I'm hunkered down in a rest area a couple miles south of the Kentucky border on I75 and it's raining. Wierd out here, a lot of stuff is closed, breezed right through Chattanooga and Knoxville and somehow ended up here. Oh well, a great drive and the gas prices are sick, averaging 200 miles for 10 bucks.

The rest area actually has wifi and it's pretty decent. I'm content. Just checking in, no idea where I'm going to end up tomorrow and I don't really care.

I just came across this photo of my great-grandfather Joseph Simpson. Considering that I'm a great-grandfather, what is his relation to them? And the fact that a photo actually exists, considering that he died more than a hundred years ago, is pretty damned cool.

I'm getting ready for a short road trip just to shake the cobwebs from my old head and my old truck. I thought about East, over to Chattanooga then up to Knoxville, two places I've never been to, and then I looked at my heatmap. I wrote this app just for this purpose, to show the state of the covid world using the most current data, and I didn't like what I saw.

I'm at the X, planned destination to the right. What would you do? I'll just sit here for a bit and wait for an answer, oh wait, I didn't implement comments on this blog, guess I have to figure it out for myself...

Comment from Paul: Just slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan. You don't need to be coy, Roy, just get yourself free. Hop on the bus, Gus. You don't need to discuss much. Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free.

Ok, thanks Paul, I've decided: Chattanooga, TN via Huntsville, AL along scenic route 72. On the way back, Georgia, down through Fort Oglethorpe, Chickamauga, Rising Fawn, over to Flat Rock and Pisgah Alabama and then back through Huntsville. Road trip baby!

I am happy. The virus ain't got me and I'm alive, I haven't lost or gained any net worth, or weight, more animals are alive instead of being slaughtered to feed humans, travel sanctions are loosening up and I'm road-tripping shortly, I finally did my laundry, and my code is solid. Thank you god.

One of the most sought after datasets in the world is Cities in the U.S. with polygons. I've been looking hard because I want to be able to click on a City name and present an outline of the City on a map. I finally gave up because it ain't out there, and created my own!

The current cool magic number is 36,654, which is how many Cities I've added to my database. Every Zip Code city has a city record with a polygon. It's better than the government's DB and the implications are immense.

In July of 2014 I was visiting my boy in Kent, WA and attending my favorite street fair event, Cornucopia. On Sunday we were at the parade and I filmed the Dancing Horses which at the time I thought were very cool so I put the video up on YouTube for my blog.

Through the years the video has been viewed over 30,000 times, been up-voted 139 times, down-voted 20 times and has 19 comments. A lot of folks have very strong opinions about the mistreatment of the horses as a means to make them perform. As a result I eventually formed the opinion that what I witnessed that day was perhaps animal cruelty, until this morning when Barrel Racing Liston left a long and very thoughtful comment defending the practice.

Here's the video:

Here's the comment:

 I understand people have their different opinions on these type of things , but yes. Their is cruel people who unfortunately train their horses in a cruel way. But their is also those who care and are patient on training their horses. Also just because the people in this video are mexican, dont go and hate on mexican people who have dancing horses. More of the dancing horse industry, treats their horses well. I own a horse that is a 6 yr old andalusian stallion, I've owned him his whole life. He started dancing when he was around 2, he started moving by himself in the round pen when we turned on music. Now most of the time he hears music, he starts to dance. He loves dancing. Now to the bits and spurs. Bits arent necessary but not all horses can be ridden without them. Not all horses behave the best without a bit, it gives more command and direction. Also, not all bits are horrible. As a matter of fact, the bits us mexican use are very light and we have a scroll thing on them that the horses can play with when it's in their mouth. Also, using bits depends on the hands of the rider and the horses mouth. Spurs; not necessary but useful for direction and an extension of the foot. Now luckily, these people arent jabbing the spurs on the horses side. Barrel racers usually use spurs kick a lot so they are causing the horse more pain. Think about other sports and such that also use spurs and bits before you hate on horse dancing. :'))

Here's the Original Post from my BusDriverJim blog.

My creativity runs amuck and sometimes I blow my own mind. I woke up this morning at 0300 envisioning a new website with the name OMJzp. I saw it in bold letters on the back of my closed eyelids and it woke me up. I then crawled out of bed and created it.

First I had to secure the domain name. Done. Chalk up another sweet little five letter domain to add to my OMJ collection. Then I ported over the table processing code from my Covid Analysis app and used it as a template. I combined it with my new Zip Code analysis code and a new website was born.

Please allow me to introduce to the world, created in one day with love, inspiration, and no drugs, omjzp.com, the OldManJim Zip Playground! Click on the question mark for help...

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I've made some dramatic progress with my Zip Code data. Yea I know, when is the old fool going to stop babbling on about crap like Zip Codes, Counties, FIPS and all that other nonsense? Sorry, it's what's keeping me sane right now and if you want to tune out, bye!

Still here? Ok, the thing about Zip Code data maintained by the government is that they never associate a State much less a City to the Zip for some reason. It's just a number with geographical boundaries which happen to intersect with a City inside a State. So I did some research and found an API that provides that missing info and completely rebuilt my Zip Code database.

152 Zips from my initial dataset were determined to be invalid for various reasons and I now have 32,992 verified Zip Codes, each with a City and a State. This means I can write tools that query the data in a variety of ways, like show me all the Zips in Seattle, or all the Zips in Tennessee, or all the Zips in Utah Cities that start with "Ce". You get the drift...

Now I'll go write some code. (Update: Try this and click on a State or two.)

I whipped up a cool Map today using my 3,233 U.S. County polygons that plots all of the Counties for a single State when you click on it. Then, click on an individual County for info about that County, or move on to another State.

Steph and the girls had a picnic at my place today while Melissa did Walmart. Daniel dropped by, we had much fun, and I took sixty pictures worth posting. Click my wild-ass mug below to see them.

I know I tend to drop buzz words on this blog without explanation, me bad. Today I would like to explain a couple of mapping concepts that you may or may not know, and hopefully find interesting.

Like what the hell is a FIPS code? It stands for Federal Information Processing Standard and they are numeric codes used by the government to identify Places, i.e. States and Counties for my purposes. Every U.S. State has a two digit code just as they have an abbreviation and I have no idea where they originated from and it really doesn't matter. For example: Tennessee = 47, California = 06, Washington = 53, Idaho = 16 and Florida = 12.

Every County has a three digit code which are subsets of the State FIPS code in which they reside. For example: my County code is 099 which combined with my State code 47 makes up a unique FIPS code for Lawrence County, TN of 47099. This 5 digit FIPS code is the magic number from which all government mapping functions operate, just like the 5 digit Zip Code, which in my case is 38464.

Every FIPS Code and Zip Code have a defined geographical area in the form of an outline of the area (polygon) that are maintained by the government, which is where I get my data. This morning I extracted 33,144 Zip Code polygons from their website and stored them in my database. Combined with the 3,233 Counties and 50 States I stored yesterday, I have a good handle on the data and can present them on any map platform I choose. I hope you learned something from this!

This virus thing hasn't impacted me as much as most folks. I didn't lose my job because I didn't have one and I didn't get any extra money from the government because I didn't deserve it. It has kept my sorry ass home and because of that I have achieved a goal that has escaped me for years: Storing individual U.S. State and County geojson datasets converted from the Census TIGER/Line Shapefiles into a MySql Blob binary data type with a FIPS code key. Seriously, I've been chasing this one down for a long time...

I've implemented them into the State and County Map polygons from my Covid Analysis app and the extra detail is significant.

Here's the code to read a State polygon:

Here's how it's stored in the Database on my server: (54 = West Virginia, 12 = Florida)

Which results in detail like this:

My next door neighbor Daniel is the maintenance guy for the school district and a master electrician but like a lot of folks, not good with computer maintenance. He asked me if I could clean up his very sluggish Windows 10 laptop, so I did. I got rid of a ton of crap and deep cleaned the Avast antivirus from his registry so Windows Defender could work again and protect his machine. The computer was also locked in that Windows Update/Repair loop so I killed the Service. Then I installed some tools and a secure version of Firefox, and the box is purring like a kitten.

Yesterday he asked me if I could take a look at his son Drew's computer, a six year old HP laptop running 8.1 and loaded up with all the crap a twenty year old normally acquires. I asked Drew if he was willing to give it all up and restore his OS to it's original state from the recovery partition and he said absolutely. I left that process running all night, upgraded the box with all of the 8.1 updates this morning, extracted his product key from the registry, then installed Windows 10 right on top of it. Again, new OS, purring like a kitten.

They just dropped by to pick up the box and they were very happy campers. Daniel keeps saying he want's to pay me and I keep declining. You never know when you're going to need a handyman. :-) When he said My wife's laptop has some issues... I shouted "What am I, your computer repair bitch?". You should have seen the look on his face until I told him I was kidding. The truth is, I take great satisfaction out of using my experience and knowledge to bring an old computer back to life. Wife's computer, next...

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My friend and neighbor Daniel rode shotgun in my truck today and gave me a tour of Amish country I've never seen. Along the way we dropped into Top Gun and I grabbed some shots of their bad ass truck sitting out front. Man, you got to love the deep South!

I've got a new and vastly improved version of my Covid Analysis app, with fixed sort headers and internal County polygon outlines. Give it spin Here.

Update: I screwed up, that's what happens when you wake up at 0200 with COTB (Code On The Brain) and your only recourse is to turn the coffee on and have at it. I wrote a convoluted sort routine that apparently only my developer version of Firefox understood and implemented it without checking my other browsers. Sheesh, rookie mistake. Anyway, I have it fixed and if you tried it before, try to refresh your browser on the Here link above.

Eeester Sunday. I haven't been to the grocery store in two weeks and supplies are running low. The only time I've been out was to buy egg hunt stuff for the girls at the drugstore up the road. I've had frozen brussel sprouts for dinner the last two days. My neighbor dropped by the other night with a bottle of Texas craft vodka and I don't remember much more about it. We're under a flash flood and tornado warning until 2200 and it's only 1700. Piper's well and my code is going good. Jesus has risen, amen.

Update: The band of storms heading my way last night went south. You just never know around here...

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I've written some code to massage the Covid by County data. There are two tables, one for number of Cases and one for number of Deaths. The top 100 U.S. Counties are included and the tables are sortable by clicking on the headings. Click on a County name to show it's outline.

Here you go!

I've created a heatmap of my daily Covid geojson data. This shows the number of cases only, not deaths. Click the image below to launch it, drag it around and zoom it in and out.

China is definitely out to get us. First, the virus, now the giant asian hornet which originated in China is invading the U.S. (it can drop you dead with one sting) and I've got tornados heading towards my house on Easter Sunday that I have no doubt originated in China.

Hey, I'm not complaining and just glad to be alive! I wrote two geojson parsers for the covid data yesterday and now I'm going to go plot them on a Leaflet heatmap, so take that China.

I love Easter. Riley and I had a wonderful tradition in Kent, WA of me hiding a basket and leaving directions to it in reverse order, hidden in plastic eggs, and placing the first clue on his doorstep Easter morning.

Now I'm here and the best I can do is put 72 plastic eggs full of snacks and money into the tall grass in my lower forty and have the two little girls that I love come and find them. Click the photo below for more.

Illegal aliens in California are called undocumented residents and Governor Newsom wants to give them some virus bailout money. What a great guy!

On that note, thank god I live in Tennessee and can stroll along my creek and take pictures. Click the photo below for more...

btw: That thing above was right next to the old thing I found yesterday...

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I found this old thing down on the creek yesterday. It was high up on the bank and the recent high water had exsposed it. It's some kind of rod that appears to have really old metal making techniques applied.

Looks like Central Tennessee is a hot spot...

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The four men at the end of our road hung out on my lawn yesterday for some day drinking, story swapping and weapon comparison. We're in-sync so I wouldn't advise venturing into our neighborhood with ill intentions.

The shrubbery along the house is blooming nicely and I have a rad new YouTube page happening in OMJim. Scroll to the bottom and select My Videos. Clicking any thumbnail will launch the YouTube page and I'm working on an inline player.

I've been chasing down the best data sources for my Covid-19 maps, as the ones I've been using have been letting me down. I finally found the source from which all of the others derive from, it's the GitHub data repository operated by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. They put up a daily .csv file containing the U.S. County counts and I've programmed a method for obtaining the most recent one. When you select my County Map you will be guaranteed the very latest information. btw: New York City is at 47,439/1,139 as of yesterday. Working on State data now...

Update: I now have new code for the State Map. It uses the same source as County but totals up each individual County within each State to derive a total. Thus, both State and County final totals match exactly. Done here, moving on...

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I caught my porch pelican eating flowers today.