basement last week and had broken his wrist and so I wasn’t sure it was wise to return to the scene of the accident. But he reassured me that he would watch his step this time and when we got down there, he showed me a box filled with old radio tubes, all brand new. At one point in the life of this old building it had been a hardware store and so we figured that they must have had one of those tube testing/tube vending machines and this was some of the old stock for it. I took one of the tubes home and entered the model number into Google and sure enough… I got 28 hits. Yes, there is a market for old radio tubes. Apparently, EBay is the place to sell these things and I’m thinking that we might take the box of tubes to an EBay vendor to sell them for us.

Out of power

It appears that I might have been a little too zealous yesterday; walking a fast 5+ miles. My body has responded and this morning I can feel all five miles in the painful and creaky joints of my legs and feet. The cure? More mileage. But at a slower pace.

When I go out walking this morning, I need to bring along my tape recorder. I had it with me yesterday but the batteries had died and so I was speechless for the entire time; depending upon my brain power to remember critical times and distances, plus the occasional thought or revelation.

‘Necessity, being the mother of invention’, I began to think about some way to replace the need for batteries. Being a geek, I already knew about solar panels on t-shirts and hats, but Bidwell Park is all about shade and shadows. There are few places in the park that receive enough sunshine to power my tape recorder reliably. But… what about a device embedded in the heels of my shoes that would transform the impact of walking into electrical energy? A couple of thin power cords would lead to a converter/charger in a waist pack. The power cords would be secured with Velcro around my calves, to keep the cords from tripping me up. I like it! And, once again, I only want 10% of the profits for thinking of it.

One of the subjects that I was thinking of during the walk was race walking; naturally. And I thought that if I looked on YouTube I could find videos of race walkers. Sure enough, I did… lots of them! And so I gathered up two links and placed them on my Short Laps blog. I was having a hard time viewing them as the satellite connection was behaving badly, so I’m not sure how good they are.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Asperger's Syndrome

A form of autism and one that I have always thought fitted me. When I first read all about it, I thought; 'that's it. That's me!' It's not all that bad; Einstein was thought to have it. Mozart as well. But I was reading the latest issue of Wired magazine and right there on page 68, is a short description of the syndrome and how to deal with it. What surprised me is that it's known (these days) as the 'Geek Syndrome'. That would be me again!

If you feel awkward in social situations, have obsessive-compulsive tendencies and are overly may have it as well!

Go here to see the little tiny article...scroll down to the bottom

Fire View

I just saw this a few moments ago... A view towards San Clemente from the harbor at Dana Point.


- The Social Networking Blog

An interesting site with lots of possibilities for the curious blogger.

Truthdig - Reports

- On the Eve of Destruction

From the article... "That George W. Bush is a born-again Christian is not a national secret." Nor do I believe it's true. One must behave as a christian should, to be known as one.

Again and again

The wildfires in California are devastating. Again. As I read the names of the towns affected I’m reminded of the many trips we’ve made to that area. We’ve had great apple pie in Julian and shopped for a woodstove in Ramona. And it’s only been 4? years since the last fires in this region. And it’s hard to grasp that half a million people are displaced.

I think everyone who has ever lived in Southern California has memories of fires; large and small. It’s all part of the SoCal experience. And what most, who live elsewhere don’t know, is the speed of these fires. It’s unbelievable! I was working on the building of the California College of the Arts, out in Saugus (now Canyon Country) when we saw a small plume of smoke coming from Sand Canyon. Within 30 minutes, the fire had moved 3 or 4 miles and was crossing I-5. We left the job just as the CHP was preparing to close the freeway. I was heading home to Ventura County and the fire was racing me there, cutting across the backside of the San Fernando Valley, through Northridge, Chatsworth and Canoga Park. They closed that freeway, the 101, just minutes after I passed. The fire had moved close to 30 miles in less than an hour. And once home, the smoke was gathering ominously over the hills behind our house. I spent the evening up on the shake roof with a hose in my hand.

Blessed. The fire turned and went to the ocean. Through Malibu, as usual. And a few years later, when we were moving, we found pale squares among the ashes when we removed the stored boxes in our attic space.

Blog about nothing at all

Boo is being a kitten this morning. She does this every once in awhile. She comes in early and then quickly places herself on her favorite family room chair and goes to sleep. About an hour later she will come and get me. ‘Hey! I’m hungry. Feed me.” So out she goes and I wait patiently for about 3 minutes. When I open the door to let her back in; she bounds in! Making a flying leap from the steps and halfway across the kitchen floor before sliding sideways and hiding behind the cabinets. It’s from there that she will mount an attack upon my feet as I come by on my way to get my coffee. I reach down to pet her and the attack is over and she’s off to explore the house to see if anything is amiss. She will rejoin me after a few minutes and sit on the windowsill, staring out of the study window. Can she see birds in the dark? Then it’s over to the closet door; where she will lay on her side and scratch at the opening between the two sliding doors. I open them and she wanders into the closet; looking for? Who knows? She reappears briefly and then she’s off to find somewhere to nap again.

Now is that a great life or what?


Establishing Better Habits

Ain't the internet a wondeful thing? I know... a website that has 'stapler' trivia is not exactly wonderful and I'm almost sorry that I noted it here. But Joe's Goals sounds like the kind of thing anyone could use...

Hmmm? Useful for seniors?

Tip for the day

Starting my day as usual. Reading the feeds. And I have renamed the Time Goes By blog to As Time Goes By so that it’s closer to the top of my list. This mornings post has a book review that made me think. And I think I will order the book. I haven’t been retired so long that I couldn’t use a tip or two on how to do it more efficiently.

I spend a lot of time with seniors. That is something I never thought would happen, yet here I am, almost 4 years into retirement and I work on the board of directors for the Glenn County Senior Citizens. It’s a learning time. And I’m learning from what I see are mistakes by so many of the seniors. Far too many of them want to live in the past. Others think it’s their duty to ‘act elderly’, whatever that means?

To clarify; I like being my age. It’s challenging as no other period of my life has been. And because it’s the final quarter, it is the most interesting. It seems to sharpen my mind, not dull it. I do look back on other periods of life with great fondness and I love the memories. I could tell you stories all day long! (Don’t tempt me or I will…) But, I would never wish to return to those days. As I look at the ending of my time here, I only regret not being able to see what life has in store for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. What marvelous adventures are ahead for them!

Now that I have said all of that. I am also in the process of learning to be who I want to be, (Apparently, this never ends…until) and every senior citizen should be free to do that. If they want to live in the past…so be it and God bless them! Just don’t ask me to do it.

Bush to Warn

Cuba on Plan for Transition - New York Times

"...John Kavulich, senior policy adviser at the U.S.-Cuba Trade andEconomic Council, said those demands would likely be non-starters for Cuba. He said the technology and educational opportunities Mr. Bush intends to offer are (already) being provided to Cuba by Venezuela and China. He suggested that the real constituency for Mr. Bush’s speech was the politically-powerful exile community in Miami."

Duh! Do you think so?

The world has dozens more oppressive regimes than this one. But we like to do business with them. There is only one reason to act like a bully with Cuba; to gather votes for the party faithful in Florida.

"...American policy, he said, had been centered around the idea that the Communist government would fall once Mr. Castro left power, and that Mr. Castro, 81, would be forced out of power only by death. Instead, Mr. Peters said, Raúl Castro’s rise caught the administration off guard."

What hasn't caught the administration off guard? Natural disasters to political disasters, everything seems to surprise them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Here we go

It's happening. According to the Economist, only 37% of professionals and managers identify themselves as Republicans. Only 44% of those earning over $150,000 a year plan to vote Republican. And apparently it's the 'Religous Right' that has caused the reversal in fortunes for this party. Mainstream Republicans want to see the party address taxes, trade and health care. 'The Religous Right' doesn't. As the magazine points out; "the conservative movement is stuck with God, gays and guns."

I'm almost always a defender of the underdog. Please forgive me for not being one this time.

San Diego

County Emergency Homepage

Chula Vista Ordered evacuated? Unbelievable!


Revolutionary Online Stapler Simulation

Have I lost my mind? I actually used this! ClickClickClickStapleStapleStapleClickClickClickStapleStapleStapleClickClickClickStapleStapleStapleClickClickClickStapleStapleStapleClickClickClickStapleStapleStaple

Oddly enough, I have one just like that; an Ace!

Here and Now

After yesterday’s revelations concerning my health, I guess it’s time to revive my racewalking blog. I was looking through it this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that my last race was in May, not March as I told the doctor. So I’m only about 6 months out of shape. Whoopee!

And of course I couldn’t help but think of today’s post on Time Goes By. My interest in reviving a racewalking career; is that a ‘raging’? I think it’s more temperament than rage. It’s who I am and who I want to be at this moment in time. Being a Myers-Briggs INFP Type means that I’m not bound by plans. Lists…and plans are boring to me. Who wrote, “To thine own self, be true”?

Vocation and Avocation

at inward/outward

"When you support yourself you become an adult. When you express yourself you become a person."

Lucky, indeed is the one who can do both...

Monday, October 22, 2007

At the end of the day

There it is; up on my bulletin board and accusing me every time I look at it. It’s a physicians request for a ‘comprehensive metabolic panel’ and a ‘lipid panel’. Those are the blood tests for cholesterol screening and the request is dated 6 months from now. Darn!

OK, that means that I have 6 months to turn things around and get healthy. The doctor told me that the numbers weren’t terrible this time, but they certainly weren’t good enough to write home about. Blood pressure was elevated as well and that will have to be addressed as well. But… the great thing is the fact that walking will do both things well; cholesterol levels will drop and blood pressure will follow. When I’m racing and even in between events, my BP will stay around 124/64 with a pulse of 55. Today? 160/80 with a pulse of 70. Part of that is ‘white coat anxiety’ so I’m not worried about the blood pressure. Exercise works miracles in that department. But cholesterol? That means more of a lifestyle change. And it’s one that I have been waiting for; I just needed a push. I think I got one.


The big news from the weekend are stories of the current Malibu fires. And the Santa Ana winds. As a former citizen of the state of Southern California, I do know a lot about those things. And of course I have memories. At the age of 16, one of my friends was from the Malibu area; he and his family had moved to Manhattan Beach, but he and I would drive to Malibu on just about every weekend and visit his boyhood haunts. In time, I knew the canyons and the roads and paths through them as well as he did. Fall and winter would always bring the Santa Ana winds to the Los Angeles basin and there were always fires. Always. And one year we decided to go and see a fire. Malibu was burning. The fire was somewhere up in Topanga canyon and we knew how to avoid the roadblocks. Pretty soon we were right in the middle of it all. Smoke and flames everywhere. Stupid kids! Driving a bright red 1950 Ford convertible with the top down. Of course we were quickly escorted down off of the mountain and later that day we watched the fire as it reached the ocean.

A historical note. The Spanish explorer, Juan Cabrillo noted the area of the Los Angeles basin on his maps as the Bay of Smokes.


It’s that time again. Time for my yearly physical exam and I’m not looking forward to it. I have grown fat and lazy during the past year and that’s embarrassing. I already have my excuses prepared, but I think the doctor will have heard them all before. Cholesterol levels? I don’t want to know! Triglycerides? Scary thoughts!

But, on the plus side, I have more energy than 99% of the seniors I know here on the Planet Orland. We had a fish fry here last night and we were sharing our photos of our week in Disneyland and we kept hearing the same thing from our guests, “You didn’t go on those rides, did you?” They would shake their heads in dismay when they heard that we rode them all!

What’s the secret for staying fit and active? Walking. And then walk some more. Sure, it helped that I took up walking at an earlier age (7 years ago?) and have kept it up; except for the past 7 months. (Shame!) But even if you’re in far less than perfect health, walking is good for you. If you need a cane to walk, walk a block and back every day. Increase the distance every two weeks. If you’re in good health, walk 5 miles a day. That’s one hour and 15 minutes of great cardio exercise at a good walking pace. Try and cut down the time so that you can do the 5 miles in 70 minutes. 65 minutes. I’m not a doctor and I know that everyone has a different story, a different condition, but you can’t be content with the status quo!

I’m not sure how I will explain to the doctor that I didn’t get around to doing a marathon this summer or fall. He knows that I’m a racewalker, so I better have a good story as to why I didn’t race after March. The dog ate my shoes? I better plan on telling him that I will be doing the Portland Marathon next year and hope he forgives me.

I belong to the Chico Running club, but I have been avoiding them as well because of my laziness. My plan… is to begin walking the 6.2 miles around Bidwell Park at least 4 times a week. That will restore some tone to my muscles and drop some weight. I also need to volunteer to help at some of the races. No, I’m not a runner. Don’t want to be a runner. Running is not necessarily good for you. But being around runners is always good for you!

And I need to look at all of the activities that I volunteer for. As much as I enjoy them all, I can’t let them interfere with my plan to regain my fitness levels of a year ago. My Blogger profile says that I'm an Athlete, among other things...well, I need to be one again.



An interesting and well written blog...

Oddly, it doesn't support an RSS feed so I have a shortcut to it on my toolbar. And there hadn't been an entry for a very long time... but today there is! And it's a personal look at the subject I mentioned yesterday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

One More Ride

I knew where the camera was located and so I was hamming it up a little bit. Those who didn't know, were simply terrified. Click on the image to see Karlee and Kyle's expression. True Kodak moments.

Something to ponder

Little known facts...

Most of our oil is imported from Canada, eh. Followed by Mexico, si! And then... Horrors! Venezuela.

Church Tank

Type 1

Voted #1 by the Evangelical crowd. Defeating both Romney and Huckabee....

Note of explanation: there are Evangelicals and then there are evangelicals. There is a difference. It's similar to the difference between Christians and christians.

Back to Iraq

Turkey speaks

“Those who criticize us in regards with the motion, should explain what they’re looking for in Afghanistan,” Good question. Apparently it isn't Osama.

“Turkey applies the same international law that granted the right and authority to those who entered in Afghanistan in connection with some organizations with which they had linked the attacks on twin towers. Therefore, nobody has the right to say anything.” Expect anything!

Happy Place

Happy cat; asleep on the chair next to me. All is well in her world. She has me trained well and I respond as needed whenever she calls for me. I should include a photo of her, but black cats are almost impossible to photograph. All their features disappear into the dark fur. When I do take a picture, she resembles a black spot, a mere shadow of herself. Stealth mode.

I’ve ignored the news this morning as most Sunday stories are fluff; unless half of the world disappeared last night. But I did read the Manhattan Beach real estate blog and saw that rentals in the ‘Tree Section’ were into the $8,500 a month range! I seem to remember my parents paying something like $100 a month for a house in the trees. (Pine Ave.) I suppose most peoples childhood homes have remained much the same. Sure, prices may have gone up some, but I expect the hometown atmosphere remained the same. But not Manhattan. Changed and gone forever. I really miss you, Manhattan Beach.

But, one of the stories this morning caught my attention; Romney captures Evangelical support with 27.6 % of the straw poll. Wow! I hope he doesn’t take that check to the bank. And it’s interesting to see 27.6% of the rabid Evangelicals departing from their usual hatred of Mormons. Revelation?

And this story...

Syria Shuts Main Exit From War for Iraqis


Syria has closed its borders to Iraqis and imposed new visa rules that will legally require 1.5 million Iraqis currently in Syria to return to Iraq.

This could be a disaster. 1.5 million very unhappy citizens returning… to what? And why did they leave to begin with? Vacationing in Damascus?

Boy suspended

for stick-figure drawing -

A life of crime begins early. The good news is that he's been caught... and punished.

(But I would suggest that he pick better friends in the future. Friends that don't rat on you.)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Much Younger Artist

I got a chance to 'push' art today. Karlee was right in the middle of making this for me when I arrived at her house this morning...
Vertical or horizontal? Doesn't matter. And Kyle told me that he loves to draw what he 'feels' and has promised to do one for me. We had a good few minutes of being excited about art. And that's always a good thing!


Select a Candidate for President

This is terrible! Each question does not allow for more than one answer... and most require at least two.

For instance; the first question is "What is your opinion on the war in Iraq?"

Possible answers are;
1.We are going to be in Iraq for a long time, as a supporting force for the Iraqi government and forces.
2. There should be a timetable for the removal of U.S. troops.
3. Decentralize Iraq by dividing it into regions of separate governments.
4. I favor immediate and orderly withdrawl of U.S. troops.
5. U.S. forces need to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes for Iraqi forces to take over.

The only answer I have a problem with contains the word, 'immediate'... the rest should be one answer.

(Later) I answered the questions as best I could and here's the results; scary!

Richardson is still my favorite, but Dodd is coming on stronger each day...

Addendum to previous post

If I were to name the one thing that I found most bothersome in the book, the one thing that I see as an all out assault on, not just reason, but on our democracy; it’s the use of the presidential ‘signing statement’. This man, Bush, has the gall to tell us that he will not observe the law as written and that it’s his interpretation (not the courts) that stands. Where are the outcries from the courts? The legislature? Are they deaf and dumb? (You may use that last word in any way you wish) And worst of all; where are the citizens? Watching television.

Black and White

Life on the Planet Orland. A great place to live, but you don’t want to stay here all of the time. You gotta get out and see the rest of the galaxy every once in awhile. It’s far too easy to live an insulated life and that’s dangerous. Change is good!

All of this reminds me that many of the people I know here on the planet do not think/perceive/observe much beyond the borders of Orland. The local newspaper consists of the police/sheriff’s log with a sprinkling of local ads. For most, this is all of the news they need. Except for… television.

I would bet ($100? $500? $1,000?) that for 95% of the population here, television is the only source of news. A one way medium. ‘Push’ technology. Why would you believe it? I’m baffled. You can’t ask the ‘talking heads’ any questions. You can’t ask them to verify their sources for whatever they are spouting. (Truth? Or lie?) You have to take it or leave it. Most take it.

I’ve just about completed the reading of The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore, and I would recommend it highly. Mr. Gore writes well enough and simply uses the words of the president to convict him. If only the news media and courts would do the same!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Random Gifting

Michelle is the talented writer and the wife of Zack, the talented artist. (I'm allowed to use lots of superlatives. I'm the grandfather.)


Zach MacPhearson

Our grandson...and a wicked artist!

Screaming again

As you can see, we all had fun... though one small passenger seems to be asleep. Her eyes are closed.


The rides at Disneyland are always the best! And we got to experience a new one (for us). The Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror was simply great! We went on it twice. (The terror was diminished a little on the second trip) Of course California Screamin’, (the roller coaster I love!) was operating in fine form and I got two rides on it. Let’s see, Space Mountain, Matterhorn bobsleds, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain…plus half a dozen others; no wonder I’m a little bit sore. Ouch!


fright-mask -

Like the man's hard to look away!

Time Goes By

What it's really like to get older

House Minority Whip, Roy Blunt [R-Mo.], used the event to sound a partisan alarm, stating in a press release:
"Today marks the first drip in what promises to be a deluge of new Social Security spending - obligations the current program, on its present course, will not be able to meet. And as bleak as the issue looks right now, it's a problem that will grow more acute by the day as Democrats continue to finance their reckless spending agenda by raiding the Social Security trust fund."

Gosh! Who knew it was the darn Democrats that were spending all of the money? Mr Blunt wouldn't lie to us, would he? Do bears... oh, never mind.

Security, please!

Despite the recent headlines about air travel headaches around the country, our travel experience was very good overall. And although I’m pretty much used to the tired antics of some Southwest flight attendants and have heard most of their jokes, we were treated to one who had all new material. Lots of funny stuff! Bonus; Kyle got the cockpit tour on the outbound flight while Karlee got the same on the return trip. Not bad!

But… security was still an odd experience. We had to wait to put our belongings on the conveyor while three TSA agents spent a few minutes laughing and pointing at what they saw on the inspection screen. They even called over one of their colleagues to share the joke. A good time was had by all; except for the passenger whose luggage was being enjoyed. She had to wait until the laughter died down and her possessions returned to her. Of course no one told her what was so funny…

(Tried to upload a photo but Blogger wasn't cooperating)

Hang up and drive!

We’re back. Safe at last. These two Introverts have spent 2.5 days in the company of hundreds of thousands of people and are we ever tired! Extroverting (for us) is hard work… and the noise! Are Extroverts ever silent for more than a minute? Apparently not; cell phones and Bluetooth enabled headsets were present every place you looked. Alicia took a picture of the bumper cars in the Bug’s Life section of the park and in the photo you can see a man in one of the cars, cell phone pressed to his ear. Yes, he is going the wrong way and he’s surrounded by children who know which way to drive; including grandson Kyle.

And talk about driving… every one of the adults in our party reported a hit and run incident with a ‘stroller’. Strollers the size of SUV’s. I was sitting on a bench when one of these large strollers ran up over my right foot. “Oops! Sorry!” I don’t remember ever seeing so many strollers in the park before. In fact, they have signs posted in some areas that regulate stroller parking.

And of course the large number of strollers indicates that the park was filled with pre-school children. Toddlers. And although most rides were off-limits to them, they were having a blast! Their parents didn’t smile a lot, but the kids did.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh, Oh

Just reading the newspaper and I see that TSA has some problems. Apparently the screeners are missing about 75% of the fake explosives that undercover agents try to pass through the gates at LAX. Chicago has 60% failure rate; while in San Francisco... an airport that uses a private security contractor for screening; only 20% get through.

All this news means that everyone will get extra attention today as they travel.... that's us. Darn!

Day 3

Ouch! That's the sound I make when I have to buy a simple cup of coffee here in the Magic Kingdom. $2.90. Oh, I could have had a bottle of city water, all done up in a nice plastic container for just $2.75, but I went for the good stuff!

Disneyland is an example of capitalism at its finest. A captive consumer and corporate greed = great profits. Did I mention the $10 tacos?

A little bit later this morning I will walk down the street to a real coffee shop and have a latte for $3.25. The difference being, this coffee shop is located off the premises and must compete for your dollars.

Enough! This is the 'happiest place on earth' and I came here voluntarily. And at 3 this afternoon, we're leaving... for a trip to the airport and home again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day One is Over

It's early in the morning and I am nursing some sore muscles. Who knew that fun could be painful? But this is the 'happiest place on earth' and I must put on a smile.

Getting here via Southwest was pretty much the experience I expected. Security was bedlam, but once through, it was just a normal bus ride. Except for the fact that the pilot gave grandson Kyle a tour of the cockpit. (I'll post the pictures later) I had no idea that this was even allowed anymore. Allowed or not, it made Kyle's day!

As promised, we were hanging upside down in a roller coaster not too long after arriving at the park. Revelation; it was still fun!

And from the roller coaster we went on to sample a little bit of everything in the California Adventure side of the park, including the Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror. Now that's fun!
We finished up the day by getting thoroughly soaked on a river ride whose name I have forgotten.

Today is the day for Disneyland proper...and more muscle straining rides.

It's 5 in the morning and I hear a leaf blower outside my window? What? I look down on the scene below and it's a maintenance man with a battery powered insecticide sprayer and a flashlight. He is wandering through the flower beds, catching any napping insects. Of course they can't do that during the day when the park is open. Remember? This is a 'happy place' and the home of "It's a Bug's Life" they do it early in the morning when any little Disneyland visitors will be asleep and won't see the death and destruction of their favorite cartoon characters.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

California (Southern) Here We Come!

The kingdom of the Mouse is calling and we’re flying south this morning with grandchildren and their parents. By noon today, or shortly thereafter, we will be hanging upside down on the roller coaster that dominates the California Adventure scene in Disneyland.

Odd, but Boo the cat went into her pet carrier yesterday afternoon without her usual struggles to remain free? Similar to the way I will board the airplane today. I will go peacefully… but not happily. Root canal? OK. Air travel? Please…no! Please don’t make me go! But I can’t indulge myself; I must be ‘mature’ while the grandchildren are watching

It’s a short flight, Sacramento to Anaheim and one that I’ve flown hundreds of times. But now that I’m retired and don’t have to fly twice a week, I would rather not. Driving is a great alternative; walking wouldn’t be bad either. Hmm? I wonder if the kids could be talked into it?

Fear of flying is not a part of my distaste for air travel. I think it’s my age. Because when I was growing up, air travel was fun! Today, our grandchildren have nothing to compare the experience with and so they will consider it ‘normal’. It’s not. The best part of the whole trip will be the minute I climb into the Super Shuttle van and leave the airport; free! Free at last! It’s true; I have an almost physical sense of freedom that exhilarates me when I leave airports now. I suppose you get the same rush when leaving a prison.

I will be taking a computer with me, another hassle when going through security, but it will be useful for viewing photos each day and then storing them. I just had a thought; why don’t hotels supply computers? They could build them right into the furniture and then you could log onto your own on-line account where you have all of the files you want or need. You would have uploaded those files before you traveled. Google Docs already supplies word processing and spreadsheets on-line, so most of your computing software needs are right there. I would pay an extra $5 a night for the privilege. Maybe $10? For the hotel, that same computer becomes an in-room concierge. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea! But, surely, someone has already done this, right?

Monday, October 15, 2007

My 'Cloud'

This is just a snapshot and what I'm looking for is a real cloud generator.


Behind the news: Blackwater and another swiftboat attack

Lots of good links here if you wish to actually know more about these things. Otherwise, it's just "film at 11".

Daily Kos

Generation Gap?

This is the stuff that gets me going!

"...GOP Lt. Gov. Jim Risch is a dinosaur who writes by hand and uses dictation, doesn't use e-mail, and pays no mind to blogs or online news....
The disgrace of Sen. Larry Craig has put the Idaho race on the Web map, says LaRocco, 61, who announced his campaign on his Web site in April. He's using the Democratic to raise money, posting campaign video on and courting left-wing bloggers like Joan McCarter at
Risch has no plans to blog, post to YouTube or even start using personal e-mail. "It's generational, I suppose," said Risch, 64. "When I want to talk to somebody, I pick up the phone.... I have no plans of penetrating the blogosphere," Risch told me. "I understand there's a lot of chatter about them among politicos like us. But the guy walking down the street who's gonna vote, who's neither a Republican or a Democrat, how many political blogs does that guy visit between now and the day he punches that ballot?"..."

Well, for starters, I'm walking down that street, I'm neither a Republican or a Democrat and I'm visiting political blogs and I'm 67. What I'm not... is living in Idaho. Where dinosaurs still roam.