Friday, June 30, 2023

Smoke on the water and fire in the sky

I got just a short whiff of Canadian forest fire. Then it cleared up. Our constant rainy weather pattern might have something to do with that. Sure, we’ve had some flash flood warnings, but the air has been pretty good. 

My buddy in western Kentucky sent me a photo of very smokey air down there. Kentucky is a long way from Canada, but not far enough it seems. Now I see the smoke is back in Washington D. C.. No doubt that inspire the politicians to do something for the environment. 

Ah, who am I kidding? The politicians will continue with their Tom Foolery and shenanigans. 

Well, at least most of us still have our face masks. That helps. People have also dragged out their house air filters from the back closet. Those help a lot too. 

It’s a pretty good idea to have some sort of house filtration. Ideally you’d want a system that keeps a house or a room at a slightly higher pressure than outside. That would involve an external air intake and maybe a one way pressure relief valve. Look at old filter designs to keep radioactive fallout out of your living spaces. 

Actually, it’s not a bad idea at all to have a system that can keep radioactive fallout and smoke out your lungs. The smoke we have now. The fallout is a possibility.


Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Doctor

I hate going to the doctor. My experiences with the medical system has been generally negative. Fortunately, I’ve a decent relationship with a doctor I actually like and respect now. He listens to me and that’s rare. 

You know when you are younger and get injured? Then you recover. Along comes some old dude. With a knowing glint in his eye he says, “You’re going to feel that when you get older.” 

That old SOB knew what he was talking about. Leg injuries sustained when I was younger caused circulation issues in recent years. Leg wounds take their own sweet time to heal. The healing process mimics that of a diabetic but my blood sugar is normal. I’ve learned what works to help the healing along. 

The only glitch in the system is that sometimes the wound gets infected. That happened and I can’t buy antibiotics over the counter. Hence the trip to the doctor. (Yeah yeah, I know about fish antibiotics) 

So I’ve started on a course of powerful antibiotics and should start healing up in a few days. 

The thing is I knew that I should have been taking better care of myself. I decided to deal with other commitments instead of taking it easy. Now I’m paying for it. Fortunately the medical system, for all its faults, has developed some decent medicines.

In a world without antibiotics preventing infections is critical. I screwed up this time but thank goodness there’s modern treatments. We should not take them for granted. 


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

When you make your plans

There’s a certain fantasy of how one would perform during a SHTF situation. If you’ve done any prepping at all you imagine different scenarios. Bad stuff could happen. Those of us who’ve been at this for a while would like to think we are pretty competent. When push comes to shove we’ll be shoving and pushing right back. 

That’s the ideal anyway. It might even be true -on our best day. 

Unfortunately, disasters don’t work on our schedule. No, that’s not when the bad thing happens. When the brown stuff hits the rotary stuff we might not be at our best. It’s going to hit when we are short of funds, the pantry is unusually depleted and we have a leg in a cast. 

Two things are important during that sort of situation. The first is having community that will pull you through. It might be as simple as someone dropping off a case of canned food to get you past a bad patch. It could someone picking up all the slack, doing your job because you can’t. Nothing beats having a tribe you can rely on. Most of us would like to be the one helping, but there’s no shame in accepting help when you need it. 

The second thing is to actually set up your situation so you can survive with minimum effort. Instead of thinking what a big macho man could do, think what a 12 year old kid could do. If a smaller weaker person can keep the household going you stand a much better chance of surviving. 

Some examples:

If it takes a big strong person to keep the woodstove going you might want some backup heat that only requires flipping a switch. 

Maybe you have massive whole wheat storage, a manual grain grinder, and a good wood fired bread oven. However, now you are laid up and the 12 year old has to take over. Some canned crackers and a big jar of peanut butter might be just the thing. 

Imagine you have a remote bug out location. In the best of times you could don a 40 pound pack and hike all the way there. With that leg cast on it might be better to live full time in a decent bug in location. 

Instead of actively hunting and fishing, maybe you only have the strength and energy to set out a few critter traps. They work while you are napping on the couch. 

Few of us have never been injured or sick. We have to prepare for those time when we are not at our best. Actually, it’s a good idea to run that way more often than not. Just because you can do the hard things doesn’t mean you should.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Heatwave in the South

The heat is on. 

It’s looking bad from Texas to Florida. Hope everyone is prepared in case the grid goes down. The south is summer without AC is not a happy place.

Been there. Done that. 

It’s one thing if you can get acclimated to the heat. The shock is not so bad if you spend time outside. Also helps to not keep your AC set to 63. 

Of course, I live in the rather comfortable mountains of New Hampshire. For me the grid going down is more about not freezing to death in the winter. Everyone has gotten used to having electricity at their beck and call. 

Now more than ever it’s important to have backup plans. Even a solar electric powered fan is better than nothing at all. 


Monday, June 26, 2023

How old is too old?

The Scooter Cannonball just finished up. There were a lot more gray haired -or no haired people at the finish line than not. The oldest participant I’m told was 84. Plenty of grandparents did the event. That’s pretty impressive when you consider it’s a coast to coast endurance event on small displacement scooters. 

Frankly, it gives me hope. 

So what does it take to finish an event like this? Endurance is a big one. There’s pain involved here. However if your body hurts everyday anyway might as do something interesting. A good part of these sort of events is mental toughness. It’s the ability to get up every morning and put the miles in. 

You don’t really need a whole lot of physical strength as you are on a motorized vehicle. However, when you dump your heavily loaded scooter on a dirt road it has to be picked up again. Those dirt sections took their toll, sending a number of riders to the hospital. Most scooters aren’t exactly dirt bikes. 

When I was a kid I did a lot of canoe and kayak racing. There were slalom and white water down river events. One old guy in his 80s always competed. He never won, but always finished -usually somewhere in the middle of the pack. The man was a legend. 

So what do you want to do with your golden years? Sit around watching TV while waiting to die? For me, I hope to be well enough to keep having adventures. 

Sure, you could get seriously injured or even die. There are worse ways to go. We are all going to die sooner or later anyway. No need to give up before the Grim Reaper comes to your door. 


Sunday, June 25, 2023

Russian Family Spat

Like a lot of people I’ve been following the news out of Russia. My popcorn was ready in case it was going to be a Swan Lake moment. 

Looks like Putin cut a deal to save his skin in the short term. Notice I say “short term.” 

Putin’s whole image was that of the tough guy. Turns out that when push comes to shove he’s not so tough. A tough guy would have crushed his enemies. That didn’t happen. Wagner basically got away with an armed insurrection. Putin’s rivals on the side lines have taken notice.

Nobody outside of a tight circle really knows what happened in the background. We probably never will learn exactly what went down. 

If anyone won this engagement it’s Ukraine. The Russian side is in serious disarray. That can’t but help the Ukrainians. 

Interesting times boys and girls. 


Saturday, June 24, 2023

Destructive Testing

I’ve been following the Scooter Cannonball.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is watching the behind the scenes videos. Much of that is field repairs, which I’ve paid close attention to. The YouTube guy Quazi Motard has put out some good stuff. He’s currently running a Honda PCX 150 much like my own. 

I’ve learned is that it’s probably a mistake to stray too far from Honda original parts. Seeing Quazi’s scooter transmission grenade on the highway was eye opening. The after market parts gave better performance, but didn’t go the distance. 

Endurance events are a good way to figure out how good different vehicles are when the going gets tough. I’m checking out scooters with this event, but I’ve followed boat events and 4X4 rallies. Often you find the most popular and/or most expensive do worse than less expensive options. 

For example Vespa scooters are stupid expensive. However, they’ve been falling apart during the Scooter Cannonball. Many are plagued by electrical issues. Even things that really shouldn’t go wrong are going wrong. Freaking tail lights are rattling out of their mountings and falling apart. While they are fast they don’t really handle that well in the corners. 

We love our vehicles. When the going gets tough we don’t want them to fail. If they do fail we need to know how to make repairs. Endurance events put things to the test. Years of normal wear and tear can happen in a matter of days. It’s a great learning experience. When I spend my limited dollars I don’t want a garage queen that can’t handle the real world. 


Friday, June 23, 2023

Different Gatherings

Recently I made a post about the Rainbow Gathering here in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods. I actually plan on checking them out next month. Might even share a few photos if they don’t mind being photographed. 

Currently, not that many miles away, is Porcfest  It’s the Porcupine Freedom Festival. That’s put on by the Free State Project. It’s their 20th year anniversary. 

I think it’s interesting that New Hampshire’s North Country hosts interesting groups. 

Now all we need is a nice big Pride Parade. No, seriously. Hear me out. You don’t have to like or agree with any of these groups. The point is that they feel it’s safe to be different. 

Conformity makes me nervous. Religious conformity that sets community standards are the worse. That’s how you get the Taliban -or ultra conservative Christians that celebrate the Prince of Peace but practice hate. They are all the same to me. It’s not safe to be different. 

I am a huge believer in personal freedom. As long as nobody tries to force their beliefs on me it’s all good. Have fun, don’t get hurt.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Trail Support

My daughter, her husband, daughter and dog are on a hike in western Maine. I’m their shuttle service. They were dropped off eight miles up a rough dirt road. It’s a good thing they have a 4X4 pickup. 

In my younger days I often hiked those mountains. I wish I was going with them, but I’m in no condition to do so right now. At any rate, I’m happy to assist with the shuttle service. 

Cell phones have changed hiking. My daughter called to inform me of a change of plans. They decided to take a different trail out of the mountains and cut their hike a day short. Back in my day I had to hitchhike. It wasn’t easy to get a ride after too many days in the mountains without a shower. The other option was to park a vehicle at your take out point and hope nothing happened to it. One year a porcupine ate the rubber off my bumper. 

There are places along the route where cell phone service service is spotty. With that in mind I lent them my Garmin Inreach. It’s a device that communicates directly with satellites -no cell service needed. It has a emergency button to call in the rescue teams if needed. That’s a great feature but you don’t  push that button lightly. It also allows for text communication with any cell phone and that’s a really useful option.

I’m looking forward to seeing them again and I’m glad I could help in a small way.


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

That Time Already

Looks like hurricane season is already heating up -as if the tornadoes recently haven’t been bad enough. 

At least there’s usually a little more warning with hurricanes. This might be a good time to check your preps and make sure you have what you need. Better to fill in any gaps now and beat the the rush to the store. 

So what if you don’t live on the coast? That doesn’t mean you won’t be affected. Hurricane Sandy did extensive damage to Vermont of all places. Heavy storm rains washed out many roads. Whole communities were isolated. 

There’s also a major Gulf Coast pipeline that supplies fuel all the way to the Northeast. That’s something to keep in mind. Personally it’s time for me to replace my backup fuel. 

If a major hurricane or three impacts Florida it could totally wipe out what’s left of its insurance industry. If you think living in Florida has gotten expensive lately, you ain’t seen nothing yet. 

Even if you live in North Dakota you might want to be concerned. When it comes right down to it we are all Americans and all in this together. 


Monday, June 19, 2023

100 Years in Laconia

This is the 100 year anniversary of Bike Week in Laconia New Hampshire. I’ve been but it’s been a few years -maybe more than a few. I’m certainly not going to go down there on a 150 cc scooter. Heck, back in the day they used to torch a Japanese bike every year. I guess it was a sacrifice to the Harley gods. 

In those days I was on an old KZ-900. It got the job done and got it done very quickly. It even made the  trip up Mt. Washington a couple of times. 

Unfortunately, the last time I went was with an idiot. He was giving a lot of lip to a young skinny part time cop. Here’s the thing about skinny part time cops: they have radios. The cop made a short call on the radio. Soon a plain green panel van pulled up. Three huge raw meat eating New Hampshire State police jumped out. They had my idiot friend trussed up like a Christmas turkey before you could say “drunk and disorderly.” He made a big thud as his 6 foot 250 pound frame hit the floor of the van. 

Let’s just say that’s the last time I hung out with that guy. 

I haven’t been back to the event since, but that’s mainly because I don’t have any other bike riding friends who wanted to go. Guess I’m beyond that now. Still, I’ve some good memories of most of my times at those events.


Sunday, June 18, 2023

Scooter Cannonball

The Scooter Cannonball starts today: 

It’s one of those insane things to do. Nothing like a coast to coast event that takes place on small displacement scooters. I’m sad that I was unable to participate. 

The logistics are particularly bad for me this year. It begins in San Clemente, CA and ends at Hilton Head, SC. Since I’m located in northern New Hampshire it’s a long long way to the start and a significant distance to return home. 

The previous one would have been better. It started in Bangor Maine and ended up in Oregon I believe.   At least I’d only have to figure out how to get back home from the Northwest. That was the year my daughter and grandson came over to visit from California. It’s rare for them to make it home so I wasn’t going to miss out. 

Of course, there’s always the next one. Now all I have to do is save up the money for the adventure and get in reasonable condition. Maybe I’m getting too old for this, but you are never too old to do something foolish.


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Rainbow Invasion

There’s a Rainbow Family gathering happening in the Kilkenny National Forest here in northern New Hampshire. That should be interesting. 

They are a counter culture gathering that’s been around since about 1970. There’s a pretty decent Wikipedia article about the movement:

Right now I’m told there’s all kinds of Federal law enforcement in the area driving white pickup trucks and vans. It’s early yet but they’ve already got boots on the ground. 

So what’s a Rainbow gathering like? Personally my direct information is limited. My lovely wife and I did camp near them when they were in the Florida Ocala National Forest. The local gas station starting making people pay up front for gas instead of pumping and paying inside later. They had too many drive offs. In fact, at first we were mistaken for Rainbow people. When they found out we were staying at a nearby campground they apologized for making us pay upfront. I suppose after a few months of camping we look like dirty hippies. 

Anyway, they are all about peace, love, music, good drugs, and life without money. It’s the part about not having money that caused issues with the gas station. 

So am I worried? A bit, but not so much about the Rainbow folks. My concern is the big influx of law enforcement. Hopefully they’ll be chill and not overreact. 

Once they get settled in I’d like to check them out. Just don’t eat the food or drink the water. Disease outbreaks have been know to follow them around. Sometimes sanitation is a bit subpar. At any rate, this should be fun.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Here’s the thing about Biden

I’m not a huge Biden fan. However, with all his faults I voted for him. Most people did. That’s why he’s President. That’s how it works. 

If he loses the next election I expect he’ll graciously step down. That’s how democracy works. What I don’t expect is false claims about actually winning. I don’t expect him to encourage an insurrection. That’s someone else. 

For the sake of argument let’s say that Biden is found guilty of serious wrong doing. Picture something so serious he’s indicted and charged in a Federal court. At that point I expect he’s resign as President. 

Hope you would all enjoy President Harris. 


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Between showers and thunderstorms

There’s some really nasty weather working its way through the south. While here in northern New Hampshire it’s been wet but we very rarely get tornadoes. I’m fine with that. 

Wednesday we had a pretty good afternoon. The night rains had dried up and the thunderstorms hadn’t moved in yet. I was able to run into the village to get a propane tank filled. It’s funny. My house used to have a fair number of appliances that ran on propane. A 500 pound tank made sense then. Now the only thing on propane is a dryer. The 500 pound tank, and the services fees that went with it, have been replaced with a 20 pound tank. That little tank lasts for months. 

There was just enough time left to change the back tire on my scooter. That tire is a pain as everything from the exhaust to a shock absorber needs to be removed to get to it. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing the job. Last time I set the tire bead using a small starter fluid explosion. While that was fun and effective, it’s not really safe. This time around the bead was set using a CO2 cartridge. That worked almost as well and nobody lost their eyelashes. 

Just as the exhaust bolts were going on the thunder started in the distance. Everything was buttoned up and under cover about three minutes before the storm hit. 

Good fun.


Wednesday, June 14, 2023

What we know

Trump had a brief stint in court. There wasn’t any rioting in the streets. To me it looked like a tired old man doing something he didn’t want to do. There were supporters. I assume some of that crowd was supporters. For a while there it mostly looked like press. Trump’s arrest appeared pretty low key. Had it been you or me law enforcement would have broken our door down in the night and hauled us away in chains. We wouldn’t be walking around free either, but that’s our two tier justice system for you.

There’s something else big going on that we have limited information about. That’s the war in Ukraine -and Russia, apparently. Most of the information coming out is from the Russian side, so we know how unbiased that is. It will take some time for us to discover what’s really going on. However, it looks like Russia lost an important general and that says a lot. 

There was a term my journalist friends used to use.

“Feeding the beast.”

No matter what brilliant bit of reporting you did yesterday, it doesn’t matter today. Today you need something new to feed the beast. That was bad enough in the slow days of newspapers. Now with a 24/7 news cycle the beast is always hungry. The quality of reporting suffers. That’s why so little of what’s on “news” channels is actual news. There’s a lot of speculation, analysis and opinions. Facts? Those are in limited supply. 

Then again the facts matter. It’s just we’ll have to deal with a lot of dirt before we get to a few flakes of gold.


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Pending . . .

My blog almost always posts at midnight. Unfortunately big ground breaking news isn’t hitting until much later in the day. I could speculate but there’s been way way too much of that going on as it is. 

So I’m going to sit this out for a bit and see what the day brings. 

No sense in adding fuel to the fire.


Monday, June 12, 2023

Then End of Adventure Travel?

I subscribe to a lot of YouTube adventure travel channels. It’s a good way to pass the cold winter months. Van dwellers, sailors, motorcycle riders -a whole gallery of travelers. 

A lot of them have gone dark in recent months. Has adventure travel lost its attraction?

I’m sure that’s true for some channels that have gone dark, but there are many reasons to give it up.

A lot of travelers have satisfied the travel itch. They’ve been on the road on the water for a while and did the the things they dreamed of doing. Many have gone on to other types of adventure. Some have aged out of that sort of lifestyle. If you start to get infirm or need regular medical care a home base is just about a necessity. 

Some of the young couples have had a major life change: they had a child or two. That changes everything. Traveling with babies is a whole other thing. Not only is it harder to do, there are limitations  on what you can do. It’s hard enough to deal with a young children without the added hassle of constant travel. 

Not to be discounted is the changes that happened at YouTube. Most of those channels just don’t pay as well as they used to. YouTube appears to be focusing on short form video -as if they want to be Tic Toc. 

Then there are people who are still traveling but decided not to have the added stress of maintaining a channel. I know from personal experience how hard that can be. It’s a hassle to do much more than to snap a few photos and maybe make a few notes in a journal. Filing and editing a 20 minute episode is a huge time and energy draw. Then there’s the hassle of trying to find a way to upload it to the Internet. 

I do miss some of my favorites, but I understand why people quit. 


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Will Trump go to jail?


Okay, he’s been indicted. There a number of other legal cases in the works. This is most likely the first set of indictments. 

Of course an indictment is not a conviction. I’m going to assume that at least one of those cases will stick. There are serious charges and prosecutors have been meticulous preparing their cases. 

If convicted will he go to jail?

Even then it’s a maybe. Mr Trump has always pushed for delay after delay. Expect him to make use of every appeal available. It’s possible he just might run out the clock until he dies from natural causes. 

I’m not sure Mr. Trump will ever go to jail for his crimes. However, plenty of his supporters have already gone to jail. More will be doing time. I am amazed he can still inspire people to break the law for him. Well, he always was a salesman. 

I know this might not be the most popular post, but lets see how it plays out down the road.


Friday, June 9, 2023

Bad Air

Apparently environmental issues don’t respect International borders. The air is pretty bad in much of the US due to fires in Canada. We’ve been pretty lucky so far in northern NH. While we’ve gotten a whiff of smoke now and then it’s no where near NY’s orange sky levels.

So why doesn’t the US help our neighbors up in Canada? Thanks to new rules put in during the Trump administration it’s almost impossible for US firefighters to work in Canada now. The two countries used to have a very good working relationship when it came to fires. Apparently Justin Trudeau had to be punished for perceived transgressions or something like that. 

So with the obvious crisis, now stretching all the way down to D. C. itself, congress is at work. Are they tackling the problem? Of course not. They are debating about not letting Biden ban gas stoves. Funny thing, Republicans can’t even agree on that bit of political theater. Even their dysfunction is dysfunctional. 

Just wait until the western fire season gets into high gear. 

Still have those masks lying around?


Thursday, June 8, 2023

Free 2010 Ford Escape

I was given a 2010 Ford Escape with 130,000 miles. I’ve very grateful to the person who gave it to me. Thanks Amy!

So how much money do I have in into it so far?

First off I was warned there was something off with the front end. That turned out to be lower ball joints: $341.00. 

The battery was bad: $181.00. 

Two trips 86 miles away. One on the scooter to get the bill of sale and title. Another with a friend who gave me a ride. Gas and lunches about $80.00.  

State inspection: $40.00.

State registration: $140.00

So I’ve got just under $800 to bring it home. That’s still a bargain. The registration and inspection would have to be paid on any other vehicle so we probably honestly say it was about a $600 vehicle. It’s in really good condition with no rust and excellent tires. That’s worth something. In my area similar vehicles are going for between $4000 and $6000. Personally I think the upper end is overprices but that’s what people are asking. 

I still have the Chevy Blazer but repairs have been slow. It’s also six years older than the Ford. The plan is to eventually get it back on the road then assess my needs. It might get get sold or maybe just get used as a tow vehicle for the boat. At least now I have options.

We still have my wife’s 2015 Nissan Versa Note. I just saved about $200 changing the brakes and rotors myself. 

Heck, I just picked up two new tires for the scooter that’s another couple hundred dollars. I’m a big guy on a little scooter so cheap tires aren’t worth it. 

Vehicles will keep you broke but transportation is necessary.


Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Tiny “Houses”

I think tiny houses have their place. With the price of regular houses in high orbit people are looking for alternatives. Even apartments are stupid expensive. Every six months my daughter pays in rent what it once cost me for an actual house. It was on the small side, but not tiny. Sure, it needed work, but it was a freaking house. 

There are all these articles and videos about people getting great deals on tiny houses from big box stores. 

The vast majority of those structures are not houses. They are sheds. They are what goes next to a real house, not a house in their own right. 

Sheds are usually of much lighter construction. Typically they are just a shell. There’s no insulation, interior walls, plumbing and electricity. Even worse, you need actual land with water, septic and some sort of foundation. That is, if you want an actual house. Oh yeah, your “shed” probably won’t pass local codes for human occupancy. 

That’s a major reason why a lot of tiny homes are built on trailer frames. They are registered as trailers and kinda skirt the whole building code thing. Even that might not work. Living in one full time might even be against the law. In my very rural town it’s actually against the law to live in a trailer or RV. Your mileage may vary. 

Personally I think laws against tiny homes should be changed. If I want to live in a very small space that should be my business. There aren’t a lot of locations where it’s possible to do that. A lot of places where you can live that way are not really great places for living. Being in a remote desert with no water or services isn’t all that wonderful for most people. 

Frankly, for the price of those sheds people with basic skills can usually build something better from scratch. 


Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Will AI replace you?

Here I go writing about something I have only passing knowledge of. Maybe AI, with its access to huge data basses could do a better job?

I just read an article about how AI won’t replace writers and artists -or anyone else creative for that matter. I’m not so sure. 

Will the quality be anything like Shakespeare? I doubt it. However, most of what’s created by flesh and blood humans is not that good. The big question is: will AI be good enough for most people most of the time?

It might be. I’m just not sure. Is factory built furniture as good as furniture built by a skilled craftsman? Of course not, but the vast majority of people have factory furniture as it’s good enough. Who’s got the piles of money for a real artist? AI produced art just might be good enough for most. 

Another thing to consider is that we are really in the early days of AI. Early cars didn’t look like a good replacement for horses. That changed. Maybe future AI will be so far ahead of humans that we’ll be a horse trying to catch a race car. 

It can be kinda scary to think where all this could be going. Maybe humans will be stuck with the crappy jobs that artificial intelligences will be too smart to do.


Monday, June 5, 2023

Home on the range

One of the things I miss is having a gun range right behind the house. There used to be nothing back there for thousands of feet. Should a round somehow miss the backstop there was nothing and no one for a long long way. 

Then some bozo decided to develop the land. They came in from the far side and put a thousand feet of road towards my place. The only lot that got built on was the one at the end of that road. It was still a fair distance from my range, but why take chances?

It didn’t help that the road around the lake went from very few full time residents to a fair number of full timers. Then there was the guy who’s hyper dog would run under his bed and wet itself every single time it heard a gunshot. I kinda felt bad when he told me about his stupid dog. 

So now all I have there is an archery range. It’s quiet and no one complains. 

It’s about a five mile drive to a nice huge sandpit where shooting is allowed. While it’s not as convenient as crossing the street to shoot, I make it work. Now target shooting is more of an event. I usually meet up with friends. We bring folding tables, chairs, spotting scopes, targets, snacks and coffee. Good fun all around. Come to think of it I’m a bit overdue for a good session. 


Sunday, June 4, 2023

Safety violations for coffee

It’s no secret I’m cheap -or frugal, if you’re kind. I’m also not opposed to using equipment for off-label uses. Then there’s the fact I don’t mind a bit of danger. 

So lets start with the cheap part. Decent coffee roasters have gotten too freaking expensive. There used to be some nice hot air roasters for a reasonable price. Not anymore. The relatively inexpensive ones fall apart. Instead of buying a roaster I’ve been using a Nostalgia brand popcorn popper.

That’s the off-label use. You aren’t supposed to use a popcorn popper to roast coffee. In fact, it violates safeguard rule #11 in the manual. Roasting coffee is definitely not a recommended use. If you copy me it’s definitely at your own risk. I don’t use the plastic top as it overheats when roasting coffee. The coffee chaff blows everywhere so my roasting is done on the open porch. The chaff just blows out into the yard. 

So now to the danger part. After about a year the old popcorn popper gave up the ghost -in a spectacular fashion. My niece noticed it was making a lot more smoke than normal. Flaming coffee beans were spewing out of the machine. It was on fire and melting down. Fortunately the fire went out when I unplugged it. 

Since it died in a dangerous and spectacular fashion the only thing to do was to order a replacement. 


Friday, June 2, 2023

Blue Texas?

You make assumptions about a state but one day everything changes. Paxton just might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. When the people who are supposed to uphold the law are charged with a long list of criminal activities somethings wrong. It’s almost impossible to get impeached in Texas but Paxton managed it. 

When a party’s election plan involves voter suppression they aren’t going to last. The Democrats have the numbers. What they lack is candidates the voters can get excited about. Once again it all comes down to quality. 

In my previous blog I mentioned how people are moving to get to states where they feel more comfortable. If you are thinking of moving to TX because it’s a red state you might get surprised. Demographics are changing there. More liberal people have been moving in plus younger voters tend to be more liberal. 

You really have to drill down to see what a state is truly like and where it’s going. Take Vermont for example. This is the place that gave the country Bernie Sanders, perhaps one of the more liberal politicians the nation has. Yet the state of the Vermont is also very gun friendly. Yep, it’s one of those places with well armed liberals. Blow your mind? 

Personally, I’m interested in places where the politicians are looking to improve the lives of their citizens. If their main focus is identity politics there’s a lot of basic governing that just isn’t happening. Someone has to pay attention to the nuts and bolts of running a state. 


Thursday, June 1, 2023

People are moving

People are leaving states where they no longer feel safe. That seems so weird to me. When my friends got out of school they moved to where the jobs were. Then never thought that they might be of the wrong political persuasion or in a random group the legislatures decided to hate. Of course, most of my friends were white so that helped -sad to say.

Still, it’s gotten worse now. 

Frankly, if your politicians are busy trying to tell people how to live something’s wrong. They should be concerned about things like the economy. Rather than single out groups of people to hate shouldn’t they be trying to make life better for everyone in their state? 

There are a lot of people I don’t understand. So what? How they live is none of my business as how I live is none of theirs.