Hello, it's been a while since I plastered my life up on the internet. Guess it's bout time. I drove a 20' U-Haul full of stuff from Driggs, ID, across the Heartland of America to a location in the Deep South. I then caught a greyhound bus back to Driggs, whereupon I proceeded to drive myself and Piper (with Steph on my tail) back to the Deep South in my truck and then Piper and I moved into my new sweet little place. Steph is diving deep into her daughters life while I'm diving deep into my own.
I have to say, hot damn! I made some dramatic decisions and I stuck with them. I approached the situation strong, healthy and determined. As a result I accomplished all of my goals. I couldn't ask for a better place to land. I absolutely love where I'm living right now, and Piper is on my desk within inches of my fingers as I type this...
The view from my assembled computer station was so terrific that I couldn't block it with a monitor. That space is now Pipers and mine to share. Click the photo below for some more shots.
Grabbed my camera today and walked out into the big yard. The story is, it was a once bustling subdivision until the flood wiped out all but the remaining houses on the street. HUD condemned it and most was turned into public park while the area lower left was bought by my landlord for private family gatherings. This is my new walking strip.
A hot sweaty guy with an extended basket gave me internet yesterday. The connection isn't great and not bad. It's about 10m less than what I'm used to, and the upload is lame, but my computer and devices are finally together again. It was like Piper re-connecting with the stuff from her old house, she knew she was home.
All you really need these days is a good solid connection to the Net and a decent pipe. The first thing I did was install a top tier VPN. My IP address is now pointing to someplace I'm not. I then changed the default Name Servers to point to CloudFlare's faster, privacy-first consumer DNS servers (18.104.22.168) This means I don't have to go through the Net provider to resolve an internet address. These two things combined offer me a huge amount of anonymity and an overall speed bump.
From this tweaked pipe I drive my computer, my VoIP phone with a Google Voice number, my Echo and associated tablets, and my TV for Prime, Netflix and YouTube.
I've been testing out YouTube TV and I like it. I get all of the local channels in the nearby big city market, Fox News, plus a bunch of other channels I may ultimately like, for $40 a month. It's a month-to-month billing with no contract so I can opt out whenever I wish.
Spacing: Using space efficiently and creatively, without preconceived bounds. I've really been spacing out lately and my latest contraption was a piece of insulation that I've been hauling around waiting for just the right moment that has transformed an old stove-top into a clean and tidy little workspace for food and Cuisinart prep.
When ready to cook, I set it aside. I used the whole setup today for my first Idaho Stew, a recipe I perfected from over a decade in Idaho. It came out great.
Our local tap water is not an acceptable consumption option for me. So, in the spirit of Spacing I bought a water dispenser from Amazon that arrived in 1.5 days which attaches to the top of a big water bottle. Push the button on top to start, push again to stop...
Life changes, so does your workstation...
Piper got a Happy Birthday email this morning from her Vet in Idaho, so I took her to the local pet place for a much needed bath. Tina the groomer was lovely, called me sweetheart, and Piper is now very clean, the clumps on her butt are gone, and her nails are trimmed.
She's also flea free, which was the main reason for the visit. Piper's never had to deal with fleas before, being a Rocky Mountain girl, but she got jumped on here. I also picked up some expensive stuff that I put on the back of her neck to keep them away.
This reminds me of the first time I tasted hormone free - free range chicken, it's the way it used to be. I just bought and installed into my setup the best PC keyboard in the world, by most counts, the Corsair K70 RGB mk.2 mechanical gaming keyboard. It has real keys that feel like the best of the many mechanical keyboards I have used over the decades. Real keys made with state of the art components.
This keyboard is a premium mechanical gaming keyboard with an aluminum frame, 100% cherry mx key-switches and per-key dynamic back-lighting. It has a braided cable coming out of the back which contains the USB 3.0 connection and a 2.0 pass-through. They had me at the cable...
? Yep, that's the space bar.
Went to the local county fair tonight and hung out with the family. I took a couple shots along the way, starting from the time I walked into the fairgrounds, and I'm sharing them here. Click the photo below to see them (along with a couple of videos at the end :-).
Here's a couple videos:
According to my DNA my ancestors migrated to Tennessee from Europe back in the early 1800's. Which means I'm now living in the area that my ancestors founded. There's got to be a spiritual reason for this...
Went to Dillans birthday party the other night. I didn't know most of the folks there. Still don't... Click on Lily in the cage to see some more shots.
Piper's been using the corner of my bed as a scratching post, so I bought her one today. I slathered catnip on it and put it at the corner. What did she do? Ate all the catnip and then scratched around the post. I love her but she aint the sharpest tool...
Drove down the road to Pulaski this morning because I've never been there before. Nice little town with lots of cool places made from bricks.
My eyes have been kinda messed up lately so I deviated from my general philosophy of no doctors and went to the Vision Clinic. I thought I had cataracts and it turns out I do, but the problem is something else called Central Serous Chorioretinopathy, a build up of fluids under the retina which occurs most often in Type A young and middle aged men. I'll be seeing a specialist next month and they gave me a sucker and a sticker for being a good boy.
Just playing around...
Lily opening her keyboard birthday present.
Back story: Annie is the daughter of my nephew Brians girlfriend. I've watched her grow up and was her bus driver for one school year. Shes a smart, talented watch out world girl.
Installed some security cameras today:
...and the guy that lives across the street is a cop, who knows what he's got. Stay away!
Michael harvested some deer he hit on the highway recently and some of it ended up in my jambalaya tonight. Delicious!
When I was a kid (around seven) I lived in a very small town on the side of a mountain. My brother and I were free spirits that hiked everywhere, ran with the deer, and listened to the mountain. Family and friends thought we were crazy when we talked about it, but apparently we were the only ones that heard and felt the vibrations coming up from our feet. We used to lay our ear on the ground and listen to the mountain talk to us.
Later on as a young adult I was visiting with my dads side of the family down in Texas and I was hanging out with a bunch of my cousins. They set up a game that they were quite intent that I play in which I was blind-folded while they they stood silently around me in a circle. I was told to extend my arms and fingers straight out and slowly turn within the circle. I felt them. As I moved I could feel the vibrations of their bodies and I could detect their shapes, on the tips of my fingers. I kept moving out from the middle of the circle and tapping each one on the chest muttering oh my god. There were some other things they had me do involving sensing objects on a table, but its clear to me now, they wanted to know if I had the same hereditary ability that they all had.
For the last few years Ive been feeling vibrations running through my own body. I first felt them in the quiet of the night as I laid down to sleep but they've been progressively growing stronger, and now I feel them constantly, loud and strong.
I think I've finally figured it out: My ability is detecting the other hereditary item in my family, Parkinson's. The traditional symptoms of the disease haven't manifested themselves outwardly, but I am sensing them inwardly. How weird is that!
I don't know if this a blessing, or a curse...
I finally decided to research and document my family tree. I looked at all of the options out there and determined I could do it best with my own custom Google spreadsheet. What an enlightening process! Now, after I do some work on it, I convert it to HTML and FTP the code up to my server as a simple web page. If you're interested, here's the link: My Family Tree.
Cabbage, Kale, Garlic and yellow Beets makes a months worth of frozen breakfast bags.
Along with: Cayenne, Turmeric, Garlic, Ginger, Pepper, Hawthorne Berry, Ashwagandha Root, Gotu Kola, Soy Lecithin and Amla blended up in water with a little protein powder.
My home town has been destroyed by fire and I have nobody to talk to about it, so I'll do it here. That's the nice thing about a blog I suppose, you can talk to it like an old friend sitting across the table from you, but it still doesn't meet the criteria of the human connection. Oh well.
I was relocated to Paradise, CA from Visalia, CA by my family around 1960. We arrived with a large trailer that even included my pigeons strapped on the side in cages, and moved into a house north of town that belonged to my stepdad Paul's sister.
I entered Paradise High as a freshman mid-year and joined the track team. Three years later I was riding with the coach and three other top guys down to Sacramento for a state meet. We placed third. I acted in local plays and was hired by the Chamber of Commerce along with a couple others to walk around town and sing Christmas carols. I was a star first baseman on the Babe Ruth team.
I was sitting in class when they announced the assassination of JFK over the intercom. They sent us home and as I walked alone down the railroad tracks my view of the world changed and it impacted my later life decisions profoundly.
Paradise was my home town and I even briefly thought about it as a possible destination for retirement. As I worked on chores around my little place today I was grateful to be here now, and not there, but it it angers me that the news I'm watching isn't covering it like I think they should. An entire city has been wiped out and people have died, probably more than the recent bar shooting and the synagogue shooting combined. Very sad...
Saturday morning update:
- Pacific Gas & Electric Co. notified state regulators that one of its high-voltage power lines located near where the fire began had malfunctioned shortly before the first flames were reported.
- Officials said at least nine people died and more than 6,700 homes and commercial buildings were lost making it the most destructive fire to property in state history.
- Paradise Vice Mayor Greg Bolin said that early reports from fire officials suggested that 80 to 90% of the town had burned. Bolin, who lost his home, said: The town is gone.
Sunday morning update:
- Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Saturday 14 additional bodies were found, bringing the death toll to 23. The victims have not been identified. There are 110 outstanding reports of missing people.
Monday morning update:
- The fire has burned more than 111,000 acres and is 25 percent contained. Its death toll of 29 now equals that of the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, the deadliest wildfire on record in California. At least 228 people are still missing,.
Thursday morning update:
- 56 dead, 130 missing, 8800 homes lost...
Thursday evening update:
- 63 dead. People who remain unaccounted for increased by more than 500, to 631. 52,000 have been displaced.
Friday morning thoughts:
- Jerry Brown vetoed the bipartisan wildlife management bill 1463 in 2016, despite being passed by the Legislature, 75-0 in the Assembly and 39-0 in the Senate, which would have required electrical lines to go underground.
- Obama-era regulations introduced excessive layers of bureaucracy that blocked proper forest management and increased environmentalist litigation and costsa result of far too many radical environmentalists, bureaucrats, Leftist politicians and judicial activists who would rather let forests burn, than let anyone thin out overgrown trees or let professional loggers harvest usable timber left from beetle infestation, or selectively cut timber.
- California fires produce as much pollution in 2 days as all the states cars do in a year.
Amazing article Here.
Second Tuesday morning update:
- 151,272 acres burned, 79 fatalities confirmed, 699 unaccounted for and 15,573 structures destroyed (11,713 residences, 472 commercial and 3,388 other buildings).
Everything has now changed. I've been pretty busy just trying to salvage life after Idaho but now having accomplished that I realize I'm having a Vincent epiphany. I finally faced the reality that nobody really appreciated or used the stuff I created. So, instead of cutting off my ear, I just stopped.
It's the weirdest damned thing, I have all the time in the world now to write code, and I have no interest whatsoever to do so. I now find myself putting my creative energy into mastering new technology and using it to enhance my day to day life. My new pad has become my man-cave. If you're in the neighborhood, drop on by, I'll show you!
I'm heading to Florida for Thanksgiving with my granddaughter Shelby and great-grandaughter Prudence. I'll return with lots of photos...
Had a very nice Thanksgiving with Stephs family tonight and got a bunch of nice shots, but I just had to give little miss photogenic her own post. Click the photo below for 25 more, totally un-retouched:
Melissa cooked up an amazing turkey tonight, best I've tasted in recent memory. It even had boobs! Click the fart machine below for some more shots:
I got up early Thanksgiving day and drove south to spend time with my Pensacola, FL family. My granddaughter Shelby has recently adopted my great granddaughter Prudence and together with their friend Homer we had a great time.
After dinner they drove me around downtown where Homer pointed out several places he designed, then down to the waterfront, and then out to Todd's (develops shopping centers) place on the water for a dessert party.
There are 40 photos available by clicking the photo below
I've been tweaking this blog a bit, note the buttons instead of just plain text. Individual posts now have the ability to move Up or Down the list of posts, and I've added monthly archiving so the list on the right doesn't get out of hand. There's also a cool little arrow lower left that will scroll you back to the top once you start scrolling down.
Still getting asked about a comment module but I'm sticking to my position (see About). This is not a social media platform, it's just a place for me to put stuff up on the internet.
I took some photos of our downtown area a while back and they somehow slipped out of the blog conversion, so here they are. Click on David Crockets cabin below to see them.
I currently have 9,885 photos up on Flickr, organized across 724 sets. My new tool Sets By Date presents all sets in descending order, starting with my most recent, and ending with the first one, Riley and Jess in Vegas. The counterpart tool Sets By Name presents them in alphabetical order.
When you select a set, all photos are presented in full format, sequentially. There's an option at the top to show them stacked, which is handy if there's a lot of photos in a set. and also a sweet little slideshow option. Click on any photo to bring it up full screen.
I've whipped up a sweet little Slideshow app (chose a Set and select SlideShow at the top) and discovered some old favorites:
Stephs mom Betty:
Paper tited Amy: (run the Slideshow)
The hundred year old man:
Tasty cupcakes and great spaghetti were featured at Steph's birthday gathering, of which I was pleased to attend. Click the cakes for more...
Update: The apps just keep coming... Two new ones are now up there: Largest Cities shows the top 99 largest cities in the U.S. and State Capitols gives you a birds-eye view of all fifty state capitols.
Oh, and of course, all of my favorite Places!
Whew, busy day...
I'm porting some of my apps over here to the blog. Vue is a great one that I developed as part of the eclipse madness in Teton Valley. It shows a connected split screen of Map and Streetview. Move one, the other follows. I've changed the default position to my neck of the woods but you can create a permalink for any location by zooming the top map out, dragging it around., and then clicking the link icon. Click the image below to try it out...
And of course, a view of Oakland from the City aint bad either...
My daddy used to tell me, the shortest distance between two points was a purple squiggly line. He also told me to never believe anyone that used the phrase my daddy used to tell me. Anyway, my newly refurbished app Route proves he was right on the first point.
I love this thing and I've missed it for a while now, ever since Google started demanding a developers bank account info before coughing up map tiles. I finally gave in, and it's back better than ever. To use it, click on the map to select a starting point, then drag the marker(s) around the map. When you release a marker the route is computed between the two points and presented at the bottom. There's also some cool functions available by clicking either marker.
Just seeing if I can embed a Vimeo video of Community School kids grabbing treats on my bus.
I applied the one available SSL certificate from my host, to this blog, and the site is now secure. If you look up at your address bar you will see the Lock and the https. The internet is going secure, and I have arrived...
The Box showed up at our place in Idaho one day, and it was talking. I've composed a set of short Flickr videos (they have an imposed time limit on them, Flickr's rule) and you can watch them by clicking the box.
I've been working on some really nice Map code today. I've added U.S. Counties By State, All Cities By State, and tweaked the destination when you select a place. Instead of going to my NeXht app, it goes to a new built-in Google Map, with options.
My goal today was to display polygon outlines around cities and counties. I have the data, and the knowledge to pull it off, but to my surprise Google is doing it for me. Sometimes I really love those guys...
Below is an example map created from the query Paradise, CA and below that is the result of a Butte County, CA query. Considering that I've got more than 20,000 cities in my database, and over 3,000 counties, this little map handles them all. It also works great on National Parks, U.S. State Capitols and Colleges.
The first map will sadly self-destruct shortly...
It's almost the middle of December and I haven't seen a single snowflake. Neither has Piper, of course she never goes outside anymore. My, how things have changed...
There's a new tool in the garage, called Map Search. Enter anything you like and I pass it on to the Google API geocoder for the Lat/Lng and then on to my new embedded Google Map. By computing the location in the process I can enable all of the other cool tools at the bottom, which are based on Lat/Lng.
Also note the [Unlock] button at the top. Normally the map is exposed and when you scroll the page it does zoom things to the map, which I consider bad UI. So, I lock it! You can't click on or drag the map until Unlock is clicked. There are so many other ways of looking at the location with the tools below, you may not even need to unlock it. Click the image below and give it a try!
Had a busy code day today, adding some new categories and implementing the Embedded Map into everything. I built a JSON database called US Places containing 530 interesting Places and the Map finds them all. I liked the results so much I included them into the Search Map in random order, every time you go there, as Inspiration.
Also, remember that the Info button at the bottom left of the map more than likely will give you the web site of the selected place, if not, at least the Wikipedia. :-)
It's great when you can have fun doing something, and the results of that effort turn out to be something of value. I whipped up a new tool this morning called Country Flags and it's pretty sweet. Click on a flag and it will display it full size, click on a country name and it will launch the map.
U.S. State Flags:
U.S. State Seals:
Weather Search provides a search box, just like Map Search, where you enter a city name or a zip code and it returns a variety of charts for that location:
- Hourly Temperature
- Hourly Wind Speed
- Hourly Wind Gust
- Hourly Humidty
- Hourly Dewpoint
- Hourly Cloud Cover
- Daily Maximum Temperature
- Daily Minimum Temperature
- Daily Wind Gust
- Daily Humidity
- Daily Dewpoint
- Daily Cloud Cover
- Daily Moon Phase
You can see the current charts for my area by clicking below:
The urls are also permalinks you can save...
I've built a new database containing all of the Zip Codes in the United States, and developed a tool to analyze them. This is really fun and informative and I've put the query power in your fingers.
I've improved the quality of my zip polygons quite a bit and the before and after image below speaks for itself. I think I've found the right balance of resolution and load time as these things are detailed and responsive. Zip codes with a polygon will be highlighted.
Here's the final result of this project: 40,968 total Zips with 32,220 matching high quality Polygons.
Steph brought the girls and Dillan over today so I could give them some holiday gifts. We had a fine time, Dillan rocked Fortnite on my PC, the girls had fun, Steph drank her coffee and I fed them some jambalaya. Now I have to get back to my solemn prayers and joyful meditation about the upcoming birthday of my lord and savior. Or, maybe I'll just write code...
Click the photo for more.
Ever wonder what all of the U.S. zips codes that start with 23 look like on a map? Probably not, but if you would like to try such a thing, click the map below and play with your own criteria...
How about all the zip codes in Texas? Those clusters are Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston. You can zoom down...
Or just browse by City...
I've come up with a new tool called All Posts which shows every post on the blog, including archives, in alphabetical sequence. Click on a title and it opens the post. I'm also working on some new ones that show all posts from Current, the Begining, Alphabetically and Randomly.
My old 3 terabyte WD external backup drive started making funny noises so I picked up a new 4TB drive today. I have two backup systems where the WD is my primary system image backup while an older Lacie 1TB drive stores a lot of old photos and videos.
Today I moved and organized a lot of stuff off the Lacie onto the WD and as you can see, I've got a lot of space on my hot-rod PC.
The C drive is a 256GB SSD holding my Windows 10 OS.
The D drive is a 3TB internal holding all my primary data.
The F drive is my new 4TB backup drive.
The H drive is the old Lacie.
A lot of what's left on H is Steph's old photos and when I'm done organizing, that's all there will be and I'll then disconnect it and store it.
I don't know why I find geographic entities like U.S. Zipcodes and Counties so fascinating, but I obviously do and my latest project has been Counties. Did you know there are 3,142 official counties in the U.S.? Each one has a unique five digit code consisting of a two digit state code and a three digit county code, known as FIPS codes (Federal Information Processing Standard). The state numbers range from 01 (Alabama) to 56 (Wyoming) and each county within a state has a three digit code. Thus, the FIPS code for my county here in Tennessee is 47-099.
My source for this project was a huge geojson file with all of the county polygons packed inside and it was way too big to handle with normal PHP functions so I had to tear it apart with some mad code hacking into 3142 individual county files. That was successful and I now have high quality polygons for every county.
Drop on into my newest tool Counties By State and look around if you like. Once you select a state you can view the individual counties by clicking on the code or select View Polygons to show them all. If showing all you can hover over them for a name or click on a county to bring it up individually.
I'm still working on Alaska, damned state with all it's multi-polygons is driving me crazy :-)
Steph and Melissa brought the girls by today so I cranked up the country music and we hung out in the sun. Bongos were banged... It was 58° and still not a snowflake yet, but it does know how to get it's rain on here. The creek is rising but under control.
A couple of days ago:
All through my journey as a computer programmer I've had the conviction that whatever you can conceive can ultimately be achieved. Sometimes it's damned hard and really stretches my brain to it's limit but I push on and when it finally works it's a true eureka moment where I thrust my arms in the air and yell yea!
The sad thing is that most of the time nobody sees it or gets it, except me. So tonight, I'm going to put my latest breakthrough out there just because this is my blog and I can. Wether you read on is up to you...
The map is inside the window and is a stand-alone complicated piece of mapping code that I've developed to handle the context, which in this case is showing the outline of the zip code over the area. I have other apps that show individual counties and multiples of both. All run inside of a window.
The complication arises from the communication between the shell (the blog post) and the map program. As the user pans and zooms the map I needed to know what the lat/lng and zoom values are when the user stops, so I can pass those values to the very cool functions available for that location (on the bottom). You can see those numbers in the lower left corner of the map.
I really wanted to open the functions in the same tab as the map, so that clicking the back button brings you back to the map but the nature of browser history is such that it refreshes the page and you lose that position you have so carefully panned and zoomed down to.
Well, with some amazing code, I've pulled that off. You can now zoom down to a neighborhood you want to see and all of the functions are relative to that position and zoom level and when you go back, you're still there on the map.
This is a game changer as far as I'm concerned. It's now a really valuable tool for checking out an area. All of the map functions give you a different perspective based on the provider (Google, Bing, Streetview and OpenStreetMap), and even my new Flickr Geo app will give you photos taken within a mile.
So, enough of my rambling, enter your zipcode here, zoom down to your house and see what I'm talking about. Oh, and one last thing, click on the lat/lng lower left when you get around to it...
Map Zoom algorithms suck when it comes to accurately returning to the place you started from. I don't know what it is, rounding errors of floats or some such shit. Today I wrote some code that corrects that problem with my new maps (implementing ERSI). Works really good...
The new maps generate random colors now for Counties and Zips across three new map modes. Just sayin...
How about zip codes in NY state?
I've put together a nice little List of all my Tools, in alphabetic sequence with descriptions. Click on any tool name to run it.
Made myself a fine meatloaf tonight. Not only pretty, but delicious!
Perfectly cooked on the inside I might add...
An interesting video I ran across: If You Can.
I've been putting a lot of effort into my Place Map which is the destination and workhorse of a lot of my tools. I've stripped all the map controls out and replaced them with my own, along with a couple of new ones. There's a cool Quick Zoom tool upper left and I've gained access to the maps attributions on the bottom right, and turned them into links.
I've been searching for the holy-grail of geo-coding for a while now, trying various systems and methods, and none of them satisfied me. With the right one you should be able to type in your home address and see it on a map, or type in a place and have it discovered. I think I have it now in the simple control you see below. Start typing your search and when you see what you want in the results box below, select it...
I've also implemented this control into the Place Map and when you search for and select a new place, everything gets updated. (holy-grail stuff...) Click the image below to try it out.
Just in case anyone is wondering what Old Man Jim is up to, well, I picked up a new domain name yesterday and I woke up this morning at 0230 with visions of iframe communication functions dancing in my head so I got up, started coding and here it is 1900 and I'm still in my pajamas and I haven't spoken to a single human all day, much less gone outside. That's alright, the code came out the way I conceived it, and it's great.
I'll put the link to the new site up here when it's ready...
Dogs barking echoing over Tennessee.
Did my part-time gig today, running cars from the huge Manheim auto auction east of Nashville down here to town. Ended up in a cute little 2000 gold Mustang coupe...
I made five bucks this week. Two car shuttle runs brought in $90 and I spent $85 on a DOT physical yesterday that I probably will never need. Beats a stick in my bloody eye!(2006 Chevy Impala six cylinder with 157K)
My son Riley and wife Jessica have been getting dumped on at their NW Washington home. The power is out but the generator is humming and the place is warm, and he got Saturday off from his auto body job.
Took a few shots of a couple cute birds fluttering around the front yard this afternoon. Click the photo below to see them...
I've been wanting to pick up a new wall clock, and I use my Echo device to time my meals, so when Amazon announced the new Echo Wall Clock, well, it was a no-brainer and it arrived today.
I asked Computer to setup the clock and the first thing she did was set the correct time. You can tune in on the action by watching the video below...
They say that by this weekend it will be the highest rainfall February on record and since I live in a flood area I'm watching the creek below the house. There's also a new animal (groundhog) that's hanging out, and Piper don't like it one bit...
I'm sitting here looking out on Shoal Creek, which runs below my window, and as the rain continues to fall I figured I better bone up on it's history. It used to be called the Sycamore River and Davy Crocket used it as a power source to run his powder mill, grist mill and distillery (i.e. gunpowder, grain and booze). A flood wiped him out in 1821 and he left the area.
On July 13, 1998 the creek flooded again after nine inches of rain fell in four hours, killing two people and resulting in the wide open space I have south of my place. Apparently the water came up to here and crested, wiping out the other homes in this sub-division.
They referred to that as a Hundred Year Flood which I find interesting considering that this will be the most rain in February ever around here.
In 1955 I was nine years old, TV was finally becoming a reality to me after living on the side of a mountain, and one of the first shows I remember was Davy Crocket. The phrase "Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free" was burned into my brain. So here I am now, living in his home town. Wow...
I dug up the first episode (a Walt Disney production) and here you go: Watch It!
Our county is under an official flood watch so I decided to walk the creek, ever mindfull of Michael's warnings about snakes and water. It will only get better this afternoon when the level 4 tornados roll through. Is it too late to head to Florida for a few days?
Ok, here we go, my first flood! Hopefully I can just enjoy it without it wiping me out. Great new video below...
Steph called me this afternoon and said the kids were heading down to the town square in their formal wear so I hustled over, grabbed a few shots, and then disappeared back here into my hole. They looked mighty fine and you can see the rest by clicking the photo...
My nephew Brian lost his cat Lucky in the Jackson, WY snow for six days. He never gave up looking for him and finally found him, trapped under his neighbors deck by the snow, alive.
Eight lives to go and doing well!
From Brian: "I almost gave up looking after the fifth day and then I thought if there's even a small chance to have my buddy back I'm going to try as hard as I can for as long as I have to."
I saw the yellow sky yesterday afternoon and didn't know what was going on. I'd been following the real-time radar map on my computer screen as thunderstorms were moving in and I saw a red blob that was moving in over my neighborhood so I went to the front door, opened it, and looked around. That's when I saw it.
We had been under a tornado watch throughout the afternoon so I was ready to grab my valuables, along with Piper, and head to the bathtub. (Hmmm, now that I think of it, maybe I need a better plan. :-)
Everything was fine but Melissa's husband Michael, who grew up here, saw the yellow sky and put his family on alert. Turns out, I should have been very afraid...
In the meantime, browser testing on my wide-screen monitor is underway:
To see a place that once played an important part in your life, now sit desolate and abandoned, makes you realize how fickle and irrelevant your current reality really is.
Tennessee sure knows how to serve up a gourmet meal for a charitable cause. At least the girls around here are cute.
My boy Riley's got a new business card for the new autobody shop he's at. It's just him and the owner, and they're busy. Looks like it was a great move up.
Went up to Mule Town Rec in Columbia today for a little heat and wet. Met a guy in the spa that was older than me and wrote assembly language for some Nasa space flights. Never thought I'd meet another person in the world that knew how to do that. Very cool, for being hot...
I used to think that my cat Piper was not the sharpest tool in the shed when it came to smartness but I'm beginning to change my mind. Lately, while she's up on my desk being a treat whore, I start sniffing her butt and she gives me this look like, really? So when I head to the kitchen and gather up paper towels to perform the personal area cleanup procedure she so badly needs because she's gotten too fat to do it herself, she's off the desk and heading for the door. I have to catch her, put her back on the desk, grab the cat cleaner and do the deed, and she hates it. I don't blame her, I guess when I'm old and feeble and someone has to clean the shit off my ass, I'll hate it too.
I need to get my Senior fishing license from Walmart and start hitting up the fishin holes around here. This one's called VFW Lake and it's only 20 minutes away, has a road you can drive all the way around and a $6 all day fishing fee.
Update: I just bought a fishing license online. Tennessee knew who I was, I guess that Commercial Drivers License I just got locked me into the system. Anyway, $4 bucks for a year ($3 handling). It pays to be legit, and old...
Since the flowers have come out a very large species of bee have been buzzing around. They're fat and fast, big bodies with small wings. Pretty tame too, they don't harrass me at all.
After all those years of maintaining a photo blog in Teton Valley I was pretty much burned out. It's great to have new subjects in a new state!
Nothing to do this Easter but watch the creek fade to black.
Hooked up with Melissa, Dillan and the girls today for a hike down to Stillhouse Hollow Falls, just north of Summertown. Very fun! Click the photo below to see some shots of the hike:
Here's a video:
I finally made it up to Nashville for a little sightseeing this morning, on the busiest day of the year. It's the final round of the NFL Draft which drew 200,000 people on Thursday night, and blew all expectations away. It was also the running of the St.Jude Rock and Roll marathon this morning, which had live bands and beer scattered all along the course.
I mossied through the runners and made it to Broadway where the crowds were starting to build for an 1100 kickoff of the Draft. I went right up to the barriers that separated the masses from the VIP area where the picks were about to be announced on stage, when a guy in a staff coat came up from the other side and asked me if I'd like to come in. I said sure, he strapped a band on my wrist and before I knew it I was right next to the stage that I've been seeing on TV for the last two nights. It pays to be old and sexy I guess...
I've put together 55 photos of the day, all unretouched. Usually I like to clean my stuff up a bit but there's too many, so click the armband shot below to see them.
Video: You can hear me get invited into the VIP area :-)
My buddy Brian's coming here from Idaho next month for a week long visit. One of the last things we did before I left was spend an evening golfing in his back yard. Turns out this place where I've landed has a splendid backyard, just made for a nine iron.
So Brian, stow your clubs in the bottom of that plane and we'll have a little fun before taking off on an adventure or two. Here's a walk around I just did on this gorgeous 85° afternoon.
This is my little friend Wendy. She lives on the road outside my house and I see her every day when I go walking, and she's been here since I moved in last August.
Other than Piper, she's sometimes the only other thing I speak to on a daily basis.
Piper's getting really comfortable with the neighborhood. Sometimes she just lays on the sidewalk flat on her back and sometimes she uses the vehicle that brought her across the country to scan the neighborhood.
Always a bittersweet holiday for an old guy like me, but my sweet grand-daughter Shelby is having her first with my great-grand-daughter Prudence, so all is well...
I've been a Flickr Pro member since 2006. I store all of my photos there (currently 10,078) and they provide the images for my old blog (BusDriverJim) as well as this one. I use a technique called hot-linking where the link to each image goes directly to Flickr's server. This technique is normally frowned upon if you don't own the photo and pay for the service, which I do in both cases.
I have continued to pay Flickr $25 bucks a year for Pro even when the free service started blurring the lines, but I felt it was the right thing to do. Two years ago they doubled the rate but I didn't have to pay $50 bucks until now as they let their Pro members grandfather in.
Flickr was owned by Yahoo! and has now been bought out by SmugMug. They are currently in the process of moving billions of photos and over 100 million accounts over to AWS (Amazon Web Services) which is the biggest and baddest cloud service on the planet. When done, everything should be faster and more secure.
The service will be down on May 22 for about 12 hours while they flip the switch, which means that neither one of my blogs will have photos. No big deal I suppose and I'll be traveling down to Florida with Brian during that time. My only concern is that links to the images might change, at which point my blogs are toast. I can't imagine they would do that, but I'll find out on the 23rd.
I found the old groundhogs hole today down by the bend in the creek and watched him shove his big ol body down into it. Speaking of old bodies, I had a profound thought during one of my walks today that I have two vehicles: my old truck, and the entity that carries my brain around, and I maintain them both very well. All I do these days is eat healthy, bump my exercise reps up a little bit more each day, and write code. I guess I'm just the old health hog...
The hole is there on the bank in the center, great view!
I snagged a couple of nights at what Shelby refers to as the "locals favorite" hotel in Pensacola for next week. Brian and I will be heading down for some sun, family time and great food. The place has it's own bar & grill with live music, and a private beach. It's also surrounded by all the cool places that make up the Pensacola Beach area so I can leave my truck in the parking lot for a couple of days.
My grand-daughters will be hanging out with us, Homer Jolly I hope, and maybe some of Shelby's friends. Should be a great time!
It's been a long road for Piper to acclimate herself to this new neighborhood since moving here last August. The next-door neighbor had a dog and a cat, and if Piper can't be the queen of her yard, she just stays inside. Well, the neighbor moved and gradually Piper has come to realize that she's free to roam about now.
Lately she has just been going outside and hanging out in the bushes next to the house for most of the day. The big backyard was just something she kept an eye on from the perch of my desk. Today I saw something walking down by the edge of the creek and I grabbed my glasses and sure enough, there she was. I was so proud!
Brian and I were driving through Davy Crockett park this morning, when a turtle crossed the road. I got up close with the old guy and now I'm listening to Pearl Jam, thus the stupid post title...
Brian and I just got back from Pensacola Beach with 174 photos, several videos and great memories. Click the photo below to see the set.
It all started when we rescued the dog Sunday morning. Brian and I were walking around the Fairgrounds while waiting for our laundry to finish up when we spotted a small black dog stuck in a holding pond, too exhausted to pull himself out. I rousted him near the bank and Brian grabbed him by the scruff and pulled him out. We noted the good Karma and continued on.
This morning we were walking around downtown Nashville after breakfast at the Sun Diner, and I noticed my truck getting a parking ticket from a motorcycle cop. Karma led us back to the truck at that moment. I said good morning to the officer, asked him if I could try to talk him out of that ticket, and he said sure. A moment later I shook his hand and we drove off clean.
Click the photo below for some more shots...
I've put together three video clips of our Pensacola trip. The first has Shelby dancing with the girls, the second one is about the beach and the third has some exerpts from our tour of the new Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (by the guy who designed it, I might add).
After touring the Zoo, Shelby and Homer took Brian and I to a secluded location in Alabama that only the locals know about. It's not marked from the road and most everyone shows up by boat.
Their was something magical about Pirates Cove, besides being the rumored place where Jimmy Buffet wrote Cheeseburger in Paradise. Pulling up to the pier with your friends in a boat with the sound system blasting out country music, is a lifestyle I could get used to.
I saved $20 a month today and more than doubled my internet speed. My previous provider ATT was charging me $50 for 15M. I switched to Spectrum today and I'm now getting 34M for $30. This is an unadvertised rate that the salesman I was working with yesterday gave me because he was beginning to lose the sale. Install was free and it looks like no monthly router charge. More for less, yes!
Update: I just shut down my wi-fi, completely. I've been concerned for a while now about the effects of a constant bombardment of wi-fi, and after more research, I've decided to turn it off. My new router cranks out hi-powered 2G and 5G signals and it has a toggle switch on the side.
Most of my stuff is hard-wired but it means the end to my Echo and smart home. I can live with that if it means wi-fi signals are not blasting through my body 24/7.
I finally got around to getting Tennessee plates on my truck today. This pretty much wraps up my legal status around here, as I've now got:
- A birth certificate that matches my name.
- An unrestricted Passport.
- A Tennessee Commercial Drivers License.
- A perfect driving record.
- A current DOT physical.
- Current and valid vehicle insurance.
- A fishing license.
- A lifetime pass to our National Parks.
- I can pass an FBI fingerprint background test.
- I can pass a drug test.
Now I just need to get my ass out there and do something with my life!
Fifty bucks. That's what I make running a vehicle down from the Nashville Manheim vehicle auction and todays ride was a 2006 Toyota 4-Runner with 256k. I don't know about these jobs until the night before, when Tim's raspy voice fills my phone and says 7:00, you ready to roll?, and I've yet to say no.
I enjoy the runs, the toughest part is just figuring out where the trunk and gas cover switches are for each vehicle. As for the money, I've made more than that an hour several times in my life, but I ain't proud, I'm retired.
My neighbor the groundhog has a mate!
I take very good care of my little truck. Over the years since I bought it off Riley at 86K I've pumped a lot of money into her and she's paid me back with the security of knowing she will always get me home.
Riley did the clutch, along with a timing belt, before he turned it over but now she's over 200k. I had another timing belt and water pump installed in Driggs last year and the new clutch I've been hauling around in a box for a couple of years finally got installed today.
Tim is my new favorite mechanic now! He's the main guy in the used car shop I drive for and he picked the truck up last night and dropped it back off this evening, job done. And, he brought the cost in at well under half of what I would have paid a regular shop, who think they're really worth the bullshit amount of money they charge per hour.
I've been living without wi-fi for more than a week now, and everything is fine. I have to manually turn my lights on, and flip a switch to get coffee, but what the hell else am I going to do with my time other than to be a slave to my devices.
Piper getting her afternoon rough up and brush.
The campers in the campground across the creek have to drive here to enjoy this while I just have to walk.
How about a peaceful lake?
I went into beautiful downtown Lawrenceburg (he says facetiously) today and set the f-stop high for some raw depth of field shots, and I came away with 55 (click the photo below to see them). This poor town is sorely in need of a makeover...
Had a fun time yesterday afternoon hanging with Steph's family up at Natchez Trace Campground. Michael did his famous seafood boil and it was as good as advertised. As to the title of this post, well, you'll just have to click on the photo below to see the rest...
My truck has had an issue lately where it vibrates up front when I downshift at a stop. Riley suggested "motor mounts" and after some internet research, I concurred. I ordered two engine mounts and a tranny mount from the local parts store yesterday and picked them up this afternoon. Now I needed someone to do the work.
I checked with the Mazda dealer in Huntsville, AL and they wanted $318 for the labor. Nope, nice benchmark though, and then I checked with Tim who did my clutch and he wanted $260. I was hugely disappointed in this quote, hell he charged me $300 for the full clutch job! That left me to call around the local repair places to see what I could find.
Finally, one place told me what I wanted to hear: they couldn't get to it but they knew this guy who has a shop. His name was Johnny, I called him up and he said sure, $100, can you bring it out here now?
The guy turned out to be great, I've made a new friend and I've found a new mechanic. When he said yep, one of these front mounts is broken hell, I should of been wearing my white pants! I took a picture of his main tool box that he made out of a hospital food cart and drove off with no vibration, and a happy man.
I just got back from a little jaunt over to Myrtle Beach, SC for a fresh fish sandwich. It was OK, came with extra hush puppies, a homemade chocolate chip cookie and a hug. I really wanted to get down to the water, put my toes in and take a picture, but I didn't make it. I tried approaching the Atlantic Ocean from south of town but the private home owners had taken over all the sand and by the time I found a public beach all thirty or so parking spots were taken along with ominous signs about not parking illegally. I said screw it and drove to Atlanta, GA.
I pulled into Atlanta just as the sun was going down, about 8:30pm. It's a big damned town with tall skyscrapers towering over the freeway that runs through it. There were also thousands of cars on the road, I assume a Braves game must have just ended, and there was a torrential thunderstorm with lightning and hail going on. Oh well, I wanted adventure, as long as I could survive it and write about it the next day...
All told it was a fun little trip. I made it through States I've never been to before and the vibes were good. I travel with the window down, no A/C, and the one thing that distinguished one State from another was it's smell. This is a very hard property to quantify, but it was real for me.
I didn't take any photos but I did grab the camera to shoot a video clip of the countryside coming into southern Tennessee this morning:
A man must be needed to feel worth, otherwise doubt and decay invade his soul and his internal flame begans smoldering like a campfire in the rain.
Oh well, at least I don't have to buy my fruit in California.
...even if they do have excellent healthcare.
Every so often you need to upgrade your tools and my latest new shooting rig is a Sony A6500 with a 16mm Sigma lens mounted to a hand grip and a really solid mini-tripod.
I've installed a new video editor called Filmora9. It looks great so far and here's a short little snippet I just whipped up for the hell of it.
The Parkinson's tremors get worse by the day and they're slowly depleting the Dopa in my Mine. What happens when you run out of Dopa? That's a depressing thought...
Well, that was interesting! I just got back from the Loretto Farmers Market, which was down the road about 11 miles, and opened at 1600. I mean really at 4pm, on the dot. There was a huge line of people lined up at the first stand (ok, about 10 people I reckon) and I asked the lady in the front of the line why they were standing there and she said waiting till 4:00.
Ok, that was 5 minutes away and I got it that nobody was selling nothing until that time. The big ol boy at the first stand said in a real thick southern drawl "when the church bell goes off". Sure enough, the bell sounded and the crowds descended on the market.
I've been to a lot of markets in my time but this little thing was unique. I bought some eggs laid this morning, a couple of breads, two squash for a quarter a piece (with two radishes tossed in for free) and some homemade ice cream that I ate before i got back to the truck. Click the photo below to see a few shots...
Hung out at the Lawco Freedom Fest in Rotary Park last night with Steph, Dillan, Lexi and their friends. It was a mighty fine time with live music, vendors and good vibes. Click Lexi's face art to see the photos for the evening, while I put together a composite video of all the footage I shot.
Dumping the trash, to it's own beat...
Cayenne, Turmeric, Garlic, Ginger, Pepper, Hawthorne Berry, Ashwagandha Root, Gotu Kola, Soy Lecithin and Amla, blended up in water.
Tori's first bike ride. 7/30/2013 Driggs, ID
From original: dropped wind blown audio, stabilized, zoomed and cropped.
Not much happening locally for the 4th of July so I drove up to Franklin, TN this morning to check out their little downtown event. I must be getting jaded by large festivals like Cornucopia in Kent because this one bored me. I took a few shots which basically became test subjects for resolution and compression settings on my new rig. Click the photo below to see them, if you like...
I grabbed Steph from the air-conditioned animal shelter today for a little company and we drove to the Shiloh National Military Park past Savannah, TN. A famous Civil War battle was fought there and a lot of men died. Click on the tombstone below to see what we saw.
The most famous (and disputed) battle of Shiloh was called the Hornets Nest where the Union troops were hunkered down in a grove of trees and held off the Confederate Army, allowing Grants forces to strengthen from the rear and ultimately win the fight. Look what I found inside of a canon!
Update: Melissa asked me if I really got that close to those bad-asses and I said yes, my Sigma lens is not a zoom. I woke up this morning thinking that maybe I got lucky yesterday :-)
Just strolling thru the South, and yes Jim, you're not in Driggs anymore...
Update: Piper entered our lives in June, 2011 but she had a few years on her before that so I just called her vet in Idaho and had them lookup her birthday. Sept, 12, 2005, so she will be 14 in a couple of months, which actually makes her right around my age in human years.
Caught my little buddy the groundhog popping up out of his hole.
Checking the mail, again...
Here, let me loan you my ceiling fan.
Chalk up one more item on my bucket list, I just booked a cruise! It sails out of Miami late next month and goes to Key West FL, Costa Maya Mexico, Belize City Belize, Cozumel Mexico, CocoCay Bahamas and then back to Miami. Eight days on the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas. I got a terrific deal on a cabin that has no window or balcony (just a place to shower and sleep) and without any single supplement (the amount they charge if you travel solo), which can be up to 100%. Total price including taxes (and meals): $667.80!
Update: Just booked a cheap R/T out of BNA for $134.60.
The old laundry place I use has been around for decades, so it makes you wonder what it used to be? Or maybe the sign was just reused.
My new Sony E 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 OSS lens arrived today and I love it. It's made for my camera so focusing works together perfectly, even while zooming and capturing video. I would be out and about shooting with it today but I'm busy setting up my new Asus netbook for the upcoming trip. Too many tools, too little time...
Update: Took a moment to shoot my stressed out little creek.
This is the new travel rig I've put together for my upcoming cruise. I picked up the Asus Netbook for under $200 during the recent Amazon Prime sale, with 64 gig of storage, 4 gig memory, and Windows 10. I've installed a 128 gig SD card for program storage thus it has plenty of internal room and it's damned snappy I must say.
Attached is a four port USB 3.0 hub from which I run a new little 2 terabyte hard drive and come Saturday I'll have a small USB lamp to plug in there. I'm also getting a Micro USB to USB-C cable since the netbook has a C port.
So here's how it works: At the end of a cruise day I'll hunker down in my cabin and download all daily photos and videos from the camera (using the USB-C port) onto the external drive. Then I'll use the editing tools I've installed to process the selected photos for the blog, upload them to Flickr, and create the post for the day. Then I'll wipe the camera card clean for the next day.
Eight days, eight posts, titled Cruise Day 1, Cruise Day 2... with hundreds of high quality shots. I'll handle the videos when I get home.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I share my story. I was three days shy of my 23rd birthday, attending the old Merritt College on Grove Street in Oakland learning how to program a computer. Earlier that day I played tennis at the campus and as a lark I walked out on to the street and stuck my thumb out to hitchhike into Berkeley.
A tall gorgeous black chick picked me up and we spent the afternoon visiting her radical female friends around town and I got a real earful about the current state of the black male. She was studying law at Berkeley and we ended up at the apartment she shared with her infant son.
As Neil stepped off the ladder I was laying on the floor of her living room in front of a TV, with my head resting on her naked thigh. Everyone alive at the time has their story, and this is mine.
P.S. I actually remember what I was wearing that day: white tennis shorts and a white t-shirt. What was I wearing when man landed on the moon? Nothing...
I have a new website that I started last year, ran into coders block, and ultimately stopped working on because nobody looks at my stuff anyway. For what it's worth, here it is: 4xMaps.
Lawrenceburg put on a little event in the town square today called Touch A Truck where the good ol boys brought their work trucks down and let the kids climb up in them. I met with Steph's clan and we had a good time. I made some new friends at the local radio station and Dillan chatted with some Army recruiters. Click on sugar-face below to see some shots.
I'm still fine-tuning my new camera settings, these were a little flat for my taste. By the time I hit the ocean I will be ready.
Sparky was the mascot for the Lawrenceburg Touch-A-Truck yesterday.
Birthdays don't mean much to me anymore but they are good for reflecting on how things have changed since the last one. So, this time last year I was hanging out on the deck of the Idaho house, sitting at the glass table soaking up the sun, listening to Lucas Nelson on my Echo and feeling very lost.
I had just returned from Washington State realizing that I couldn't afford to live there and a trip down to Arizona was pending, but the truth was, I just couldn't see living there either. We had to be out in a month and I needed a place that would accept Piper and the things I was taking with me had to fit in the back of my little truck.
It was looking pretty bleak and the thought that I would end up in a nice little place in Tennessee with all my stuff, and my cat, never got close to crossing my mind, but here I am a year later and I'm doing fine. Thanks god!
Melissa made me a banana cream cake for my birthday with exactly 73 little brown things all over it. Very cool, very pretty, and delicious!
I guess you know the end is near when you spend your afternoon scoping out burial sites and I found this very nice place off the Old Florence Pulaski Rd. I've often maintained that I don't want to be burned, just stick me down in the ground (without a casket if possible) and put a marker down, just like Jimmy's.
David Crockett State Park is only two miles from my house and a great place to mellow out on a nice Saturday afternoon in Tennessee.
My poor cat Piper hates the Garbage Monster. She hated it in Idaho and she hates it here. She's actually becoming an outdoor cat, loving the nice weather and the quiet neighborhood. She spends hours lounging around on the sidewalk keeping watch on her hood, until the monster arrives, and then she disappears into thin air.
My Zip Code tools are being used a lot, but I have no clue where. 56k+ hits is significant. If anybody reading this knows why, please hit me up (gmail = tetonpost).
My new read arrived in the mail today, it's called Signs, the Secret Language of the Universe and it's all about recognizing messages from loved ones and spirit guides from the Other Side. I did a quick glance through it this morning and I saw a piece about the significance of coins, and I instantly thought about my Lucky Nickel.
I can't even remember where I found it, or when, but it was decades ago. I've always carried it my wallet, stuck down in a little crevice where it would never fall out, and always transferred it to each new wallet. Where's my nickel? I frantically thought!
I bought a new thin wallet last year and threw my old one in a drawer, so I went and found it. When I opened it, there was my nickel sitting up on the edge of a pocket. It had dug itself out of it's crevice and was sitting up there like Get me out of here, damn it!
Looks like a sign to me...
I was watching a show on TV today about an old woman who shot alien spacecraft creating colorful light shows in the Canada sky, with an 8mm camera. Squiggly lights would suddenly appear in a single frame of an 18 fps camera, like they were drawing something in the sky. So, I took a picture of it off my TV screen and did that funky photo thing I like to do, and this is the result.
The spiders around here drive me crazy with their damned webs. I'm always walking into them and then wondering if the spider got down my pants as I wipe the cobwebs off my body. I guess I should cut them some slack since they catch the flying things and they are my neighbors after all.
After securing his lunch, he sucked up some guts before hauling it up to his perch on the roof.
I heard a ruckus on the creek today so I grabbed my camera and headed on down there. Floating into my viewfinder came the rare orange shelled Tubey and I was lucky to grab a shot before the rapids swallowed him up!
Piper's been pulling some all-nighters lately, heading outside around 8pm and coming back in when I get up at 5am. My camera bags were her prefered place to crash this morning.
I spotted a nice little lake nearby with my map programs and drove out there this morning. I couldn't reach it from the main road because the FCC had the road blocked due to a cell tower. So, I came in from the other side and discovered a maze of high class baseball fields. Turns out that Lawrenceburg has hosted the Babe Ruth World Series here several times. I used to be a damned good Babe Ruth first baseman with visions of pro ball dancing in my head, but instead I take pictures of cell towers.
Floating down the old sewer pipe...
This is a single photo I took this afternoon, animated, just to teach myself how to do it.
Lyla dropped by today to try out my resistance bands.
I drove through David Crocket Park today to check out the Days event. It reminded me of the frontier event they used to have in Victor, ID, except everyone here has a Tennessee accent. Click the photo below for some more...
Lawrenceburg had a Jeep competition as part of their Second Saturday downtown event. It's only a two minute drive for me so I slid in the back way, grabbed some cool shots, and then back home to the blog. Click the photo below to see them.
I've created a cool video production trailer:
...and here's a little thing I whipped up called Walkin:
I figure I better make a post of this stuff so I can reference it on the boat :-)
Vodka: Titos Handmade Vodka
Rum: Bacardi, (Bacardi 8)
Gin: Bombay Sapphire
Tequila/ Mezcal: Patron (Pa - trahn) Silver
Whiskey, Bourbon/ Rye: Makers Mark
Cognac: Remy Martin VSOP
Rolling Stone: Ilegal Joven mezcal, honey, lemon & cucumber juices, yogurt mix and basil leaves
Baton Rouge: Captain Morgan Original Spiced rum, Hennessy Cognac and pear syrup with bitters and lemon juice
Sandy Collins: Whisky - Crown Royal and maple syrup whisked with lemon juice and ginger soda
Spiced Rum Runner: Captain Morgan spiced rum, creme de banana, blackberry brandy, pina colada, grenadine
Teqmo: Jose Quervo Gold Tequila, agave syrup, fresh lime, mint leaves
Strawberry Mezcal Pepperita: Del Maguey Vida Blanco Mezcal, Cointreau, strawberry rita mix, pinch of pepper
Kentucky Burgundy: Maker's Mark, creme de classic, fresh lime, strawberry mix
Long Island Iced Tea: Mount Gay Eclipse rum, vodka, gin, triple sec, sweet & sour, Coke
Wildberry Margarita: Patron Silver, Island Oasis wildberry, margarita
Mango Sunrise: Captain Morgan mango rum, Smirnoff Raspberry vodka, cranberry juice, lemon
Shanghai Smash: The Macallan Select Oak, orange curacao, lemon and mint
Vanilla White Russian: Absolut vanilla vodka, Kahlua
I've been such a health nut lately and my alcohol consumption is negligible, I hope I live through this trip :-)
Riley just sent me a shot of a $120k Corvette C7 that he's going to be doing about $20k in repairs on. This is why I love my old truck...
He's also working on a Tesla!
Update: Here's the vet broken down:
This tree sits across the creek and I watch it from my office window, along with the groundhogs and the giant pre-historic type bird that comes sweeping down into the creek sometimes. All that's left to photograph now, is that bird...
Terminal A at PortMiami is the largest cruise terminal in the U.S. It's new, and it exclusivly serves Royal Caribbean. I think I should go check it out.
Went up to the tractor show this evening at the park, took a whole bunch of tractor shots and ate a homemade bologna sandwich with slaw. Click the one below to see the set (and the sandwich).
As I prepare to go on this cruise, genetics are trying to take over my body, but losing big time. I feel amazing and as I glance in the mirror I see a trim fit and tan man. I've worked hard for this moment, doing exercise repetitions that I couldn't even envision a year ago, and I thought I was in shape then. The tremors are internal and they are my energy. Let's rock on!
I love walking down to my creek as the sun goes low in the evening. I was chatting with some folks this afternoon as they were tubing by the house and one guy said You're blessed to live here. I really am...
btw: This is the creek that flooded and wiped out David Crockett's local businesses which sent him off to the Alamo, where he died. Just sayin...
My 360° panning adaptor arrived today, completing the short tripod hand carry setup I've created.
I should be able to shoot some smooth panned videos with this rig.
I've been enjoying my Sony zoom lens so much lately that my Sigma lens was being neglected, so I swapped her on today. Totally different lenses as the Sigma aperture ramps up to a f/1.4 with min f/16 vs the Sony f/5.6 to f/35. It's buttery smooth and I've worked out the cameras Clear Image mode so I can still zoom the Sigma digitally without losing detail.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain
Made the boat! Miami airport was a zoo, took me twenty minutes to get curbside. Grabbed a cab to the Port of Miami, Terminal A. Started to board the boat when I realized it wasn't my ship, which was way down the road at terminal G. I thought I had researched this shit! Took another cab to my boat.
All was forgoten as I settled into life on a cruise boat. We sailed all night to Key West, where I am now, hunkered down in my cabin making this post and giving my already tanned body a break from a beautiful hot day here. Who say's this is hurricane season? More tomorrow, click the photo below to see thirty shots.
Arrived in Key West this morning and left the ship for a bit to look around. It's touristy, quaint and artsy. Thers's a bunch of photos to see by clicking the ship below.
I just drank my morning coffee standing on the bow of the ship watching the lights of Cuba roll by in the dark. The Empress was one of the few ships they initially allowed to visit Cuba because of it's smaller size but nobody's going there now. Don't know why, don't really care.
This is a day at sea for us, not sure what to expect but I will update this post as it rolls along. In the meantime, here's the sunrise over Cuba:
Took a few shots, hung out with my new friends Ron and Cheryl from Canada, regreting not joining in the Sexy Man contest (bunch of lame dudes anyway) and the weather has been perfect. Click the photo below to see the rest.
For the fifteen years I lived at the base of the Grand Tetons I often factitiously used the phrase another day in paradise but this morning I speak the truth. I haven't been to Mexico for decades because I couldn't prove who I was but now my passport gives me that freedom.
We just docked at Costa Maya after a day at sea, the hurricane heading towards Miami is going to miss us, and I'm going exploring. Grabbed a few shots this morning, click the photo below to see them. More later...
Update: Explored Costa Maya, both the touristy pier and the actual town. Here's a story that sums it up: As I returned from town I heard a lady hustling a couple right off the boat for a 45 minute massage for $85 each. I took an $8 cab ride to town and they were pushing one hour massages on the beach for $20. The poverty downtown was striking but not unexpected and I can't imagine it before the cruise lines came to town. Anyway, there's seventy more photos in the set below if you're interested.
Some giant cruise ship was docked next to us all day and left before we did. I also had dinner in the dining room finally (escargot, some great fish and met two nice ladies from Pennsylvania) then hung at the pool watching the ship leave. Click the ship to see more...
Passed this uninhabited island this morning as we swung around toward Belize. There is no pier there so the ship has to anchor off the coast and use tender boats to get us to shore.
I'm sipping a Tito's and water by the pool, on a cruise boat, off the coast of Belize. The weather is beautiful and the Reggae band is about to start. The scuttlebutt on board is that our main stop on R/C's private island (CocoCay) is about to get canceled because of the hurricane, in fact we're wondering if we can even make it back to Miami. Of well, bring it on I say!
Click the Belize sign below to see my excursion to town:
It's official, CocoCay, R/C's private island water park, is a wash out due to Dorian. They're offering a one day cruise credit which is cool and we will overnight in Cozumel which is coming up on our horizon as I write this.
I've had my scrambled eggs, corned beef hash and fresh squeezed orange juice so I'm ready to make land and see what's up on this island (Mexico's largest). I might make it into San Miguel, the only city on Cozumel, stay tuned...
Update: We've docked at Cozumel and I grabbed some shots. To see them, click the control panel below:
Update: Mosied around the shoping area, picked up a couple t-shirts for the girls. Click below for more:
Decadence: Where you walk by the pool bar, make eye contact with the busy bartender, and your Tito and water is waiting for you when you saunter up, with no fruit and a straw without the silly little piece of paper on the top. You slide his tip across the bar and grab your drink as he says Hello Mr Jim and you continue on without breaking your stride.
Update: Some guy came into the pool area wearing a stupid balloon hat. I was enjoying exotic coctails so I took his picture and he passed the stupid hat over to me. So, I passed it on to others. Click below to see...
Update: Finished up the evening with a random chick wearing the stupid balloon, and a great sunset. Click below to view:
Well, my mind is blown, and it's not because of those cocktail creations last night with no dinner. Hurricane Dorian has really messed things up! We should have been in CocoCay today but we're still in Cozumel, which would have then be followed by a sailing day on Saturday and a Sunday morning arrival at Miami.
The new plan is to extend the cruise until Wednesday! Tomorrow we go to Roatan Honduras, Sunday and Monday we'll just be sailing around, Tuesday we'll spend the day in Nassau Bahamas and Wednesday back to Miami.
This is contingent of course with Dorian not wiping out their Miami pier at which point I'm not sure what the hell will happen. Some folks on this boat are really scrambling to get off and get home but I just checked with Steph and she's going to keep on house/cat sitting for me until I get back, whenever that is...
Update: The gossip onboard here is that everything is waiting on the captains final decision. The funny thing is that when the captain makes the announcement nobody will understand him (really thick Norwegian accent). Lots of stuff is up in the air here! Very entertaining to observe.
Update: Still waiting for the captain's annoncement but by the number of people stacked up at the reservation desk, I'm sure this thing is going down! Roatan tomorrow, Nassau on Tuesday. Stuck on a cruise boat in the Bahamas, whoda thunk :-)
Update: It's offical, the captain has speaketh. This eight day cruise is now eleven. The only questions remain are wether the drink and internet packages are extended as a courtesy. I suspect we will know shortly. Brian texted me and said our new next stop Roatan is his favorite place on earth. I'm going to hook up with new friends Ron and Cheryl and do a snorkling tour tomorrow.
Lucky number seven. I've talked to a bunch of cruisers on this boat who have made many sailings around the world but this is the first time something like this has happened to them. Hurricane Dorian had already disrupted our cruise, we were supposed to be in Perfect Day CocoCay today, but they shut it down and we were stuck in Cozumel for the day.
Turns out, Royal Caribbean has done a class move for the safety of their customers. Not only has the entire trip been extended by three days, to two new ports (Roatan and Nassau) but they have extended the deluxe drink package and internet access (of which I have both) for those days, comp.
A lot of folks couldn't take advantage of this and bailed today, flying out of Cozumel back home so they could do their jobs. I'm sorry for them, but that means fewer people on the boat, more food, more drinks, more internet, yea!
My friends back home have stepped up and Steph is covering my house and Melissa changed my flight from Sunday to Wednesday for me. Click the photo below for todays shots up to this point.
Instead of dead-heading back to Miami as planned, I'm enjoying an amazing sunrise over Honduras and eating a great breakfast. Life is good, very good. Today I explore Roatan and maybe get some snorkeling in. Stay tuned...
I took the tender boat to the pier at Roatan and proceeded to walk forcefully through the hustlers on shore. As I was heading towards some sort of town area a guy approached me from my left and offered to be my driver around the island. I asked how much, he said $40. I agreed and we took off on a magical mystery tour that I will remember forever and may have changed my life.
Everywhere we went, my driver was known. He want's to run for mayor, and he has my vote. He asked what I wanted to do and I said get high on life and see Roatan. We bonded instantly and took off through the busy crazy streets of Roatan dodging people and other cars with the deft skill of a professional driver.
We stopped at his house, we stopped at his brothers house and before long I was cruising out to the west end of the island high on life.
The west end is a divers paradise with bars and diving shops going on for miles. I see why this is your favorite place on earth, Brian.
We talked about life and people and how the island is made up of kind hearted real folks that have your best interest at heart and all along the journey I kept mumbling, I could live here.
We are in a fluid state, so to speak, currently out to sea somewhere with a new destination: George Town, Grand Cayman. The scuttlebutt around the coffee pot on the top deck this morning is that we probably could have made Miami safely this morning, and they could probably head straight there now if they wanted to but they would have a bunch of pissed off people on board needing to change flights again. I think they're committed and we have three free days on R/C.
It's 0800 and I'm sitting by the pool. The emerald blue of the Caribbean surrounds the ship completely and I heard it's well over a mile deep here. I mentioned to the guy that makes my fresh squeezed orange juice every morning three more days and he smiled knowingly and said "maybe more". What?
The internet package I had bought for 8 days ended this morning and I just re-connected and there it was, internet on the house. I better go check my drink package! Anyway, no plans today, just another day in paradise...
Update: Good news, bad news, the drink package is alive and well but they're out of whipped cream and cherries for my Mudslide.
Melissa texted me about how delicious that Mudslide looked and I told her: It's cold, chocolatey, strong and melts in your mouth. I've got some pictures up that I took last night if your interested, click the photo below. And before anyone asks who the chick in the metal hat is, since she's appeared twice now, I don't know. Last night she had me shoot a selfie of herself on her phone...
Hmmm, never thought I would type the words cruise day 10. Good morning world, we're pulling into George Town, Grand Cayman now and I have no plans and I don't know what to expect. It's great to be alive though!
Update: The anchor has dropped:
Another beautiful day, another paradise. Rode the tender boat to shore this morning with Ron and Cheryl and we ended up hanging out together. We first went to hell, and then back, then we walked seven mile beach. These are the obligatory tourist things to do in George Town Grand Cayman, and we did um!
There's 39 photos to see by clicking the one below:
Update: We have set sail to the North, cruising all day tomorrow and Miami come Wednesday. That's assuming Dorian doesn't change her mind.
I feel sorry for our hosts Royal Caribbean, they made a call to not return to Miami last Sunday because of Dorian, and then it stalled. Now as we sail towards a landing tomorrow the hurricane is bumping up against the area big time.
So, at this moment I don't know if we're going to make it and if we do wether the airport will be open. Assuming both those things true, I get to spend all day in Miami before the flight. What an adventure!
Here's the Disney ship as we set sail yesterday:
One of the best things I did for this trip was to get a stack of one dollar bills at the bank. Gratuities onboard here are 18% and you accrue the charges daily, and the crew splits it all up at the end. Sliding a single along with my card when I get a beverage means they all remember my name and often have the drink ready. This morning the guy who makes my fresh squeezed orange juice had it sitting on my table as I came back with my eggs and I didn't even see him. Here's the sunrise over Cuba for you as we sail on by:
It's Mudslide time somewhere, might as well be here and now.
Dorian is fading and heading North, Miami is spared, and this trip is finally ending. Goodnight.
The outer bands of mister Hurricane Dorian were rotating around Miami yesterday as we came into dock. Lightning was exploding inside the dark clouds all around as if the weather was welcoming us home with a light show.
We floated right by a container ship and another cruise boat as we turned into the pier and I got some cool low-light shots of the event. I walked around Miami for a bit with my travel bag and left the camera inside of it, just too much to handle, and Melissa, Steph and Dillan grabbed me at Nashville airport last night. Cruise done.
Click the photo below to see the last shots of a great cruise. (Yes, that is lightning inside the cloud)
God it's nice to be back home after being trapped on a cruise ship for eleven days, forced to visit exotic locations I keep forgetting the names of, eating food I would never make for myself because I couldn't afford it and shamed into drinking top shelf booze because my fellow travelers say I should because I can (I'm being facetious of course). And, the girls loved the shirts I got them that change color in the sunlight.
I shot a bit of video footage on my cruise and here's part of my wild and bouncy ride through Roatan Honduras with my private driver Omar, the Mayor.
Here's 10 minutes of edited belly flop contest goodness for you from the Empress of The Seas:
We see only what we look for. If we don't look for something, we miss it.
Update: After I created this post I walked to the kitchen to make myself a drink because my body craves it after a booze soaked cruise and I'm weaning myself down and as I reached for the bottle I saw this:
I don't have any bugs in this house, much less one this size and I can only rationalize this as a sign. I took his picture and then carried him out to a tree where he casually stepped off, job done.
As I walked around the tree later looking for him I spotted this Cicada shell:
Update, 4 days later: I'm seeing images of Praying Mantis's everywhere now and I have no doubt my friends on the other side are telling me to clean out my liver. I have listened.
Join me at the stern of the Empress of the Seas somewhere in the Caribbean.
I met a great guy on the cruise boat named Ma Jun, from China. He didn't speak English but I was impressed by his ability to communicate anyway. We shared the common bond of photography as we were the two guys walking around the boat with nice camera rigs always taking pictures.
He wanted to send me his photos so I gave him my email and they showed up today. They're great and I've created a photoset out of them (click the one below). He got some good shots of me and now I'm scrambling through my originals to see if I got a decent one of him.
Here's his email:
Dear Jim, Very happy meet you on Empress of the Seas!
I send some photos to you. I'm not a professional photographer, please understanding. Just to evoke memories of your trip. I think your photography technology is first-class.
Welcome you to visit China.
Next week I go to Malaysia for one week.
I wish you a happy life!
Best Regards, Ma Jun
Here he is!
On Aug 10, 2011 a girl named Megan gave her cat to Steph and I because it kept coming to our house and Megan was pregnant and concerned about a cat in her life. Piper was rescued by this girl and bottle fed, fixed and loved very well. We were honored to have her.
Piper eventually became my cat because I'm the cat guy and we have had amazing adventures together. She and I now live together in my little place and she is my partner and my best friend.
I checked with her vet back in Idaho and today, Sep 12, is her 14th birthday. Happy birthday baby!
I treated the girls along with their mom and grandmother to the Tennessee State Fair today. Parking was bizarre, shuttle drivers were rude and I think some of the big animals went home early since it was the end of the event, and it was damn hot. I've been to much better Fairs but a good time can always be had anywhere if you let it happen.
Click the cute mug below for a fifty shot PhotoSet.
I went to bed last night at 6:30pm, slept for 4 hours and then was out the door showered and coffeed at 1130pm. I pulled up to the Discount Tire place in Springfield, MO exactly at 0800 and they got me in and out as their first customer with balanced and rotated tires in 18 minutes. The moonlight drive was great! I'm currently in Wichita, KS. Next stop, Pueblo.
I really like night driving across the country after 2am. The moon was out again under a clear Kansas sky as I rolled along two lane roads through small towns keeping my speed legal and cranking my formidable stereo music out of my open windows into theirs.
My spirit guides were active as I was easy to find out there on the open road with no distractions. I was playing my entire music collection stuffed on a USB plug into my stereo and it was amazing. Songs would pop up that I had previously made a connection to and I was belting them out with my Parkinson's shattered voice into the moonlit night as loud as I could.
My sweet little GPS gets me off the path sometimes and photo subjects like the one below pop up but she always comes through. Pueblo was dull so I moved on up to Colorado Springs which allowed me to meet the budda.
Update: I was planning my return and captured this map. The dot Eastward is my current location, ultimately US 70. The little blue line below was my Westward route this morning.
I slept in a Rest Area in the middle of Missouri last night. Pulled in just before dusk and was able to unwind a bit and picture my white feet cozied up in the truck. Wow, what a day!
It all started to transform from great road trip vibes to surreal when I entered a freeway on ramp after fueling and spotted someone on the side with a sign that said "Going to Manhattan, Stranded, Please Help!". I stopped of course and Jack climbed into my front seat with a small backpack he stuck between his legs on the floor, and the sign.
He was 28, a troubled young soul with a peaceful face. Said he'd been hitch-hiking for three weeks trying to get back to a girl that he met at a party somewhere and she's in Manhattan Kansas, just down the road. Ok, I get it! I praised him for perpetuating the great American hitch-hiking tradition! He had lost his phone somewhere, hurt his hand and had $5 to his name that he just found on the ground before I stopped. I relate!
I took the Manhattan exit thinking I'd drop right into town and let him off at a store but the town was eleven miles down the road. My reaction was instant, I told him that I had been assigned to be his temporary Guardian Angel by the Other Side and that I was taking him to Manhattan and he began smiling and nodding his head up and down saying I believe you, thank you. It was a moment. Anyway, dropped him off and got back into my homeward bound journey just a little behind.
I've been thinking about that amazing eleven day cruise I just took, reflecting on a possible next one, and I realize it's bucket list checked. I don't think I could top it so why waste my time on another one just for the decadence factor. Life is short, time to move on to the next adventure.
I just returned from a road trip in my old truck, carrying my grandfathers paint-stained tools and my grandmothers blankets covering the bed in the back. One of the first stops was my grandfathers birthplace, Joplin, MO. and I felt his presence there.
Back in Idaho when I was driving the bus, the little old homeless lady that I had helped out with some money and personal items at Broulims looked up at me and said "Are you my guardian angel?" and I said no. Now I believe I was. We are all someone's guardian angel when we allow it to be so. Sometimes the slightest human interaction can change a persons life and we are both the giver and the receiver.
And then there's Chompy. I followed this thing a long ways at different times. It first crept up on me from the left as the trucks cargo came into view. It was a large Army helicopter.
Working on a new production trailer:
It was based on another view I had of the Mantis Sign:
Here's another based on the original:
Here's people going backward slowed down on a ride that actually is going backward at the Fair in Nashville recently.
I also created a painting I call The Other Side. Click it to enlarge, and look deep...
This is my new video creature, I've named it Red Eye.
I have a nagging thought in the middle of my head that slaps the insides of my brain around trying to get my attention. It's saying "You don't have as much time as you think"!
I'm trying to discern if this is a message or just a thought based on who knows what kind of insecurities about life in general that I might have. The question is: Is it true? If so, it's the perfect rationalization to continue bouncing off into what ever adventure I dream up next.
Let's review the basics. The most important things in life are water, food, shelter, waste disposal, bathing, electricity and internet, in that order. If you got the basics, you're gold and everything else is gravy.
I think back of my Roatan cabbie The Mayor Omar. He and I connected the instant we met, I trusted him, he trusted me. He took me to his home, a run down house with multiple rooms and he had his own, a bed in the middle, surrounded by his possessions. There was a shared bathroom that required a bucket of water to flush it. I was standing in the middle of Roatan poverty and I got it. Now I look back and I realize they had the basics. Every human being on the planet should have the basics!
Take for example the guy below that I photographed from Omar's cab:
Looks to me like he had the basics!
I'm sitting here trying to figure out what wanks my chain. It used to be computer programming but something snapped internally this early Spring where I just lost interest because I assumed nobody was using my stuff. Ironically, part of that last coding effort has now been used 113,964 times according to my blog's control panel, which advances one of my new mantras, Never Assume!
You know how our mind fills in the blanks when we don't know the complete truth about something? The assumption remains the reality until we find out differently. My goal is to leave the blanks empty and fill each of my life situations with nothing but truth.
That's Wisteria Island off Key West, FL. A large homeless encampment lies hidden among the trees there and I don't believe they provide the basics.
Memories are fuzzy, out of focus snapshots of our life. The reason I take photographs is to record what I see at that instant, in digital purity, and not have to rely on my totally inadequate brain cells to capture it. I can then revisit and evaluate my life at that moment, at my leisure.
You can also attach a name to a photo (Cozumel, Mexico), unlike memories which don't come with a Title function unfortunately. You can even add descriptions (glass-bottom boats, U.S. cruise ships, Mexican ferries and the coastline of Cozumel) which adds the dimension of depth to the visualization.
Or just a description (baby trees starting life as vivid red seeds inside a furry bud taken this afternoon in my backyard).
I took this shot of some workers emerging from the side of a cruise ship and turned it into a drawing.
And no, that big black thing does not appear in the original photo, artifacts like that are triggered by slight shadows... Here's a leaf:
I found a dead Armadillo in my creek today. Now, if I start seeing Armadillo's everywhere like I did Praying Mantis's, then I will know it's a Sign.
Here I am once again in life trying to decide which hole to put it in. My old engine loves the SeaFoam but since I installed my new Weber carb I'm never really sure which hole to pour it into while I'm pumping the throttle cable to keep her from dying.
The one on the left? The one on the right? Both? And which side of the little flappy thing? I better send this link to my son Riley, the man who has torn down and reassembled every car on the planet, he would know!
Update: Just got a call from The Man. There's a primary and secondary intake and you pour the SeaFoam down underneath the primary intake flap. Turns out the one on the left was the primary, engine clean at 210,771!
Temperature records are crashing around me as the days in the upper nineties continue to languish. I'm staying cool and just flowing along and the creek is my inspiration.
I'm down in Alabama today visiting my old friend Crash Dog Man Hunter. He was in a punk rock band I used to frequent back in the Bay Area and he just went through gender re-assignment surgery. He also had a skin transplant and I have to say, he's looking good!
He looked like this when I knew him, went by the name of Venice Neil:
I just pulled the old Amazon trigger on a new phone, the Panasonic 2-Line KX-TG9541B. I've got two phone lines/numbers: my Google Voice line running through a VOIP adaptor (with a Las Vegas prefix), and the land-line provided by my Spectrum internet account (with the local prefix).
Right now I have the VOIP line hooked to a cordless phone, I'll dump that. The Spectrum line is a simple corded black thing, I'll dump that. The new unit will sit proudly on my desk and handle both lines with one common voice message, great speakerphone and tons of other good stuff.
The girls invited me to the Summertown Home Coming parade today. I missed the football float but grabbed a few shots worthy of checking out by clicking the photo below.
Dillan's turning seventeen and I created his own website for him as a birthday present. Guys his age normally want cash but I'm stepping beyond the norm. He asked me what to do with it and I said anything you want!
My advice is to just ask around, ask his friends what they would do with a website that matches their name, ask his teachers. In this day and age it has value. He can then choose how much he wants to invest in it. Learn a little code, setup a blog, or just sit on it until he starts a career and then hire somebody to do it.
I've been thinking about what I would do, as a HS Junior in a small Tennessee town, with a My Name domain hosting a sweet little custom CMS (Content Management System) running my own Blog. I would start doing daily posts about everything and share the links with my friends via social media and if what I had to say had meaning and value eventually the audience would grow large. Then, I really would have a voice.
I just happen to be working with a sweet little CMS called Anchor. I've set up a test blog (which I'll announce shortly) that would be a perfect fit for a one person blog, like dillanflores.com.
I produced a new video today.
The locally decorated stop sign heading up Ski Hill Road to Grand Targhee many winters ago...
The sign before that:
How often do you lie when people ask how you are? For the grocery checker it's a casual greeting and they really don't expect a reply that matters to them, so I lie. If it's a neighbor that I rarely talk to, I lie.
If a friend looks me in the eye and asks, or if I establish a connection of empathy over the phone with someone, I tell the truth.
So what are the lies? Fine, good, great, ok, hanging in there, blah blah blah...
What's my truth right now? "Ok, but wallowing somewhat in the muck of eminent inevitability".
What's your truth?
The talking head weather girl on channel 2 gushes that Fall is in the air! Yea, but it's mostly on the ground around my place. It is Fall after all.
I've produced a new video with the four best shots of the Praying Mantis that appeared as a Sign in my kitchen after I returned from the cruise.
The girls dropped by to visit old Papa today. It's been great to watch them grow up and to catch an occasional photo shoot along the way.
Click the photo below to see the set. Look close for the peanut butter and honey cracker remnants around the mouths.
I've created a new Video Player for the blog. All embeded videos now have their YouTube ID inserted into a clickable button at the upper right corner. When you click on it, a new page will present the video as a stand-alone post. It's a great feature if you just want to share an individual video.
I can actually play any YouTube video with the Player: The Lilium
My life has been like a leaf floating down the creek. Sometimes I bump into other leaves and bounce off and sometimes I get attached for a while. Inevitably, like the course of the journey from the leaf falling from the tree and hitting the water and floating to the place where all leaves go to die, I get stuck in a little cranny in the creek.
As I float swirling around the current cranny I realize I'm not depressed, I'm reflective. I'm not afraid, I'm concerned. I have a magic camera, an experienced eye, and I'm alive!
My spot in the Land of Leaf:
How do you tell the difference between male and female chromosomes? You pull down their genes.
Sometimes deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is your friend, sometimes your enemy, but you're stuck with what you got and you wonder how it's going to play out as you approach that last curve in the creek.
Update: I just returned from the dermatologist where they froze a bunch of spots and removed three things from the top of my head. The guy that did the work had the same name as me except his middle name was Wes, we bonded. It will take ten days to get results back and I told Wes that I don't do doctors and pills so if the result ain't good, I'm booking a long cruise. He smiled and nodded.
Leaves are amazing, they're vibrant when alive and somberly beautiful when dead. But do they truly die or is the process of returning to the earth actually a form of living?
I used my Sigma lens this morning in a search for the truth and this looks alive to me.
Lately I've been imagining that my little place is a bungalow I've rented in some quiet retreat spot somewhere. I have all the basics necessary for a fun day and beautiful peaceful images await me when I walk out the door.
Today around 1015 a product called Mucuna Pruriens will arrive in the mail that I hope will have a positive effect on my Parkinson's tremors. I'm going to mix up a tall glass of the powdered stuff in water, sit back in my easy chair, and consume it. I'm insanely in touch with my body so I'll know if it's effective or not. Of course, I will update the results here...
Update: Tried it with water first, then put a scoop under my tongue, with no effect on the tremors. It has other supposed benefits so I'll include it in my morning herb mix, other than that, disappointed.
Oh well, how about a portrait of my Roatan Honduras driver, Omar. This is his first appearance on the blog.
Drove to Crockett Park this morning to visit the birds on the lake. The park road had a sign that stated Original route of the Trail of Tears and it just astounds me that such a honorific human event would be glorified. Maybe we're just supposed to hang our head when we drive by and say sorry for the Native American population transfer from their ancestral homelands here in the South to reservations in the West. Maybe I even drove over a spot where one of the ten thousand Indians died during the trip, that would be cool.
Put up a video.
Steph's sisters, mom, and niece visiting in Driggs, ID.
Since I'm cruising down Memory Lane here's a nice little drive through Teton Valley, ID from a European perspective:
To be, as opposed to not.
The stupidly extravagant way I've spent my life should have killed me off long ago but no, here I am, running on Gravy Time.
I live in Tennessee the land of the free and I ain't beholden to nuthin. Every minute of every day is spent doing exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it. I move forward to a future fraught with pitfalls but bursting with possibility. Gravy Time.
This is just a marvel of Chinese creativity. Combine a 3M sensor, a cheap processor, a lens and some buttons with a molded piece of plastic and make a functioning kids camera. I pulled it out of the box and took a shot with existing battery power and it worked.
The lighting was poor and it's only 3 megapixels but it delivered an acceptable image. I'm sure my little Lilly will get much better shots, from a four year old perspective, that I can't wait to see.
I need to dive into settings and turn that Date off, and who knows what else I'll find there.
Just another eclectic video on a windy rainy day...
Pictures from the field just came in, looks like the camera was a hit with Lilly. Success!
Later on, while Lilly naps...
Every breath every step moving on gravy time down to the creek. It's cloudy, it's calm and it's Sunday. Shoal creek has been around for a long time and the earliest history I can find shows that Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and his men wintered along the creek in 1540 here in Lawrenceburg, quite possibly on the land from which I write this. They arrived here on Christmas day and met the Chickasaw Indians who called the place Chicasa.
When you're old like me and running on gravy time there are two ways to die (barring an accident), the Doctor Way where you submit yourself to a corrupt medical system that claims they can cure you with modern science at a big price, or just live until you don't. You might live longer going the doctor way but otherwise your money could be spent on you, not them.
There's a giant pine tree living next to my house that offers great shade in the Summer and lots of needles in the Fall. I'll bet this tree was around when De Soto pillaged and enslaved the Chickasaw Indian tribe that lived here.
The first freeze warning of the winter is swooping down on us and it brings back memories of forty below back in Idaho.
Cruising through an old hard drive I came across a few photos that captured brief snippets of my time in Idaho. Click the shot below to see them.
I'm thinking of joining a local photography club and I need a way to share my work from a tablet so I've created a new domain just for that purpose called Jimazon. It's a work in progress and I'm diving down into code for the first time in months so stay tuned...
In the late seventies I landed the biggest IBM systems consulting project of my career with Interocean Steamship of San Francisco. These guys were the leading container management company on the West Coast and they wanted a state of the art computer system. I gave my hand-typed presentation to a room full of suits, wearing a tee-shirt and ragged jeans, and got the contract. A year later they had their system and loved it, and I was rocking and rolling on the IBM gravy train.
Now I sit hunkered down in the cold and dark, still writing code...
My grand-daughter Shelby drove up from Pensacola to Nashville yesterday and Steph and I had lunch with her today in Smyrna, TN. We met up at the Jeff Kuss Memorial who was the Blue Angel killed in 2016 practicing for the airshow here. Shelby was a good friend of Jeff and his family in Pensacola and she was dating his best friend, another Blue Angel, when this happened. Very sad but his memorial is impressive.
We had a nice lunch and caught up with a lot. Looks like I've got a Thanksgiving invite in Mississippi at our friend Homer's mother's house. I am honored.
Steph was saying the last time she saw Shelby she was in the 5th grade and she's now 27. How can that be? Have I known Steph that long? The answer is yes.
Click the photo below for some more shots.
Compliments of Steph...
Finally, southern Tennessee had it's first snow last night in the 14 months I've been here. Having recently lived and driven a bus for a living at 6500 feet in the Teton Rockies for 12 years, I think I can handle it...
As opposed to this:
I have no routine. Every instant of my life is different in some respect from the one that preceded it. As to the creation below I think it sums up the general state of my mind.
I've taken some moments out of my code crazed days to flesh out a new logo for my project, but it's just too big and complicated, so I'll just share it here.
Look how close I landed to one of the genetic melting pots of my DNA. My provider (ancestry.com) has further refined the hot spots where my eighteenth century relatives formed their families. Here's the blurb:
"Palatine Germans, English, Welsh, and Scottish Highlanders escaping economic, political, and religious crises in their homelands headed to the British colonies. Generally poor and often indentured, many found their way into Virginia and the Carolinas. They followed trails through the Appalachian Mountains, settling cheap land and turning the American frontier into an agricultural powerhouse built around cotton and tobacco."
The kids dropped by this afternoon to enjoy my mellow leafy yard. They were moving too fast for picture taking but I got a few shots. Sometimes the emotion of the shot is more important than the quality. Click the photo below to see them.
And me climbing a small tree here:
I was boring deep into the Flickr inerverse today, testing the exploritory powers of my new app when an image landed on my screen so hard it knocked me back in my chair.
Meanwhile, my evening creation:
I see these TV commercials lately where the old guy my age sits in an easy chair surrounded by generations of siblings, exchanging smiling glances with the grand kids and Moma rubs his shoulder while the Lawrence Welk Show plays in the background. Am I rambling?...
Earth to Jim! Earth to Jim! The scientists say it's too risky to try, but if you don't, we all die, so there is no choice.
It has to be done! There, I pushed the button and...
I'm an old lonely depressed man. I live in a little place at a curve in Shoal Creek down in southern Tennessee. I am not surrounded by friends and I rarely even speak to anybody here on this dead end street.
I have everything I need to get by comfortably and my days are spent writing code and spoiling my old cat. Some days I feel like I'm making a difference and some days I feel like I'm fading away.
But you know what? I'm really glad to be here and living it!
I was testing out my new search code in the app today so I typed "oldmanjim" and searched across the billions of Flickr photos and it found just one. This is the only photo in my Flickr collection that has this name in it. The uniqueness of my brand are apparent and the implications are immense.
To be caught happy in a world of misery is the most despicable of crimes Virginia Woolf
I had a good Thanksgiving. At first I thought it would be one of those hunker down events I seem to be having a lot of lately but Steph dropped by with dinner (M/D's fish sandwiches) and we had a nice time. Cleanup was minimal as it all went back into the bag from which it came and I hung out with my two remaining close friends (Piper was there of course). Another one down...
Sometimes you just want an older person to walk up, put their arm around your shoulder and tell you everything's going to be alright. It sucks when you're the oldest guy around and there's no older arm in sight. The irony is, I'm also now an old guy with an arm, and no shoulders in sight.
Melissa dismissed Flickr to Steph the other day, saying she knew nothing about it. I found this very interesting that her generation is so caught up in the latest social media buzz that Flickr could have passed them by.
Yahoo! acquired Flickr from a start-up group in 2005. I was involved with Yahoo! doing mapping stuff so it came into my radar and I signed up as a Pro user (unlimited) and have been hosting my photo collection there for years. Both of my blogs link directly to my photos there.
SmugMug acquired them last year and other than some cosmetic changes, the service is still solid. Stats for Flickr are somewhat secretive but this is what I've uncovered:
• 75 million registered photographers across 63 countries.
• 10 billion photos in their database.
• Millions of photos are uploaded daily.
These are significant numbers!
I finally got some Thanksgiving fixings and quality time with the girls this evening. Lilly has this condition where she can't keep her tounge contained, and I captured it. Click the photo for more.
Describe your essence.
Mine: I don't take pills, I don't eat meat and my feet hit the floor at four forty four every morning. I work constantly on making my health issues not define me. I develop computer concepts in code that I express online. I love my cat.
I bought some cool reusable silicone straws recently that are soft and flexible, come with their own cleaning brushes, and I'm saving the planet. The problem is now, that instead of asking myself if this is the day things are going to be different, I pause to ask which color straw?
As I was working on my drag sliders today I realized they needed a sandbox, a playground, a testing area. A place where users could put their finger on (or mouse) and try out that sweet new setting they just adjusted on the sliders above.
Designing a concept is as much fun as implementing it. Now, back to work...
I was programming computers as a professional consultant for a decade before Microsoft Windows met the world. I had already made the switch from mini-computers to PC's developing graphics software, holding court at mid-eighties Vegas Comdex's in their prime and in later years writing device drivers in assembly for ZSoft's PC Paint on the Windows platform, which means I've got cred.
I have seen Windows through every one of it's painful transitions and I finally arrive here in almost 2020 on a fully-patched current version of Windows 10 on my blazing fast MSI box, and I think it's amazing! My computer world does not crash, contrary to some.
The degree to which I am connected to the world and my computer stagger this old coders mind. I live with a dozen Windows open at once on my wide screen monitor and my awareness of where they are in relation to each other is amusing at times, but always there.
My Aegis 3 is almost three years old and Windows 10 has continued to improve my computer life. Thanks to my fellow geeks over the years that have made this happen!
You can enter into the most powerful function ever written, designed to come up with the true perfect answer, but if you never return the results to the caller it dies within the function in a cloud of binary dust, as if the question or answer never existed or mattered.
Stop calling functions that don't return an answer and then decide if it's worth fixing, or moving on.
Piper is sitting in the middle of my desk alternately licking the moisture off the window and licking my forehead. Then she nuzzles my nose with hers and I totally cave and reach for the treats. There's nothing complicated here, just simple love.
Now here we go into Christmas again where the ability to put on a happy face bumps into the hunker down and lay low ho ho and as my wise grandfather used to say My do-lapper-dinker ain't swinging on it's rocking ball!
That phrase evolved centuries ago right up the road from my present location by my ancestors so I reclaim it now and pass it on to my grandchildren, wherever they are.
There comes a time in every life when you need to stop talking and just create. Close out the world, excite your mind to what you want to achieve and thrill in the results. Then you can talk about what you've learned in 73 years:
• Growing up, I was taught how not to be a bad man, not how to be a good man. It took me decades to learn the difference.
• Never leave a tossed tissue outside the rim, you never know when you might have company.
• Avoid touching other humans, you may come to like it.
• Every second of our past defines how we are presented to the moment now and our body brain eyes voice and soul are the mirror.
• What doesn't make you stronger, kills you.
I appear to some as a pathetic old man who's let the modern technology scene pass him by. I have no Facebook, no Instagram and no cellphone.
But my tech cred is fine, thank you. I can hack into a JQuery plugin and tweak it do my bidding, I have created near a hundred websites now, I write creative quality code for the internet and I've been an integral part of the computer revolution since 1969.
We should all try not to judge a person by what they appear to not know anything about.
Looking back at my life I see where things went well and where they often times didn't, where I made some mistakes and had some success, where I landed on my ass and bounced back on my feet, each event just a Minor Blip in the steady stream of Time until I arrived here now.
I am fortunate and thankful to have avoided the Big Mistake, which becomes a Major Blip, and everything is downhill for most folks from there. I have landed OK and I believe my extended family on the Other Side made this happen. Now I'm trying to figure out why.
When I was about seven I lived in a very small town on the side of a mountain between Reno and Truckee. That christmas eve we had a blinding snowstorm and my stepdad was stopped by the CHP down the road in his commercial truck trying to get home from a road trip and they told him he would have to walk. He loaded up the presents he had to a toboggan (gift) and dragged it miles through the snow in the dark to our house in time for christmas. It's been downhill from there.
As I sit in a small house on a dead-end street with nobody around, it's quiet and peaceful. Tonight, Xmas tomato for dinner. I'm content, and what's in your wallet?
The best christmas presents are the ones you give yourself. I've been chasing some incredibly complex code the last couple of days, knowing what I wanted to achieve but the technical roadblocks were huge. I have learned to never give up on these things because I always succeed, eventually. This morning it all came together and I smiled broadly and said merry christmas to myself.
Then I had Road Killamale, venison style, for dinner:
...and Banana Brogurt for desert.
Fresh made from the deep south :-)
I revisited and tweaked it this morning to include my map program OMJMaps into the bottom mix of services. The Place app is great code, I was on a roll back then.
The beauty of Place is that it's self-regenerative, it morphs back into what it was when you return to it. Click the image above to go there...
I am with you brother Vincent though we paint with different strokes. In your soul you knew you were creating great beauty yet your heart cried out for acceptance by your peers and awe from the public. It's just a human thing, talk to you soon...
This guy is really at peace with himself and probably stoned on something. My hero, so I sent my new magnifier over to check out his head gear.
I've seen this look before in my travels, a person resigned to their place in life and ok with it. Or maybe he's some famous holy guy that millions worship, hell I don't know I just grabbed it off Flickr to test my zoom anyway which grabs a larger version of the photo in the background and serves it up under the glass.
No, she didn't go anywhere, the poor baby has pain in her back. I took her to the Vet and he eliminated the possibility of tumors with an x-ray and said she's just old and fat with arthritis. He got a pained look on his face and suggested weight loss but I told him that's like telling your fat old grandma sitting in her rocking chair she needs to drop a hundred pounds. He laughed and agreed.
I have pain medicine for her but I have to pour it on treats to get it in her. The least I can do now is just let her lay on my pillow, and love her.
Her spot is the edge of the bed but she moves in and takes over the pillow when she can.
I love New Years, been hunkering down and laying low on the Eve though lately. My resolutions have been spectacular over the decades and I'm sure I must have achieved some of them, just wish I could remember.
I'm an old numbers guy and 2020 feels good to me so let's rock on, enjoy every breath and smile!
New Years Day is the ultimate manifestation of corporate greed, one more day to soak the economy, and half the working force of America is wondering why they're not at work. The holiday life tradition family mumbo jumbo 2020 song is being forced into our minds through our electronic media. Thank god my footprint is small with consumption under my thumb, shaky as it is.
Since celebrating the transition between years as a holiday is true then decade changes should qualify as bonus which means everyone should be off tomorrow also. Hell, might as well take Friday off...
I dove down deep this morning and modularized some critical components in my app as a function of implementing paging. It worked great then I drove to the dermaguy who sliced a squamous from my scalp. First real day in the Soaring Twenties!
I never imagined I would be saying this two years ago, but my official state of residence is Tennessee. I've lived here well over a year now, I have a Tennessee commercial drivers license, the address on my passport is here, I have a Tennessee Medicare advantage plan, and my new adopted football team is the Titans. Last night I stayed up well beyond my bedtime to watch my team kick the Patriots ass and I made a prediction to my son Riley (a Seahawks fan) a couple of months ago that the Titans would play the Seahawks in the upcoming Super Bowl. I could visualize him rolling his eyes over the phone, but watch out now.
Riley and Jessica are on a cruise and her last FB post said she took a spill in the casino and was hurting. Damn, that sucks. I guess they didn't get the internet package because there's no update and not responding to texts.
Reminds me of a time back in the '70s when my wife and I were on vacation down in Texas. I was foot racing my uncle John through the huge Dallas county fairgrounds and when I glanced right to see why he was pulling up I ran right into the street and smashed into a car. Broke my collar bone. We went to the Kennedy memorial after that and I was in so much pain, it was a blur. Didn't get it looked at until we got back to CA and the drive home was excruciating. (Not sure why Marci didn't drive :-)
Update: Just heard from them, everything is alright I guess, Riley sent an image:
I just discovered that my great-great grandfather on my mothers side, Thomas Grundy Smith, was born in Shoal Creek, MO. in 1857, and his mother was born in Tennessee. That explains this:
The creek that runs below my window here in Tennessee is named Shoal Creek and it's been around for over four hundred years. According to the geneology charts my great-great-great grandmother lived right down the road from this Shoal Creek before moving to Missouri to farm the land. Maybe she named the creek up there?(and that looks like a bus :-)
Riley and Jessica are hanging out in Puerto Rico and he sent me some pics. I've started a Set and I'll add to them as they roll in over the next few days. Click below to see them.
My new app Jimazon is ready...
I'm goint to start a new routine come this Sunday called the Water Diet. Not because I'm overweight (I ain't) but just that I'm reading good things about it. The reason I'm waiting till Sunday is because I made a new friend yesterday on a used car run from Nashville who invited me to Iron City on Saturday to join him and his friends at the famous Taco Shack for breakfast. After that I need to watch the Titans advance in the playoffs, and then I'll be ready. Also assuming I have a roof as tornado warnings are focusing directly on my little town tomorrow afternoon.
• Drink four glasses of water immediately after waking, before brushing your teeth, and on an empty stomach.
• Do not eat anything for the next 45 minutes.
• After 45 minutes you may eat and drink as normal.
• Do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours after breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Making friends with, and driving cars for, a used car lot whos owner is also my landlord, has great perks. They had a Buick that had been in the family since it was bought new in 2003 by the parents and wanted it to go to someone they knew. That would be me, and I just bought it for Steph for a great price (she will pay me back with payments).
It's a very sweet ride, click below for more shots:
This is a story about computers and cats. Back in 1983 I was living in a house along the Sacramento Delta, right down on the water, with a boat ramp. I had a cool big cat who liked to sit on the edge of the dock where he attracted boaters to swing by and say hello. Sometimes he would walk on board a boat and be gone for days, but they always returned him.
I was writing graphics software at the time for a Silicon Valley startup called Mindset who were creating a slim IBM PC 16 bit clone and the prototype box was this big aluminum chassis thing that sat in my office. One day it stopped working so I called the company and later that afternoon a helicopter landed in the big yard and two techs got out and brought a replacement box into my office. They swapped the hard drive out so I didn't lose my work, took the old box and flew away. Venture capital money at work and you can't make this shit up.
This morning I watched torrential rain blowing sideways at 75mph from the window of the Taco Shack in Iron City while I ate a great breakfast with the owners Randy and Pam before the power went out.
I was supposed to meet some new friends there but I messed up the day (it's tomorrow) so it was just me and the owners. Randy told me the reason Iron City had a bad rap as a dangerous place was because of the Ford plant south of here in Alabama, the iron ore was here, and Alabama was dry. Ford found better iron in Michigan and the rest is history.
His place has a pool table, a stage for live music and great food. Summer time is hopping with kyakers on the creek, a campground and it's 420 friendly. All twenty five minutes from my place and I can see myself sleeping in my truck down here a few times come summer.
I drove home in the middle of a major tornado warning, turned on the news and heard about roofs blowing off and downed trees on the special weather segment happening on channel 2. Ahh, good to be home, and I have power...
I'm going to a doctor tomorrow for surgery. Yea, I don't do doctors but I'm making an exception here to get some skin cancer removed from the top of my head. I could blow it off but then it would seep down into my brain and that would suck.
There are multiple issues up there but they can only tackle one at a time due to insurance bullshit, and I'll have to go back to get the stitches removed, which I find amusing. The skin on my bald head is really thin and stretched tight, how are they going to cut off a section, pull it together, and sew it up? Why not just scalp me, get rid of all of it at once, and then implant a plastic wig with hair? Yea, I'm all for that!
Update: The Mohs surgery went well, now cancer free on that basal cell with another one (a squamous cell) to go next month. He actually pulled the skin on my scalp together and stitched it up, pretty cool. Still bald though...
Five years ago I went to a doctor in Idaho because I had lower back pain really bad. I was driving a bus and could barely walk from the pain. Instead of trying to figure out what was wrong he prescribed some heavy duty pain pills and muscle relaxers, which proceeded to clog my gut up and send me to the hospital. I swore off of pills from that time on.
A year later I dried myself out and the pain went away. I have determined the problem was leaky gut syndrome, excessive alcohol was leaking out of my intestines causing inflammation. I can prove that to myself now by simply drinking.
Last night as I tossed and turned trying to find a way to lay my head to ease the throbbing pain from yesterdays surgery on my head, I thought of the two left over pain pills in my bag of bathroom stuff, and I said to myself hell no. It's been five years since a single pill of any kind has crossed my lips and I'm proud of that fact.
I kinda wish I hadn't taken this photo, it hurts just to look at it, but for the sake of full disclosure, and if you're going to share your life on a blog, what the hell. This is day two...
That squamous cell on the left is due for slicing next month.
Steph recommended liquid Ibuprofen for pain, the Dollar General has it she said. Well, I live a couple of blocks from one of those so I went out and started my truck. Then I just sat there and again told myself hell no and turned it off.
I realize that I don't take any man-made pharmaceuticals at all, period. I've had the flu a few times in the last decade and I just ride it out, none of that liquid cold medicine crap for me. There are just some things this old man doesn't do anymore like eat meat that's been murdered by humans (I did eat some fish the other day, regretted it...) or consume stuff with high-fructose corn syrup in it.
For example, my dinner last night was a half can of organic lentil soup, an avocado, and a sugar free one calorie yogurt with fresh blackberries, for dessert. Slept pretty good, pain is fading. In the meantime my blog tools are approaching a quarter million hits:
And since it's so popular, I turned Place into a stand-alone app.
My cat Piper and I are really close. Last night I knew she was in pain from the arthritis so I said you're getting the medicine and she scrambled out of my office. I loaded up the plastic oral dispenser with liquid from the vet and carried her 18.6 pounds (she loves to stand on my electronic scale and watch it light up) to my desk, and the battle began.
Years ago I taught her to never hurt the daddy. When she would scratch or bite me and draw blood I would stick the wound in her face and let her know this was not acceptable. The guilt in her eyes was apparent, and she learned. She hates the medicine being squirted in her mouth (who wouldn't) and as we wrestled furiously around on my desktop not a single claw or tooth came out. Have I mentioned I really love my cat?
Update: I've decided that's the last time I do that, unless she's really hurting bad. I don't do medicine and Piper is making it clear she doesn't want to either...
I've been putting some long overdue new and updated code into my Place app due to it's popularity. A lot of folks have been landing on this fine piece of code (228,369 as of this moment), so I might as well make it shine.
Fixes and Additions:
• Due to a code-packing issue, my Info Boxes weren't working. They are now.
• Clicking on the Lat/Lng in the upper right corner copies it to your clipboard.
• Quick zoom now works.
• Map attribution is damned slick, nobody has seen this.
• There were three map modes available, now there are twelve, with labels.
• Numerous cosmetic changes...
I am compelled to discuss here my position on the consumption of animals by humans. Fair warning if you choose to click the X. I've been developing a strong position on the sanctity of all life for many years and it's now affecting me directly as I no longer consume meat, period.
This is a moral issue that goes to my core. The animals that we share this planet with have just the same rights to be here as we do. We should not raise them or hunt them, just so we can slice them open, harvest their bodies and eat them, period.
The criteria I use to define an animal is that it has two eyes, a nose and a mouth. A lot of them are good stewards of the earth as they eat the same things we should be eating: grains, fruits and vegetables. Sure, lions eat deer and ravens eat road kill when the land is covered in snow, but they do that to survive. We have a choice.
All I have to do is look deep into my cats eyes as she nuzzles my nose with her's, to know I'm right. I've been to many state fairs and I've seen the same awareness in the eyes of the caged chickens, pigs, and cows. They don't deserve to die at our hands just so we can eat them. That's my old man position and I will carry it until I die. Maybe I could then be ground up and served at McDonald's, I am just another animal after all.
On that note, let's go for a drive...
The earth spins while time drags along on it's tail.
Bright moments turn dark at the flip of a switch.
The search for reasons continue to fail.
Life is a bitch.
My pathetic rambling for the day...
If you would like to see my reverse geocoder code, click here. (253,000 hits to my Place function certainly indicate an interest in this stuff...)
If it walks, hops, swam, crawls, slithered, has eyes, a mom and a dad, don't eat it.
I've created a new map system (actually an enhanced port from OmjMaps) based on the great MapBox platform. Beautiful tiles combined with place clickable geocoding, this thing rocks! It functions inside a window, like Place, and blows out to full screen goodness like below. Click the map to try it and be sure to zoom around, change the style, and click on things. I reverse geocode everything and present them as clickable links lower left.
There are some cool holes in the ancient hillside across the creek from me and come summer I'll wade over and check them out.
I drove over to the jobs center this morning to check out a job listing in the paper about transporting local seniors. As I stood behind the one person in line I glanced down at my hand holding a resume that summarized 25 years of experience driving seniors and the disabled, and it was shaking.
I certainly wasn't nervous, I was over qualified for this position, times ten. It was the elephant in the room. The internal tremors were strong this morning and I was doing a good job of ignoring them as usual, but there it was, visible shaking. I turned around and walked out the door.
Cats and dogs were pounding on my roof last night so I brought up my radar map and there it was, barreling down towards my neighborhood. Big bad red and ugly. I prepped my place for a power outage, which happened within minutes, then I opened my front door, pulled up a chair right to the screen, and watched the show.
Lightning flashes were going off all around me, about one every second. The wind picked up my garbage can and threw it thirty feet. I expected one of the old trees around me to come crashing down any second. And then it was over, so I went to bed in the dark.
This morning I had power but no internet (still don't as I write this). I dug out my old Radio Shack radio and listened to some good old boys talk about the storm that blew through last night with trees down, damage to homes and the roof of the Library took a hit. I took a drive and sure enough, what they said was true, all about 400 yards from my place.
Update: The sun is going down, still no internet, and the radio is telling me that it was a tornado. Check that off my bucket list... Now I'm hunkered down with no phone, tv, email or connection to the world and it makes me realize how much I've come to take all of that for granted. At least I have power, which is really all an old man and his old cat really needs.
Click the photo below for this mornings shots:
Beauty is but skin deep...
You know you want to learn the alphabet backwards, so get on it!
That skin cancer gouge-out on the top of my head is infected so I got two scripts at the pharmacy. I told the doctor I don't do pills but she said I may have no choice, so she gave me a topical cream to try first and some antibiotics. The pills were $27 and the cream was $53! (omfg...) A pill hasn't crossed my lips in five years, god help me.
Update: I think the Mupiripoff is going to work. If I take a road trip, snag a little strange, pick up a dose, maybe I can use the pills then...
In the meantime, coding is keeping me sane, sort of. I've added live traffic to all of my map systems, pretty amazing.
My life has improved dramatically since I moved from Idaho here to Tennessee a year and a half ago. It used to take me almost an hour to walk to the liquor store in Idaho...
...and now I can do it seven minutes!
It's funny what grabs your eye sometimes, in this case it was the wall of my little house reflecting sunlight that looks like white paint on the trim of my front door.
I find joy in the little things these days as my sarcasm drips, my logical brain expands, and the wound on my head slowly heals.
I'm having fun with code in my new Directions app. I've added an Auto Advance feature that will move from waypoint to waypoint automatically and then wrap around from point B to point A. You can just click the button and watch the route unfold. Flip it into Satellite view, set a cool Pitch and Bearing and you can fly across the country visually for as long as you like.
I considered an adjustable timer so the user could determine how long the app pauses at each waypoint for reading, but I scraped that and wrote a timer that counts the words in the text and apples a constant to it. The number I came up with that matches a normal reading speed was 420 milliseconds per word. So, a waypoint with a longer description will allow you more time to read it. Did I mention I was having fun?
There comes a time when a project has evolved to a high enough state, that it needs it's own platform. I've been working hard on the directions code that has been sitting in my tools directory as an app and it finally shouted out Get me my own domain!, so I did.
Coming up with a name wasn't hard, I've already created omjmaps.com and the OMJ (OldManJim) prefix is becoming my trademark so I logically acquired omjroute.com as the new website. I'll leave the app sitting in tools alone and continue development on this one.
The latest version is pretty slick, click anywhere on the map to acquire data about the location and chose when and where you want to create an A/B route right from the infobox.
What a wild technical ride I just went on. I've created a new Player which launches from OMJRoute (Tools/Perma) and creates a stand alone page with a Leaflet map showing what the route looks like in a simplified manner. Click the icon in the middle to launch the main program and play the route. The player is stripped down to the bare minimum to load as quick as possible and the map system (Leaflet) has the smallest footprint in the map world.
The goal was to be able to run everything in a window inside the blog as you see below, but browser security was getting in the way. The solution was to buy a server security certificate for OMJRoute (https vs http) like I have for OldManJim and OMJMaps. Bottom line, it cost me money to do what I do, so I hope you enjoy!
To break out of the blog and run it full page (like on your phone) click the route key number in the top right corner :-)
I had the most profound dream last night. I was walking out of a large city towards skid row when I came upon an old black man struggling to pull a piece of plywood over a small arched bridge. I grabbed one edge and helped him carry it, glancing down at my arms and realized I too was black. There was a wild eyed crazed white guy on the other side pointing a large revolver at us, urging us to move on.
We came upon a mass of rundown apartments that we had to navigate to reach our destination. Behind us a throng of people several hundred strong had joined us as we walked through filthy kitchens and bedrooms, twisting and turning from one to the next. At one point we walked through a nursery with toddlers watching us in awe.
We finally burst through the last door to find a beautiful beach and sparkling ocean where we all threw off our clothes, ran joyfully into the water and bathed the grime of the inner city from our bodies.
Good morning America from southern Tennessee, I need to grab my coffee and get on with my code...
Over the many years writing map code I've devised a variety of ways to achieve this, most of them convoluted, involving PHP modules and MySQL databases.
My new app OMJRoute has now achieved a wonderful level of simplicity. The program reads a basic CSV (Comma Separated Value) file using some sweet JQuery asynchronous code, converts it to an Object, then into a GeoJson entity, and then places it on the map as a Layer.
The file format is simple and efficient: Longitude,Latitude,Name. For example, here's three Walmart stores with store number as the Name:
The file contains 4,339 entries for the US and is 113 KB in size, so it loads really quick.
You still with me? This allows me to create some cool layers on top of my Route Map showing things like Rest Areas and Flying J/Pilot fuel stations. The points are clustered so the further you zoom in, the more are displayed.
My ultimate goal is to apply the Places only to the Route. If it ain't along the way, you ain't gona see it, because it doesn't matter. I create this stuff to help me travel, and hopefully others...
My dear nephew Brian. My friend. So good to hear from you, it's been months since we last connected.
The Nashville tornados missed me but the one a month before went right over my little house while I sat at the screen door and watched.
Sorry to hear about Dave's broken foot from the snow machine but it's not like the guy has never had nothing broken before, sheesh... and I relate to quality time with your cat, it's the only thing that keeps me sane.
As to that ex-girlfriend, well, you don't need to pour booze on your hand, just drink it when necessary.
How am I? I realized today that this will be one of those periods in life that I will look back on someday and wish that I could recapture, because it's going downhill rapidly. Not that I'm feeling sorry for myself, just pissed that it's all finally catching up with me.
So what to do? I drank a lot of Corona back in my mexican beach bum days so I'm immune to that shit, so I should travel while everyone else is hunkering down like spineless bastards. It's not like this stuff knocks you down and makes blood spurt out of every orifice until you die a horrible death within minutes. Again, sheesh...
I will be heading your way at some point shortly in my trusty truck looking for new hot springs to conquer and smoke to soak in. We should hook up.
Your Uncle Jim.
Well here it is Friday the 13th, I see the writing on the wall, and it is profane. Big events are shutting down everywhere, people aren't traveling and the economy is crashing. What everyone seems to be missing is what happens when the people that work in the grocery stores, the Walmarts, the Amazon fulfillment centers say screw this and stay home? What happens when truck drivers stop driving? What happens when the police stay away? Just sayin...
Phrases like Boomer Remover are sweeping the net but my favorite is: Does the unlimited drink package extend into the quarantine period? I don't think so...
Saturday morning numbers: Thank god, some good news. The experts are predicting that only 1.7 million people in the U.S. will die. Cool, and we only have 925,000 hospital beds in this country with only 1/10th available for the critically ill. I actually have more numbers but I'll just stop here.
The battle of Shiloh was fought on April 6, 1862 seventy miles from where I live now with 23,746 casualties. I woke up this morning still glad to be here. I'm not afraid to die and I will not hunker down and hide, nor will I fight my fellow man over a roll of asswipe.
Alright, here's the deal, the stupid world is shutting down around me. As I prepare to launch a road trip in my little truck the bars in Nashville are being forced to close after going through major tornados. Are you kidding me?
Man, I picked a hell of a time to plan a road trip :-) My truck is packed, primed and ready to roll. Steph agreed to set up residence in my little house to watch my cat, and I have plenty of TP and supplies here. Then I wake up, turn on the TV and hear that states are going to be putting up roadblocks at their state lines to take temperatures before allowing people to enter. What a logistical nightmare that's going to be.
To top it off all the talking heads on TV are saying if your over 65, keep your ass home. In other words, guys like me trying to drive across the country are going to be perceived as the enemy. Damn it all to hell.
Actually, to really top it off, my cat Piper gave me a shiner this morning. We have a cuddle position on my bed where she likes to plop her big old belly down on my hand. It's very endearing, until the arthritis in her back acts up and she jumps straight up in the air and one of her claws caught me in the eye. It's good that my eyes were closed or I might have lost one. As it is I have a puncture wound in my lower lid and the area is starting to turn black.
Afternoon update: Sorry governors, but I need to drive. You can chastise and harass me for doing so but I'm one of the most legal people I know. I'm a U.S. citizen with roots in this country going back to it's founding. I have no warrants, I've passed an FBI fingerprint background check, I had my ID run through the entry gate at Camp Pendleton, and I have a commercial drivers license and a passport. If the only thing you can get me on is driving while over seventy during a pandemic with a black eye from my cat, then have it.
Evening update: After dwelling on this a lot I have decided to get off my high horse, settle down, and stay put. The world doesn't need an old man running around in an old truck looking like a zombie with his blackened eye possibly spreading shit from one state to the next. If we all make it to summer, I'll travel then. Over and out...
Something is in the air, and it smells like martial law. My dermatologist wasn't too concerned as he sewed up my head again after slicing off the last bit of cancer today. I guess he's too busy to notice the writing on the TV networks wall.
I'm sitting here in my little house at the end of a dead-end street in a small southern Tennessee town and I feel the vibration rippling across the country. I'm sensitive to vibrations in things and people, a physic ability I don't talk about much, but now I feel it on a bigger scale. The States are freaking out and I think dramatic notices are close to being announced. Riley just clued me into a rumor about Washington State but I'd already felt the vibe. Be ready folks.
I'm stocked up, guns loaded, truck is ready as I just canceled a road trip, and I still have power and internet, so I'm sending this post out. Hopefully it won't be my last for a while.
I just threw one of my pretentious, better then thou, bullshit positions out the window this morning. I used to love to say I haven't taken a pill of any kind for many years because it's been true and it somehow made me feel superior to all of the other sad pill-popping fools in the world.
The top of my poor bald head was throbbing when I woke up this morning. I was recovering from the Basal Cell removal surgery a couple of months back, that still hurts like hell, when I went in yesterday and had a Squamous Cell removed. So, I found those three heavy duty pain pills that I've been holding on to for years, and took one. I could have taken two or I could have just knocked myself on my ass and taken all three, but I just took one.
How do I feel? It worked, the pain is still there, but dulled to a manageable throb. Hopefully the destruction of one of my prized moral positions does not lead to the demise of others.
I drove to Huntsville, Alabama today and discovered a horrific scene. All the people there just carried dead bodies around to be buried. At every corner they dug deep pits and those who were poor who died during the night were bundled up quickly and thrown into the pits. In the morning they took dirt and shovelled it over them, and later others were placed on top of them and then another layer of dirt, just like making lasagne with layers of pasta and cheese. There were some pits that were barely covered and dogs dragged the bodies out and ate them.
It was just like the bubonic plague of 1346 where 60% of the people in Europe died. Thank god I live in Tennessee.
California in lockdown. Where do all the homeless go when told to stay home?
No toilet paper, I knew I should have bought that bidet stock. Oh, wait...
What happens when the folks that maintain your Internet and TV can't make it to work? The bit-rate sucked on my Spectrum TV service last night.
Meanwhile, dozens of military vehicles have been carrying virus victims across Italy with morgues too full to hold corpses.
The digital TV world we live in interviews a lot of people. The interviewer introduces a person and then asks for their opinion about a subject. I pay attention to the very first word out of a persons mouth for some reason and I find it fascinating actually. In most cases we've never heard this person speak and it's their opportunity to grab our attention and make their point. It's their thirty seconds of fame you might say.
The most common word these days? The conjunctive adverb so. Sometimes they will add a comma and you get a drawn out so..... which allows them to make sure the next words out of their mouth make sense. Sometimes no comma and they drop right down into the subject. Either way, it's fascinating and I urge you to pay attention to this. It is the word of our times.
Steph had the AWD disabled light come on in her 03' Rendezvous. I told her to inspect connectors C305 and C305B at the body pass through for corrosion and if they look good suspect the differential clutch pump actuator check valve. It's under the vehicle in the area behind the driver's seat and is known for getting water on it and causing issues. She said WTF?
What's wrong with women these days, can't handle a simple fix?
To be, or not to be, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the minds of men to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
or to take arms against a sea of oppresion and by opposing, end them.
I have developed a new layer for my OmjRoute application. It's pretty damned complicated and cool if I do say so. I wrote it to distract me from the collapse of our world around us and my subsequent depression.
I created an SQL query against Data-World's COVID-19 daily extraction which represents the current state of the virus as of 9:00am EST every day. I massaged it into a JSON entity which feeds my map application on demand. It contains the number of occurrences and deaths for each State, which are overlayed on the map.
Here's the Link.
Update: They changed the data up on me, back on track now...
Some CEO's of major companies obviously had prior notice to a possible pandemic and resigned from their positions and liquidated their holdings in their own companies at a time of record profits and a bright outlook for the economy. Here's a partial list:
• Alphabet - Larry Page • Bed, Bath & Beyond - Steven Temares • Best Buy - Hubert Joly • Boeing - Dennis Muilenburg • Colgate-Palmolive - Ian Cook • Disney - Bob Iger • eBay - Devin Wenig • Gap - Art Peck • Harley-Davidson - Matt Levatich • Hewlet Packard - Dion Weisler • Hulu - Randy Freer • IBM - Ginni Rometty • Kraft Heinz - Bernardo Hees • LinkedIn - Jeff Weiner • Mastercard - Ajay Banga • McDonalds - Steve Easterbrook • MetLife - Steven Kandarian • New York Post - Jesse Angelo • Nike - Mark Parker • PG&E - Geisha Williams • Salesforce - Keith Block • T-Mobile - John Legere • Under Armour - Kevin Plank • United Airlines - Oscar Munoz • Warner Bros. - Kevin Tsujihara • Wells Fargo - Tim Sloan
All of these corporate assholes bailed just before the world found out about Covid-19.
I can't determine if I'm depressed and drinking more because my Parkinsons is getting worse or my Parkinsons is getting worse because I'm depressed and drinking more. For being such a smart guy, I sure am a dumb ass. I can't even get any respect around the house as Piper has taken over my chair (again!) and I'm sitting here on a portable folding chair with an arm rest cup holder. Meanwhile, working on a U.S. County based Covid-19 map, stay tuned...
The new Covid-19 by County layer is ready for viewing. It uses the same display structure as the one by State but has a completely different source (usafacts.org). Drag the map around to an area of interest and zoom in. If a County has any cases, the info will be displayed, otherwise not. Zooming in exposes new counties.
Here's the Link. I focused it initially around Washington State, because. When you drag and zoom the map a permalink url is automatic, so just save the link.
Kimberly Marsh, a nurse at Westchester Medical Center outside New York City, said "We all think were screwed, I know without any doubt that Im going to lose colleagues. Theres just no way around it."
Tip: Click above to open the map, click on any county name for more...
Five letter domains are pretty rare these days, most have been grabbed up by corporate robots, but I now own one which maintains the OMJ brand I've been building up. It's an empty shell with no direction or purpose. A layer upon which I can build.
Since my plans to travel after the fifteen day Trump order was up have been shattered into the ground by, everything, I might as well face reality and just hunker down and do what I do best, write code.
http://omjim.com/ is now my blank canvas. I'll probably spring the extra bucks shortly to make it secure (https), and then go to work. As I love to say, stay tuned...
Tomorrow is April Fools day, again, and Google is canceling it's normal bullshit nonsense due to the Virus. The day has always had a secret meaning to me as it was Linda's birthday. She was my girlfriend just as my hormones were beginning to rage and I made the mistake of squeezing her little buds while we were kissing. That was a joke as she dumped me immediately and I was traumatized for years.
So, no April Fools joke for me this year, and happy birthday Linda, wherever you are...
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...
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.
Looks like Central Tennessee is a hot spot...
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.
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...
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.
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'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.
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!
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...
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.
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!
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...
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:
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!
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 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.
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.)
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...
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
One nice thing about road trips is you get to press "refresh" on everything in your head. I've had something bugging me for some time now, and that is the responsiveness of the code I'm creating. That's a phrase all web developers have known for a long time and most have developed their own standards for dealing with it. It simply means, make it look as good on a phone as it looks on your personal hi-res monitor in a freaking state-of-the-art browser.
I don't own a cellphone and as such I never run my code on one, but I do have tools to emulate how it looks on one. I try my best to support the phone but sometimes I get lazy and say screw it, let them run it on a real computer, and that's a cop out.
Today, back at my office after a disappointing road trip (nothings open but gas stations, fast food and sometimes a rest area), I tackled my most recent app: OMJzp and made it responsive. I think it turned out great and I urge my phone owning friends to try it out.
Melissa also gave me some great feedback on OMJim and I think I improved that also. Now I'll dive into some older stuff and see what I can do.
Suicide is the worst way to go and I would never consider it because I strongly believe there's a really bad place on the other side for those that take their own life. Then I read this morning that a Hillary / Michelle O ticket is being considered to replace Joe, and it gives me pause...
On that bright note, I have a new app! It's called OMJcp, where cp stands for City Playground. It's just like my Zip Code app, without the Zip, which means there aren't multiple Cities, which means more fun. It's phone friendly and ready to explore. Open her up and click on the question mark for instructions, if you like. It even supports permalinks, for example, here's all the cities in the U.S. with the word summer in them.
Our storm Saturday night packed a nice little 70+ mph punch and broke a few trees. It came out of the north and made me scramble to shut the house down and secure the cat and the garbage can. A popular fire-fighter was killed up in Spring Hill when a tree hit his house, but mine seem to be pretty strong.
I've been working all day on a new concept: a way to overlay Counties, Zipcodes and Cities within a State all together on a map such that the result is attractive and meaningful. I first process the Counties giving them random hues of Red, then the Zipcodes with random hues of Green and finally the Cities with random hues of Blue.
The result is fascinating. Here's California and you can feel the unincorporated open County space in Red, the areas in the state where Zipcodes are relevant in Green and the dense population of the Cities in Blue.
It's coming together as an app where you can zoom in and everything is hoverable and clickable. I will certainly share it when ready. The other States are equally fascinating!
I'm having a good time with my new prototype and thought I'd share it with my readers in it's current state. You can run it here: click on a State, and see what you get. You can also go straight to the Oregon map by clicking on it below. It's a work in progress but I can see the I-5 corridor and Portland pretty clearly, plus all the open space in red.
Seattle looks like a stuffed pig in my latest grab from the new app. The multi-colored things around it are Cities, drawn by their boundaries without regard to land or water. I lived and worked that area for twenty years...
Introducing my latest website: OMJst.com. Again, in keeping with the OMJ brand, another succinct five letter domain and in case you hadn't noticed, I'm having way too much fun with this.
Please try it out and make some cool art!
My new app allows me to take an area like New York, isolate the cities, randomize the colors, turn off the state outlines, make the actual underlying map go away, and create this:
Confusion wanders in, chaos and turmoil prevail, but strangely we settle down, resigned to the sinking ship on which we sail. (It's All Over, A Century Ends, David Gray, April 1993)
And if you think I just grabbed this profound thought off the internet and mindlessly reposted it, think not. I'm a huge David Gray fan and I culled this from the second phrase of the last song on that album. Please god, never let me post a non-original entity again...
Here's the video clip.
Sometimes signs come in the most unusual way. I've been busy all afternoon planning an upcoming epic road trip out west, sending texts, trying to feel out where the most interest in my company might reside.
All of a sudden, opportunity came knocking, in the form of a knock on my door. It was Ricky, the owner of the local tubing company that transports creek tubers down to my dead-end street, get's them in the water for a two hour cruise and then picks them up later. I met the girl bus driver last summer when I helped her turn the bus around down by the creek. Combine that with the fact that my landlord Steve told his friend Ricky that I was a good guy, and I now have a job for the summer driving the bus.
How about that. No road trip for me, and with everything going down out there, probably a good thing. I think in their magical mystery way, my people on the other side just gave me a sign.
What an interesting day. Very glad I'm alive and my brain is still working just fine, thank you. I decided to dive into a mobile template today and I needed a subject so I chose my upcoming employer.
They have a Facebook page and no website. I took it upon myself to grab a cool domain for them and construct the template within it. I used a few images from their Facebook page, extracted the relevant content and had a functional attractive website up in about ten hours.
So what now? I know they get most of their business from their Facebook page, so how would having a website and a cool domain like ( cstubing.com ) help them promote their product this year?
They actually don't even know it exists yet. I figure I better get on the payroll first, check out their cool little bus, and maybe then say: oh, by the way, I created you a website...
I really like my new mobile template and it would be perfect for any web presence. It has a one page structure which means as you scroll to the end, you have viewed the site. The menu below the header image drops you right down to it's content and a scroll button appears on the lower right to take you right back to top.
It's responsive in that if viewed on a computer, laptop, or tablet it will make use of the space and float the aside content to the right as a second column, while a phone will simply present everything sequentially.
This is a holy grail for me as I've been lazy in the past and not supported mobile as I should. Alright, slap me upside the face and we can move on now.
Here's my New App. Drop by and check it out if you like.
OMG, OldManJim bought a phone. Sheesh, what next, eat a steak? It all started when I casually searched online for the best Android phone and the Samsung S20+ kept hitting the top spot. I'm a Spectrum customer and they offer an unlimited plan for $45 so I called them and talked to a sweety from South Carolina named Jasmine. (hope I got her name right because I gave her my website link :-)
I was going to pick up an unlocked model from Amazon but she talked me into the Spectrum monthly bundle and my new S20+ 5G black should arrive in a few days. Why now after years without a phone? I'm starting a new job tomorrow that pretty much requires one and the extra money coming in will pay for the phone. Now excuse me while I run to the store and buy that steak. (ok, maybe not...)
I started my new job today. It was a great opening day, at least fifty happy tubers throughout the day enjoyed a stress free two hour cruise down Shoal Creek with driving services from the top to the bottom provided by me. I've had a lot of different driving jobs over the many years and this one is sweet, and unique.
Ricky is my new boss at Crockett Shoals Tubing and I grabbed this shot today to put on the website. I hope he likes it as much as I love my new gig. It's a good physical job getting people in and out of the water, handling the heavy tailgate of the tube trailer, combined with the pleasure of driving fun people along the back roads of downtown Lawrenceburg, TN.
I connected my new Samsung S20+ to my Yamaha YAS-207BL Soundbar with Bluetooth and cast the phone's screen on to my 65" 4K TCL TV.
Pretty sick for a 73 year old great-grandfather living in Tennessee.
My truck has been having electrical issues lately and I just figured that my old Interstate battery was on it's last legs. She wouldn't start this morning so my neighbor hooked his rig up for a jump start, and nothing happened, dead. We then jiggled the battery and she came back to life.
Then I drove to O'Reillys for a new battery. As the store guy Kenneth was installing it he went Oh shit, do you see that? Hmmm, not something you really want to hear about your old truck, but I'm really glad he spotted it. The ground wire was broken and hanging by a single wire at the chassis. Electrical issues solved! He snipped the wire, put a new clamp on and then ran a ground from the clamp to the old ground spot.
This guy went above and beyond the call of duty for a battery sale and I have myself a new parts store.
OldManJim is out having fun by the creek this summer, doing what I do well, driving people around. Ricky and I started the morning out cruising through the David Crocket Park campground, smiling and waving at the folks as they woke up and making sure everyone saw our old yellow bus towing a tube trailer with the company logo on the side. I felt like the ice cream truck just without the music.
The day went well, lots of happy tubers and our ability to arrive at the pickup spot within minutes of the end of their two hour float was spot on.
I'm also having great fun with my new phone and new Facebook page, reconnecting with old friends and making plans for some late summer visits out West.
We had a hundred floaters today. That's a lot of runs up and down Shoal Creek with tubes piled high in a trailer on the back of an old twelve passenger school bus. Everyone had fun and now we rock into Memorial Day tomorrow. Nobody wore a mask, nobody coughed and not one person let the word covid enter our space.
My start time with the new job is 0945, bankers hours. From 1000 to 1400 today we handled 145 tubers, from grandmas to three year olds. I truly haven't worked this hard in years. Every time I made it back to base after dropping an over-capacity load of 14-15 people at the start point, another group were ready to go. After a couple of hours I had to start working pickups in to get everyone back. The company is only on it's second year but this was a record. Happy covid Memorial Day!
Part of the drill is to tell everyone to look for our flags in a tree by the disk golf course. That's where they stop, get out, and wait for me to pick them up. Only a few floated by today. Here's the spot:
Today was laundry day and when I strip my bed down, Piper swoops in. I give up trying to make it right away, she owns it.
Took this shot of my little place from the comfort of my easy chair after a day driving tubers along the creek in the little yellow bus. My life is simple and I like it that way.
We had folks drive from two hours away yesterday just to float our creek in tubes. A lot of them actually, my old body is sore but I'm getting back in shape.
Not one of them threw a brick.
Here's my new routine: I bust my ass Friday through Monday driving a bus, (again!). I wake up and get my coffee on at 0300, let Piper out, do my computer thing until 0430, put Pipers fresh food down, let her back in and carry her from the door to her food (she loves the routine), eat my oatmeal at 0600, nap for an hour at 0700, eat my eggs and blender fruit smoothie at 0800, shower at 0900, arrive at work at 0945, drive non-stop with no break and no food (my choice), arrive back home around 1730, let Piper out, eat dinner, watch Netflix, Piper back in, bed by 2030.
So much for retirement :-)
Many years ago I had the honor to hang out with my son Riley and my grandson Chris in my place down on Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA. As the years evolved I still maintain a loving relationship with my boy, but somehow I have lost it with Chris. Maybe someday we will reconnect...
Here Chris is all grown up with a child of his own.
I stepped outside this afternoon and found Piper flat on her back in the clover. It's a dead-end street with very little traffic, I havn't seen any dogs around for days, and she just feels comfortable here.
I finally got my butt out of lazy mode today. I've been eating oatmeal for breakfast for months now and I've missed my vegetables so I made some up. I run red beets with the stalks and leaves, red cabbage, kale and garlic through my food processor and freeze them in baggies. Every night I bring one down before I go to bed and cook it for breakfast like oatmeal.
Then I made a raw vegetable smoothie from the leftovers.
As I was planning out a westward road trip recently, having the title Staff never crossed my mind, much less driving a bus and getting a lot of exercise. Yet here I am and I must say the transition has been very positive. I've started working out again, eating insanely healthy and envisioning the abs I had before I went on that decadent cruise last year. My goal now is to have a rock-hard body when I turn 74 in July, and some extra cash in the bank for a road trip late August.
The tubing business is booming! Yesterday we launched over 200 folks down Shoal Creek (a company record) with just a basic crew. I drove non-stop and my young helper Jacob and I handled every tube. The bosses were shocked and some much needed support people showed up today.
There was one group in particular today that stressed the limits of my little bus and trailer. I decided to take their picture with my new phone, standing by the passenger door up on the hill. To my surprise they spotted me, and posed! How cool is that?
I am a camera snob and I've always snickered at people taking pictures with their cell phones. I have a beautiful Sony camera rig that has taken some great shots but carrying it with me out on the job is inappropriate. Now I have this new Samsung s20+ and I have to admit, it's pretty damned good, and interesting.
I've played with the various modes but I'm settling in on 4/3. It matches up with my blog and everything I do. Here's some shots I took today down at our pickup spot:
Yep, that's my finger :-)
I've been creating a flyer for my employer this morning and just got an IM from Melissa with a shot of this weeks front page of our local newspaper.
When I tell people where to get out after a float I tell them to look for the rocky beach and our flags up in a tree. Sometimes the people in the back are so engaged in their own loud conversation that they don't hear me.
In which case they end up floating right on by into the dark hole of Shoal Creek and like that Kingston Trio song M.T.A. they never return...
My down home born and raised Tennessee neighbor Daniel was explaining to me what a Cracker was. It was a white slave owner who cracked the whip over his slaves. Wow, I'd heard the phrase before but never knew the origin. I was called a Honky a lot back in my Oakland, CA days but I still don't know what that means.
I have also determined that I can completely remove the EGR valve from my Weber carb converted truck engine, slap a plate over the hole, and complete the total removal of all evil emission controls. I think this makes me a Whacker.
The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve recirculates a portion of your exhaust back into the combustion process. How sick is that?
I installed an app called Walk to my phone today and then took a short stroll down along the creek to check it out.
I love this thing!
My boss Ricky dropped by the house last night to tell me about the new route, starting today. The drop spot is still a little unclear, I need to check it out, but the pickup spot looks workable.
From the base (red dot) I'll hang a right out onto the highway, take another right past the water tank and swing around towards the creek. If I'm on a drop run I'll inform my tubers that this is the spot to get out at, continue on to the highway, take a left and on to the drop. Otherwise I'll enter the little round-about, load them up, proceed around the loop, hang a left, back to the highway and on to base.
Update: Ricky read this and added: You can also point out the alley way up to the store by our base in case they would like to walk back with the tubes if you get busy and take longer than they want to wait. Or you can tell them they are welcome to play in the creek till you get back to pick them up.
The new drop spot works well:
Here's the pickup spot:
Here's our flags at the pickup spot along with my new landmark, the stack of trees:
I added a line of code to my Place app today and then killed it. It reads: This app has had 624,023 hits and not one person has sent a thanks or dropped a dime in my PayPal, so I'm shutting it down. Have a nice day.
I also hauled a bunch of falling down drunks off the creek last night at 1815 after eating a beany weany from my truck for dinner. I also killed my Facebook this morning. Hello world...
Update: I'm also considering not renewing my top-level domain which is the mother from which all of my apps exist. It costs around $150 a year to keep it going and I have countless domains and code projects flowing from it, which cost $15 each. Letting it die would negate all of the code I have written for the last fifteen years. I have to look myself in my minds eye and ask myself what fucking difference would it make.
Excuse me while I do that...
Ok. Nothing... I never get feedback from anything. I have no idea how people out there are using my stuff, and without feedback, it's empty.
Killing the top-level domain would bring both busdriverjim.com and oldmanjim.com to a screeching halt, along with every app I've ever written. My presence on the internet would cease to exist.
Anyone reading this right now specifically came here to my blog, as there is no Facebook click bait to get you here otherwise, so I ask you: Stay or Die?
I helped a young family member get a job the other day, questioned his integrity to the parents, and now I'm on their shitlist. Pulled the job offer...
My cat Piper is missing. She went out last night and she's always ready to come in when I get up but she wasn't there this morning, or all day. It's now evening, it's raining and she hates rain, but she still ain't home. She is my partner, I would be heartbroken to lose her.
Things are pretty fucked up at the moment.
There was actually a fine moment down on the creek today. We had a father and son hit the creek right at the end of our 1500 deadline. Stormy afternoon, they probably shouldn't have gone in, but what the hell. I'm down at the pickup spot anxious to get these boys home and it's raining hard. I did something I never do and walked down the creek toward the highway bridge and there they were, struggling but having fun. I called out and they made their way to the bank where a couple of rocks offered an exit from the creek. The good old boy tossed the tubes to me and I extended my hand to both of them as they exited the creek with gratitude.
They didn't know me, and when I put my arm out to pull them up a precarious embankment, it was a moment of blind trust in your fellow man to make it happen. I pulled both up strongly, with smiles on their faces.
Update: Piper is home!
In 1965 I was nineteen and living in a rundown little dive in Chico, CA with my best friend, Crazy Louie. We dumpster dived at night to furnish it and it's where I learned the pleasures of tomato sandwiches. One day we decided to hitch-hike to Mexico so we packed up a couple suitcases and headed south out of town with about $40 bucks between us.
In Tijuana we hit the bars and started drinking. When we ran out of money we sold our American made clothes from our suitcases to Mexicans on the street for pesos. In one bar we met an American who offered to drive us to Ensenada, so as the sun was rising, we took off. Along the way we picked up some Mexican hitch-hikers and we're all getting drunker on a bottle of something the stranger had in his car.
When we got to Ensenada, Louie was passed out and the stranger suggested he and I walk in opposite directions around the town square looking for the best bar, and meet on the other side. We took off and he never showed. I continued around the block and the stranger, the car, Louie and our suitcases, were gone. I was alone, broke, drunk and stranded in Ensenada, Mexico.
To be continued...
I should first say a few things about Louie. He was affable, not very bright, socially inept and everybody loved him. I was the troubled anti-social track star outcast. Somehow we had a chemistry together and were best friends. I was devastated and worried about him as I stood on that hot Mexican sidewalk. He really didn't have the street savvy to be down here on his own, much less in the hands of a guy who had just kidnapped him.
I wandered around town all afternoon looking for them and finally realized they were long gone. I spent the next two days hitching out of Mexico and landed in downtown Long Beach, CA, my birthplace and the spot were my other good friend Rick was stationed on a Navy ship. He told me once that he could have guests on board and we could eat a meal there. I hadn't eaten or slept for three days so I was trying to make it to Ricks ship.
I came across a park, laid down on the grass and slept for a while. When I woke up the logical thing to do was continue on down the street to the Navy base, but I didn't and this is where the magic of fate, or whatever you want to call it, happened. I got up and walked into the middle of the park, and there sitting on a bench was Louie with his head in his hands, both of our suitcases, and an old man with a long beard was standing in front of him with his head bowed.
Louie looked up at me and we ran together and embraced. As we separated the old man was gone and I asked Louie who that was and he said the guy had just come up and asked if he was alright and Louie said, no, that he was lost, and the old man said "Lets pray together". That's what they were doing when I walked up, I swear to God.
Never did make it to Ricks ship. We immediately hit the highway and hitched our way home. I asked him what happened and all he was really willing to say about it was that the guy dropped him off on a beach somewhere in Southern CA. and that he had been walking and sleeping in phone booths those last few days. The only conclusion I was able to come up with was that he was probably raped.
I have a very strong belief in God, he spoke to me once and gave me some power that transformed my life at the time, and I pray to him every morning before I get up. This belief does not fit in with any organized religion, it's personal. But that day in the park changed Louie's life forever. He became a devout Christian which ultimately gave him the faith to recover from a devastating fall from a roof which put him in a body cast and paralyzed him. Shortly after they removed the cast in an Oroville hospital Louie got up and we hitched over to Chico and attended a party were he danced his ass off.
I ultimately moved away and we lost touch but if you're still out there old friend, God bless you and I'll see you on the other side.
Some Steely Dan, an afternoon cocktail, the bongos and some moves.
I spotted something bright and orange down by the creek today from my office window. Just a flower...
My helper Jacob and I walked down under the bridge today looking for a group of tubers and came upon one of the many cool places along Shoal Creek.
These cliffs tower over our pickup spot on Shoal Creek and I don't think the photo does justice to how tall they really are. Come float with us and I'll show you.
Before Steph and I headed to Idaho fifteen years ago, I managed the Water Taxi bus service around Alki Beach in Seattle for King County Metro under contract to Hopelink. It was the coolest damned bus system in the world where the Water Taxi would shuttle people over to Alki on these sweet little ferries, then we picked them up at the pier and drove them to Alki beach and around, and then back to the pier for a return to Seattle.
Some days when a driver called off I had the pleasure of driving one of the routes. As I shuttle tubers around now on a little creek in southern Tennessee, memories of those days come rushing back.
Original photo: Here
This is how the Water Taxi looks now, same service, bigger boat:
Jacob and I went upstream this afternoon looking for our last tubers, a couple from Nashville with a cooler float. We were also on the lookout for the homeless midget who was rumored to be living under the bridge. I've seen him several times lately and I always wave to him but he never responds. A bare shirted man of short stature is not someone you encounter normally and I would love to hear his story.
I have decided to be socially correct when I go to the grocery store and my new mask arrives tomorrow from Amazon. I'll slap my hat and shades over this beauty and should look pretty dapper.
The dopamine neurons in my substantia nigra are quickly fading away, the internal vibrations are bouncing off my old skin like a caged angry ethiopian fruit bat and I've been thrown under the bus, again. But at least I have a mask!
Took a drive south on the Natchez Trace Parkway this morning into Waterloo, AL (never been there before) and snapped a shot of a little body of water, and then created a sketch from it when I got home.
I asked Crissinda to grab a shot of our parking lot from up on the hill at the height of our busy day today. She did good:
Sandy was loud, sometimes abrasive, strongly opinionated and had a heart of gold. She adopted her sister Wendys two drug born grand-babies and gave them a home they so desperately needed. When she and Jimmy left our place in Idaho after a visit two years ago she said to me well, I guess I won't see you again. She thought I was heading South while Steph was heading East. Turned out I went East and if she had just lived long enough to get out here, I would have.
I feel very sad, she died way too young and I can't imagine what will happen to her family as she was the rock. I also don't think Steph should try to get back there for the funeral, after all, Sandy always gave Steph her frequent flier miles just to go visit...
So, I am going to attempt a virtual funeral attendance for the both of us. I have all the tools: camera, microphone, software, all I need is someone back there to handle a phone or a camera so we can attend.
Here's Sandy (in the shades) with Steph and I and her daughter Monica up at Grand Targhee a while back.
Some more shots:
Just thinking about Sandy and how quickly we can leave this place. I'll post photos as they pop up in my extensive colection. Any doubt who the leader of this family was?
This was one of my workhorse vehicles over twelve years of driving at the base of the Grand Tetons in Idaho.
What a weird, sad, cosmic day it's been. We had a steady flow of interesting tubers today and as I was loading up one group down on the creek I got a call from my son Riley. First off, he never calls during a work week at 1600 and I could tell by the timbre of his voice I wasn't going to like what he had to say.
Turns out the mother of his childhood best friend, Shelia, also a friend of mine, had died from a heart attack. What the hell? Two friends in a few days!
Shortly after, I was standing on the old bridge watching our last group of the day approach and I told Jacob I wanted to walk down and meet the homeless person living under the highway bridge as the group floated by. He declined to go so I walked down alone.
Her name was Kayla, with a sweet smile, and we became instant cosmic friends. She described herself as broke and homeless and I thought back to a time when I was also. I reached into my pocket for the two $10s I got today as tips and slipped them into her palm as the group floated by. We agreed to talk more next week.
When I got home the check I've been waiting for had arrived from the gas royaltiy company. I had no idea what to expect from the class-action lawsuit but I was hoping for thousands and it turned out to be $66 bucks and change.
Hey, no complaints, at least I ain't living under a bridge...
You just can't get a good fish sandwich in this town so I went to the store, bought the fixins and made my own.
Ate both of them.
Had a fun group of teachers from Alabama ride with us today. These kids know how to party! They even went around twice, tubes tied, beverages held, working off steam.
I need to delete the EGR valve on my truck. It is the last remanent of an insidious emissions control system imposed upon that vehicle. I've been running a Weber carb and a header for years now and that stupid damned EGR valve is still pushing exhaust back into the combustion process.
To delete means to remove it but I have to replace the hole it leaves with a solid plate. The local machine shop wanted $250 just to create a cad drawing from a gasket and who knows how much to cut it. So, I called my boy Riley, master auto body guy, and he said he could make one.
I purchased a gasket from Amazon, mailed it to him, and he just finished it. We're calling it my birthday present. Here's the EGR valve:
Here's the setup for the cut:
Here's the piece:
Love you son.
Torrential rain and fireworks came sweeping into town this morning and I knew the beep on my phone meant the tubing day was canceled. Quite frankly, thank god. My poor old body has been in recovery mode since that nine hour non-stop, ass kicking, record setting day we had yesterday. Apologies to my co-workers for being in a pissed off mood, missing lunch and dinner will do that...
From my office window as I write this the creek is brown, angry and rising. Quite a contrast to yesterday when every load of tubers returning had at least one flat from sharp rocks on a low creek. Piper is back in, finally, laying here on my desk contentedly watching the show outside. She's been outside for three days but finally broke down soaking wet at the front door.
It's 1530 on Shoal Creek below my house on a Sunday afternoon. The bosses will decide if we launch people into it tomorrow, or not.
This is my new favorite breakfast. I pan fry a wild-caught Alaskan whitefish patty in butter on one side for three minutes, flip it over and cook for two. Then I break three cage-free brown eggs over it, sprinkle on a generous amount of grated local Amish goat cheese, cook until the eggs are solid enough then flip it midair and cook for just a bit more.
Steph sent me this photo of sweet little Emma today, and it breaks my heart. I know this girl as she spent time with us in Idaho and I always thought she was precious. Her world is now upside down with Sandy's passing and hell, if I wasn't an old grumpy codger, I would welcome her into my world.
And then Crissinda and I found a baby bird under the homeless bridge and I assured her that the infant was fine, that's just how it rolls for them, they fall from the nest and learn to fly from the ground.
I offer up a prayer to my god that little Emma learns to fly!
Just a thirsty squirrel...
Well, I gave notice at the tubing company today. I told my boss Ricky that I was just working too hard. We as individuals are the only ones capable of knowing this and my poor old body let me know loudly. I also told him that I can't continue to intimately expose myself to so many strangers. Covid kills old people and what's the point of working to build up road trip cash, if you're dead.
I told Ricky I had his back completely until he can find a replacement. There's got to be a young buck (or doe) out there with a license and the integrity to pull off this job. I can have them ride along and trained in a day. Hell, I used to train transit supervisors!
So, we are parting ways in the most honorable way. Ricky told me two things: I'm surprised you lasted this long and you will be hard to replace. Thank you sir. And I've had a ball! My coworkers have become friends and it's been just downright fun.
Next up, road trip baby...
Madison was riding along with me today and we were trying to verbally define the spots where we put people in and where we take them out and her simple solution was Put In and Take Out. Well, I would like you to take a moment and view our Take Out spot.
My current gig is not my first tube rodeo. I was telling my co-workers yesterday about one of my favorite places, Lava Hot Springs. It's a quaint little town south of Idaho Falls, ID with world-class hot springs and several tubing outfits. I had many adventures there and it's high on my upcoming road trip list. I've thrown a few photos together into a photoset you can view by clicking the shot below:
And yes Crissinda, the last shot is the biker dude drinking buddy who helped get me 86'd from the 112 degree pool.
Lava Hot Springs is open and firmly implanted in my list of road trip places. Here's a shot I took heading there a few years back. I do love Idaho...
My indoor/outdoor kitty has become full time outdoor. Not sure why but she's way more fearless now and just owns our little dead end street. Last night I coaxed her in for some food and brush, which she needed badly. I can't leave food out for her because the possums and coons get it.
She's also got a skin condition under her fur that's rough and scaly which I brush out hard. Here's a video I shot last night, just being chill with my baby before she went back out and I went to bed.
Yeah, I got the call from Crissinda today. Been hanging out with Steph all afternoon talking about her sister Sandy, her family, and life. I realize that she and I are no longer a couple but she is still my best friend and we can talk about anything, and we did.
Her car was heating up so I hooked her up with my local mechanic who helped her through a solution over the phone. We worked out the details for taking over my place and feeding our cat. She said she is ready to go, I just paid next months rent, and then the call came.
They found a replacement for me, some guy out of Pennsylvania who decided not to work for the Post Office and they took him out driving today and he appears good. Happy 74th Birthday to me! Thanks guys!
Here's a shot of Steph's siblings taken at Sandy's celebration of life. Just thought I would share...
So how did I spend my birthday morning? I did my laundry down at the Wishy Washy. While I was there I read a Forbes magazine article that stated 1.5 million children under the age of five die every year around the world from malnutrition. Compare that to the number of deaths from Covid worldwide as of today. Wait for it... 631,238.
Draw your own conclusions.
The reason my little travel truck is alive and purring like a kitten is because I pulled all of the emission control crap off the engine and replaced it with a Weber carb and a header. In the process I lost cruise control.
Keeping my foot on the pedal all of the time is exhausting on long trips and I'm taking off shortly on my longest. I needed to find a solution and I did. It's called a throttle depressor and I love it. Once I get to my desired speed on the open road I put the tip down on the throttle, press the lever to release the holder and slide it till it fits the edge of my seat and bingo!
I've got an itinerary, for the next few days at least. I'm leaving early tomorrow morning and driving to Wichita, KS. Saturday I drive to Colorado Springs, CO and Sunday on to Rock Springs, WY. Lava Hot Springs is just a 3 hour drive and I will meet Brian (and perhaps his new lady friend) there around 0900. I have a room booked at my old favorite motel and Brian will setup his own. A fine day at Lava is in store and Tuesday they will head back to Jackson and I will continue West.
I got up at midnight and drove twelve solid hours to Kansas. I'm hunkered down in a great little rest area 7 hours out of Colorado Springs using my phone as a hotspot to get this post out.
I called the motel at Lava Hot springs and changed my reservation from a room to my favorite little camping spot behind their property up on the hill. Brian and his lady can then bring some chairs up from their motel nearby and hang out. This aint my first hot springs rodeo ya know...
I visited Maggie on the Farm when I hit Colorado Springs this morning. What a zoo, masks everywhere and traffic I would not deal with.
I'm remembering fondly where I live and currently relaxing in a nice little motel room in Castle Rock, CO.
So where am I really at, I might ask? Good, happy as shit, stoned, a little drunk on warm water, vodka and no ice, and really glad to be alive!
Landed in Lava LaLa Land this afternoon. Secured my camp for two nights, took a long soak across the street and now back. My camp spot is still the most bad-ass spot in town and a large hill behind me has my back.
I walked around town this morning waiting for the Wagon Wheel to open for coffee and grabbed some Tube shots. Sure glad I ain't slingin tubes today. In fact, why am I surrounded by tubes anyway? What is life trying to tell me?
Had a fine time with the kids last night at Lava Hot Springs. Idaho was a breath of fresh air after the absurd, grungy, insultive mask down your throat bullshit of Colorado. The first thing you see when you drive into that state is a freeway sign saying Masks are required in all public places.
Bonded with Brian's new lady Nadia and re-established that bond I have with my nephew and friend, Brian.
As I rolled out of Lava this morning immediate decisions had to be made. South on I-15 and every steamy hot thing that move would require, or swing North to the sanctuary of the open sky. Well, I'm currently in Butte, MT. so there you go. My gut said North and here I am.
Butte's a good town, had more than one good time here. But today I'm simply hanging low and recharging my inner self while at the crossroads of my life.
I flipped the coin of life high into the Montana air yesterday and as it rotated around in the cosmic cloud it was strongly nudged West by an invite to my sons house on Friday for a couple of days.
I'm currently in Missoula Montana, one of my favorite places. Tomorrow I'm heading down to the Dalles with a drive up to Rileys the next day. And the road trip rocks on...
Nothing like a good vehicle emergency to validate a road trip and mine happened this morning. The engine started running real rough and it happened just as I'm coming down that mountainous hill towards Wallace. I barely made it to the exit where I pulled off and she died.
Ahah, I said, it's my Farmers Insurance Roadside Assitance time to shine and I called the 1-800 number on my card. After identifying myself to Farmers with my insurance policy number I was asked if I wanted to start a text session, and we did.
I'm telling a robot via text where I am (just push a button when asked and you're gps is snagged), what the issue is, do I want a tow, yes, here's a few mechanics to try, ok, I'll go with Danny's Lube and Oil and the deal was done. They hooked me up to a web page that showed how many minutes out the tow truck was and that it was taking me to Danny's. It showed up 5 minutes early.
This little shop on the side of the road in mountain country was manned by salty magicians who ran a smoke test on her to check for compression leaks and the poor old girl was leaking like a sieve. There are many rubber caps attempting to prevent previously used connection ports from giving up compression and they get old, melt, break and I carry many in my glovebox. I looked at them of course before calling the tow and they all looked alright.
Garry's guys put some sexy things on top of several of the unused ports. I'll check them out more when I get to Rileys. They even replaced a hose that had cracked on the end and was leaking smoke. Bottom line she's airtight and back better than ever!
Where am I now? Rest area off I-90 about 30 minutes east of Moses Lake. Here you go:
I hooked up with Jess at the Safeway in Orting, WA. and then followed her home. I spaced out halfway through the drive when I wondered if that was really her Kia in front of me or am I following the wrong car. What if the person is freaked out that I'm following them up and down every little beautiful road and their husband is waiting at home with a shotgun? This marks one week on the wild open road and I'm starting to hallucinate.
We arrived at the Riley and Jess house. Thank god because I'm unarmed. Love this place, still have a hard time finding it, very much off the grid. I'll have more shots here as the weekend unfolds but in the meantime, The Garden:
Hung out with the kids well into the evening last night, great to be here. Here's some shots and no, Riley doesn't sit around flexing, but the subject of his biceps did come up. :-)
One thing I've learned about myself after all these years is that I am a man who respects and maintains well the older vehicles that I have owned.
This morning I decided that my living space deserved a redo so I pulled everything out, swept it and rebuilt it.
btw: Those are magic blankets, both prized posessions of my grandmother and now mine. They help me make the connection to my other side.
There is great mystery surrounding a video I shot of Brian and Nadia interacting in the hot waters of Lava Hot Springs recently. The question is, what in the hell is she saying?
I asked Brian and he said: No that was casual. You got a good look. Something lke that. She does speak French though.
Saturday. Riley took a rare day off and we hung out all day. Friends and neighbors dropped by for a fire pit. Quality time with my boy. Hitting the road again this morning.
Sitting on my tailgate backed into the last spot in a wooded rest area stoned with a drink in my hand and I get it. I kept thinking I wanted to go South but as I rolled past Mt Rainier this morning the reasons were nowhere to be found.
I flipped a bitch East at Yakima without even a hitch in my giddyup and merged right into I-90 as if I had planned it. East along the northern corridor was always my goal, I just needed to bop over to whacked out, glad I'm out of there, Washington so I could spend great quality time with my boy. Now I'm back on course.
I've never driven East on 90 past Billings, at least not in decades. There are memory patches that suggest I might have but are now totally irrelevant. I used to bop up into Billings often when I lived in Idaho but always returned home. This time I'm rolling straight into uncharted territory and since this rest area has no cell or internet service, I can't plan it out.
I'll spend the night in Billings tomorrow because I can and it needs to get done. I'm sleeping here tonight and should be there mid-afternoon. Rock on...
Stayed at a nice place here in Billings called the Dude Rancher Lodge and after a $5 breakfast special here at 0600 I'm hitting the road. I have an itinerary, sort of.
From Billings down into Wyoming (Sheridan, Buffalo, Gillette), over to South Dakota (Spearfish, Rapid City, Chamberlain, Mitchell and Brandon) then abandon I-90 and head south on I-29 through Sioux City, Iowa and hit I-80 just North of Omaha, Nebraska to head East to Des Moines or continue down I-29 to Kansas City. That's as far out as I can plan.
Northern Wyoming is gnarly, tough and sparse. The early settlers named their creeks with things from their life like Wild Horse Creek, Dead Horse Creek and Crazy Woman Creek. I was just thinking about a discussion I had with Riley and Jess about his mom when I passed that last creek. I laughed out loud.
Wyoming has also shut down all of it's Rest Areas, at least along I-90. I heard it was because the State is broke and can't afford them. What about no state tax and all of the rich folks living in Wyoming because of that and, hell, lost my train of thought...
Rolling into South Dakota was like having a dark veil removed, the lights came on and this beautiful state unfolded. Everything was spaced out more, the grass was greener, the sky was a soft pale blue and Sturgis was just down the road.
Shared the road East with a lot of bikers, some looking like tourists in a motor home but the covered bike in the back of the truck gives them away. Every cool biker in the country is bearing down here and the air was electric as I drove right on by.
I am now in a Rest Area somewhere in the Badlands of South Dakota. It is day twelve and I will probably be home by Friday. I'm road weary but still having the time of my life. Rock on...
Steph told me I spend more time driving than adventuring. I don't put everything I do for road trip fun on this blog and my driving vs adventuring ratio is quite good actually.
This is my last night on the road. I am currently at an undisclosed location (see above) and will be home tomorrow. Thanks for following along, and rock off...
My fun little two week 5,484 miles across countless States in my 32 year old truck road trip, is successfully complete. Here are some take-aways:
• Grateful to survive and make it home with truck and possessions intact. If your vehicle craps out you have to figure how to gather up your stuff on the side of the freeway and then deal with everything else from there, saw it happen twice. My truck had one issue in Montana but otherwise, she's my baby.
• I didn't get sick. I never wore a mask unless I was absolutely forced to when services were required. One afternoon somewhere out in the middle of nowhere I pulled over to check out a scenic view. Inside the only other car there was a woman with her windows up, playing with her phone, and wearing a mask. That pretty much sums up all the true madness I've seen.
• I didn't lose anything. Money, wallet, shades, phone, all that stuff you use and stand the risk of it parting your possession, especially while you're having a good time, know what I mean?
• I'm very satisfied with the trip. You never know how something like this is going to turn out when you pull away from your house at midnight, anything can change everything! You just need to have faith that good things are going to happen, and not worry. Occasionally I made a bad decision like choosing the wrong road or the wrong State, but hey!
• It was great to see family, my heart is warmed.
Here's that lookout:
While hanging out at Brian and Nadia's motel backyard, which looks right down on the water, I grabbed a ton of video that I will convert tomorrow into one take.
Now I buy goat cheese from the Amish Market here and it's pretty good. Back in Washington, Riley picked up a couple different types but they were hard and funky. It should be soft and squishy and crumble when squeezed. If someone told me at a young age that I would still be alive in 2020 and a goat cheese snob I would have laughed out loud.
Update: It's at Sams ClubMember's Mark Fresh Goat Cheese Log is made with American goat milk and has a soft yet crumbly texture, and a mild tangy taste. Goat cheese is rich in protein along with a powerful combination of calcium, phosphorus and copper that is essential for bone health. Plus, it also provides healthy fats that improve satiety and support weight loss. Our fresh goat log is the perfect accompaniment crumbled on salads, sliced on a cheese board with crackers, and versatile enough to be used as a culinary aid for baking or stuffing.
I recently hung out with Brian and Nadia at the backside of their motel which looked right down on the Portneuf River in Lava Hot Springs Idaho. Brian made dinner, Nadia entertained and I shot video. I have combined over twenty clips into one fun little video of people from all walks float this particular stretch in the river. Set aside five minutes, and enjoy...
Working on video from the road trip today.
• First up, bees putting rocks into a hole at the kids house:
• Here I hit The Twilight Zone under the pale blue sky of the South Dakota Badlands:
• Just following Brian somewhere at Lava while Nadia and I giggle like school girls.
I'm putting together a web site for Rileys Auto Body business. It looks great on a phone, very pleased. Still needs images and content tweaking...
I'm hosting it here for development but can move it to their domain and server when they choose. You can try it if you like by clicking the image below.
I just installed that EGR Delete plate that Riley cut out from a gasket for me. The process was a bit glitchy as the top edge was a little too big which forced me to approach the lower right thread from an angle. The thing is air-tight as far as I can tell and what do you know, she runs better without the valve, surprise, surprise.
I've lost my cat. Oh, I can find her, she's laying in the next door neighbors driveway, but our connection is fading fast. Not only has she stopped coming inside my house, she won't even come in my yard. She will get up and let me pet her when I walk over bringing food and water, which she barely touches, and that's about it.
I've been really close to this girl for many years now and it breaks my heart to lose her this way. The flea infestation in this neighborhood just must not be quite as bad next door. I never should have brought her here from Idaho, but nobody there stepped up to take her. It's too humid and the fleas have harassed her since we got here.
I don't know what's going to happen next.
Update: I'm going to have my house and yard defleaed by the local Kirkland Pest Control. That same day I'm scooping Piper up and taking her to Northside Animal Hospital to be bathed and defleaed. Then I will bring her home and lock her up, with lots of love and good food.
After getting my clutch slave cylinder replaced at Jerry's Automotive I drove up to Spring Hill to get my free tire rotation at Discount Tire and picked up Steph in Summertown along the way so we could catch up. The tire place's walk-in wait time was 2.5 hours (they didn't mention that when I called) so we just had some great barbecue and split.
It reminds me of our Rexburg runs from Driggs. If you needed a service that you couldn't get locally, you made the drive. It got me to thinking so I used my OMJRoute app and plotted both. Home to Walmart in Idaho was 46.69 miles while home to Discount Tire here is 49.49. Both of them are lovely numbers with symmetry, the kind you want for your phone, know what I mean?
Tomorrow I meet the pest control inspector, we will set a date and Piper hits the vet on the same day. Being pro-active beats the shit out of resignation. Home on...
You need to enjoy life now because eventually you can't. I was sitting on the porch last evening texting with my granddaughter Shelby who is currently in California helping out family. I told her I wanted to go to the zoo.
Shelby said she would talk to Homer and make it happen, and maybe he can come along. There was no question we were referring to the new Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and to enjoy it with the guy that designed it, would be amazing.
I need a new road trip and my rejuvenated truck is begging for the road. I'll have Piper inside and flea free shortly and I told Shelby to pick a date and I'll make that easy 6.5 hour drive to Pensacola in a heartbeat.
I managed to get Piper in last night after promising her she wouldn't have to walk on the floor. The exterminator guy is coming tomorrow morning to totally deflea my house so in the meantime she spent the evening on my living room table where I set up food and water. We had great quality time while I watched NetFlix with her sleeping on my lap off and on and lots of kisses, and she stayed on the table all night.
This morning I drove her to the veterinary hospital where they will get her vaccinations up to speed, give her a flea bath and totally deflea her, then put her up in a room for a couple of nights until the house is ready. Just taking care of my baby!
There were no fleas at 6500 feet in Idaho, btw...
I despise most insects with the same passion I love animals. What purpose in the world does a flea serve other than to torment and suck the blood from animals?
My house and yard are free from the little bastards now and I'm bringing my kitty home tomorrow morning. I haven't seen her motel room yet, looking forward to it. I'll place her cleaned little body on my cleaned floor, and point her towards her food. Can't wait to get her home...
Piper got herself a tag, now I need to get her a collar. I assume that if we got separated anyone could call the vet, give them the number and they have my address. She's also got a chip in her neck so I should figure out how to point the thing here.
Piper's had a rough few weeks and I've felt the strain drain from her body as she slept on my lap today.
Contentment goes both ways. My mind has eased on down as she settles in. When I drove to town for supplies earlier I spotted the yellow bus unloading tubers on the creek. No regrets on leaving that job because I have more time to take pictures of leaves.
Meanwhile, back in the chair...
I lived in Kent, WA back in the nineties helping Riley grow up. The Aldworth family lived in the same apartment complex and we became friends and the oldest boy Andrew became Riley's best bud. Brad and Sheila had two other kids while I was living there, Lisa and Alan. Years went by, everybody moved on, but I still saw them at Rileys major events like graduation, marriage and the occasional backyard party.
Sheila passed away recently, way too young. I am honored to attend her memorial service today, remotely. RIP my friend.
I have a couple of goat cheese road trips planned. First up, I've discovered that one of the most prestigious goat cheese (chevra, pronounced chev ra) makers in the country is only 41.4 miles from me, down in Elkmont, AL. They're called Belle Chevre and I just called them to say hi. I can't get there today and they're closed Sun and Mon so I asked where I can buy locally.
Which brings up tomorrows road trip, the Publix market down in Florence, AL. which sells their product. At 36.18 miles it's an easy Sunday jaunt, buy some cheese, and then see if I want to go to Elkmont next week. Retired life is tough...
Here's a Montrachet style log:
How about a goat cheese cheesecake. This thing is an award winner:
Kinda like me, sexy skinny and smart.
Drove down to Florence, AL this morning to buy some Belle Chevre at the Publix Market, and there was none. I asked why they didn't have any of that world class chevra that's made about 40 miles away and they had no answer, so I bought some cheese anyway. I really like this store though, makes Kroger look like a Dollar General.
Nine bucks for these two, while a log up at the Amish store is way more cheese and only eight bucks. The crumbly stuff on the left is ok, good for cooking, and the soft one is actually quite tasty.
No animals died in the production of this cheese, or this post...
I made eye contact with a pig on a truck heading to slaughter in the middle of Iowa recently and it made me sad. The look was piercing but the eyes were blurred as if it was drugged. The turn of it's mouth showed sadness and resignation.
I renewed my vow to avoid eating pork and then ate barbecue with Steph the other day. Just not holding firmly to my convictions lately. I am proud of rescuing Piper though, the situation was fucked up, and I fixed it.
Just shot this and titled it Covid-18.
Leaves, goat cheese and Piper, thats all that matters...
Here's a cool video I also just shot, down by the creek. Find a quiet place and meditate to this one:
I've discovered a cool hole in the ground down by the creek. It's about a foot wide and supported on three sides by tree roots. I sense magic.
The rear-end on my truck is shot. It came on out of the blue yesterday and I've been scrambling to get her fixed. I found one at an auto salvage place down in Athens, AL for $106 bucks. Everyone knows the place and it has a good rep.
Steph drove me down today and we got it. My regular mechanics couldn't get to the job for a week so I'm going with a small little shop on the main drag right up from my house who quoted me $135 for labor. Damn, $240 total is less than the shipping charge a big parts house wanted for shipping from Oregon.
We unloaded the rear-end there and I'll bring the truck up at 0800 tomorrow. I just might have a fixed truck tomorrow afternoon and I shudder to think what would have happened out on the road. She waited till I got home.
There is nothing quite like a northern Alabama junkyard. My first impression as I wandered into it was huge. I tried to keep up with the guy driving the large machine flipping cars around trying to find a Mazda B2200 as he faded deeper into the huge yard, but gave up.
Maybe because I drove an old school bus around this summer, I was drawn to an area of buses and metal, and took some shots.
I stripped the bed and baseboard out of my truck yesterday so I can transport my old rear end back for a core refund. I had no other place to put it so I plopped it down on my bed, and slept on it last night.
My neck is turning red and I really need to do something about those cans out in the back.
My truck is up at a little shop, with a guy I know nothing about, getting a new rear end. I decided that I was not going to sit around and stress over someone else's work so I got a little buzzed and made a video. I'll be at his place first thing in the morning, whatever the result.
I've been handling a big piece of metal all morning. The new rear end is installed and I hauled the old one back to Alabama and got my $40 core deposit back. I could barely drag it along the bed of my truck but a couple of good ol southern boys handled it like it was a hocky stick.
One hundred mile round trip and the new axle is purring like it should. I tried to get some pedigree from the salvage guy but all he could say was these things are getting really hard to find. Ok, I'm really happy I'm able to give my truck continued great life, and as a consequence, my own. It all is what it is and welcome aboard Axle, join the ride known across the land as the Jim & Jill Show.
What is it about life, that makes you land where you do. We live it as destiny but I believe our path is being influenced by loved ones on the other side. Our souls remember life and love and become part of the big family collective when we cross over. Souls have identity and influence here. I feel them around me all the time.
Sum your entire current existence, everything that defines you, everything you love and everything you don't, into a one digit number (that would be 0 to 9). I'll wait...
Now, does the other side treat you differently based on that number? I believe so. The higher the number, the more they just kick back and smile. If your number is low, they get to work and try to help you get back up.
And sometimes they present themselves! Nothing like a midnight drive through the heartland of America under endless stars, with the window down...
Where am I? Well, since I'm using a zero based scale with 9 highest, I'm going with a solid 7. You?
btw: The formula is: why(0 - 9) = zero is real, single digit
The Zero to Nine Scale project:
This is a work in progress and open to category suggestions.
Hard to quantify, affected by everything. I guess the only way to measure it is to compare this moment in time with other moments in your life and when you're my age, that's a lot to compare. I've been to zero and back more than a few times and I've probably approached nine a time or two.
Happiness score: 7
Your ego presents your self to the world. How do you feel about yourself? Are you proud of your positions and do you defend them. How pleased are you in what you present?
Ego score: 8
Have you ever thought about your sexuality on a scale? I guess the question would be: are you happy with who you are as a sexual entity, do you accept who you are, and is your sexual appetite, if any, being satisfied.
Sexuality score: 5
I wrote my first computer program in 1969 at Merritt College in Oakland, CA at the age of 23, and I wrote my last one a few days ago at the age of 74. Fifty years writing code and I've covered most of the big languages and a lot of the small ones.
I created complete IBM-PC applications back in the eighties using pure assembly language. Trust me, It don't get much nerdier than that. There were also years in there that I didn't write a single line of code, just trying to stay alive. Now I just dabble in web stuff using Visual Studio Code.
Specialty score: 9
You have to be able to factor in the now. This afternoon I was sitting in my blue chair on the porch of my little place on a quiet street with only one exit, surrounded by lots of open grass and a cool creek, buzzed and stoned with my cat asleep in my lap, and I was content.
The Moment score: 9
The Scale is missing some obvious categories which I will try to address as Saturday unfolds.
I have to say that my health is amazing for a 74 year old guy. I still take no meds, period. No pills, no liquids, no nuthin. I eat healthy, only consume meat when I'm desperate for protein, yet currently concerned about my 162 weight which is ten pounds over my ideal. Need to walk more.
I have Parkinsons but it's not getting me down, I just deal with it. My stomach muscles are sore, which is weird since I'm not working out. From the web: Stress and anxiety can cause stomach soreness or muscle pain that feels remarkably like the soreness you'd experience from overworking your stomach muscles through exercise. Your nervous system connects your brain and your gut in ways that scientists don't yet fully understand, and stress or anxiety can slow down your digestive system, especially in particularly sensitive people.
Health score: 8
This is a tough one for me to quantify. What should be my motivation as an old guy, another trip, another job? I know most folks my age would just simply say stay alive, but I need more than that.
Motivation score: 7
How do you share yourself with the world? I started dumping my soul to blogs that few people read in June 2011 and haven't stopped yet. I have a few close friends and family that I text with, I have a neighbor who likes to come over and drink, and Steph and I get together on occasion. So, not much going on.
Social score: 3
It's important to see everything around you clearly and honestly. I have the ability to do that, and more. Sometimes I see people beyond what they present to the world, which is my secret skill that is no longer secret now.
Mental Clarity score: 8
I consider this one of the most powerful human traits. Do I have empathy towards others in need, most definitely. Do I respect, and avoid taking, the life of all other animals? Strongly. Do I think insects have a right to exist? Hell no.
Empathy score: 8
This is what you define it to be. For me it's honesty, character and doing what you say you're going to do. It took many decades of drama to learn what it meant and a couple of decades to get it right. I ain't perfect yet, but I'm getting better every day.
Integrity score: 8
My current overall Scale average, rounded down, is 7.
I need to expand on that secret skill. It usually happens after talking with a person for a bit, they move sideways, always facing to my right and offer me a profile of their face and then bam! It's like an acid trip where I've slipped into another dimension outside my body. Their face lights up and I see their true self, like all the veils have dropped away and the hidden persona emerges.
A few examples:
Steph and I had Piper at the vet ten years ago. As we were leaving and chatting with her she turned and I saw a face emerge that was contrary to her demeanor. She wanted nothing more to do with us and wanted us out the door. Got it.
One time I was standing in our Driggs kitchen having a drink with Karen, my bus driving partner in Teton Valley. She was chatting with Steph and she turned right and there she was: my wonderful, proud, dyke friend. Glowing brightly with her new dyke haircut she emanated gay pride, and I was proud.
Then there was the time I took my regular old senior to her lunch at the center. She was ninety, the embodiment of sweet old lady and everybody loved her. As she was going up the ramp with her walker I told her I would be a little late picking her up and it happened. What emerged from that kind old face was the face of a witch, the kind you see in movies, as she demanded to know why I would be late.
Sometimes I wonder if it's a skill, or a curse, but it is out of body and it's real.
Those that know me well, and there are only a few of you, know that I always carry around a pale blue ceramic cup as my primary drinking utensil. I've had that cup for many years, bought it off Amazon and it was all hyped up as the best long lasting ceramic coffee mug you could buy. They were right.
I've just added a new guy into my hand: sexy and black, shorter and squatter, same pedigree, and I'm going with my red straw. Meet my new cup!
That's all condensation btw, the cup is smooth.
I'm heading to a secret location on an unspecified day, next month. I would love to discuss it here but surprise is at the core of the trip and maybe she reads my blog.
And that's it.
I have absolutely no plans for the rest of my life. There are hankerings, like a week at an all-inclusive Cancun resort, or a Club Med, do those still exist?
I also have catback which is the situation where you have your cat back in the house happy and also being taken care of while you're gone. (Steph, or the Vet@$25day)
The truck is running great! A new old rear-end, fresh oil-lube with a tranny fluid refill, clutch slave cylinder replaced and my EGR delete job is solid.
My passport is ready with no restrictions and I could go anywhere in the world. Instead I'm hunkered down in a little house on a dead-end street in a little town in southern Tennessee writing this shit instead of code.
So, what can I say but, stay tuned...
My little truck is running great! I took it up to Spring Hill today for a Discount Tire rotation and it was the first time I've flexed her muscles since the rear-end job, and I was stunned! There was alway an engine rattle that rolled around in her straight pipe as I approached cruising speed, and having just completed a 5k+ mile cross country jaunt, I knew it well.
It is now gone. Replacing a loosy-goosy, near death rear-end with one that appears to be solid, changed everything. The new axle is of unknown heritage, has fresh fluid and it's applying way more torque back to the engine. The vehicle gods are on my side. Thank you.
An 0930 screen video capture of weather brewing here in the South. That's the front tip of Hurricane Laura lower left, my place upper right.
Meanwhile, all is well on my porch...
It was a great little one hour drive this morning down to country I've never seen before to buy goat cheese. These guys are world-renowned, award winning and don't sell locally except here in their little cheese shop and they make all of their stuff in the creamery behind the store.
So how is it? Hell ya!
There is a lot of knowledge, tempered by experience, stored in my old bald head and it amazes me that I still remember so much. I have had one hell of a great life! There was always shit going down somewhere, lots of regret, it bounced both ways and I always landed on my feet.
My slide along the edgier side of life slowed down when I became Riley's dad and after almost 34 years, I think I have finally landed.
Every experience, good or bad, is stored in the core of your brain and every instant of your life runs through this filter. When the filter is your friend, guiding you to be the best person you can be while still enjoying yourself, you have landed well.
Otherwise you end up like, you know, that person.
I really hate taking life and I messed up again. I discovered a mouse in my house yesterday so I picked up a couple of sticky traps thinking I could safely remove him. Nope, found him this morning hopelessly stuck to the trap so I had no recourse but to drown him so he wouldn't suffer. Damn.
I left the water running 15 minutes then pulled the bag up by the handles. The water ran out the bottom but the sticky pad stayed inside, while I took it to the garbage. Piper? Absolutely no help whatsoever...
I took this shot down by the creek today. The roots have been stripped bare by the hot summer rain and the leaves are turning to Fall. I've seen this before as I float into my third winter in Tennessee and I feel oddly displaced by it.
I don't have anyone here to hang with as the holidays approach. It's not the first time in my life by far, and I always survived. That's really what holiday bullshit comes down to, survival. We party at the end of the year simply because we survived.
I'm 74, and I've had a hell of a life. For most of it I was successful enough to live it fully. I made a lot of mistakes, but somehow a degree of integrity helped me land better each time, and here I am now.
I woke up this morning with a code-on. It's been awhile and it was very persistant until I opened my editor and brought up my mobile template which is currently in the form of Brian and Rileys auto body shop in Federal Way, WA.
I'm awaiting content on that site from the boys but I decided to tackle the Title. What I've come up with is a software generated font with cool shadows on an upward pitch. Whatever I plug into the title will inherit the effects and it floats around nicely based on screen size. Click the image below to go there...
Update: That cool effect I used to generate MCC's logo won't run on Android so I had to capture each word as an image from my desktop and present them as floating objects in the header as opposed to generating them on the fly. They align themselves perfectly as the size of the screen changes.
I also changed Riley's picture...
It's Monday morning, last day of August, two-thirds through the year 2020. I'm there, as opposed to here, which is fine because I have no desire to have direction anyway.
A birthday shoutout to my brother, currently captive in a west coast mental hospital, love you man. Hey, at least you know what's coming tomorrow but I have no idea what happens to me next.
Most people have a plan, I have none, unless Staying Alive is considered a plan, which ok, now that I think about it, why not...
I was reverse lactating goat cheese into my mouth when Piper expressed interest, which she lost as soon as I plunked a treat down into hers, and ruined it.
Sometimes I settle down into Vincent Mode where great code concepts are shifting from my fertile creative mind, down to my fingers, and then on to that great canvas in the electronic sky. Along the way, I feed my cat.
Vincent Van Gogh, 1885
So what's going on with this code stuff, you might ask? I'm continuing a project that I started early this summer where I created a mobile friendly web site for the creek tubing company I drove the bus for and they were too busy succeeding to notice it, which is fine because it was too cool for them anyway.
Then I realized the template would be perfect as a web site for Brian and Riley's auto body business, then I realized it would be cool as a template for any small business! So here I am, being Vincent!
My focus today was a photo gallery presented in a mobile friendly manner. You show the major categories as clickable thumbnails, which display the individual sets.
So, you ready to drop on in? Here's the link, mosey on down to the Photos.
Piper has her spot back overlooking the big yard and creek.
Meanwhile, I did some pretty nice structure stuff to my Mobile Template. I can now just load up a photo directory with images and the code self-generates.
I'm getting design inspiration from my desk. I use three coasters there, remnants from Idaho, for everything from oatmeal to cocktail. I look at my site designs and see that I use a lot of similar squares, with distinct borders and shading. I believe layout should be emphasized, not made transparent.
Template notes: Menu items can be scrolled to directly by passing their name to a ?m= parameter in the url. So, if you click the image above I will take you to monarch/?m=photos.
My sweet little '88 Mazda B2200 is 32 years old. I drove her hard on the road trip, broke her compression apart in the Montana mountains and limped her back into town with a trashed rear end and no clutch.
Well, she don't leak no more, she has a new ass and slave, and I don't think she's ever run better!
I had a conversation with Steph today about embedding electronic trackers into her grand-daughters. I say yes.
If one gets snatched, first thing you do is call the cops, report a kidnapping and give them the childs tracking number. Modern technology could locate her immediately and have a chopper overhead with a patrol car behind, in minutes.
Tell them about it and let them know as soon as they want it removed, it will be. If they were ever kidnapped, the knowledge that it's there could help them.
And here's the kicker: As child traffickers start to get busted because one of the kids had a tracker embedded, I assume it would begin to happen less.
And there is a powerful group of people on the Left that is better served by the U.S. being weak and the thought of another four years under Trump has them panicked and desperate.
I think we will end up a bitter divided country when this mail-in ballot debacle the Left is pushing destroys the integrity of our electoral system and our elected President will be unknown for months.
Oh, and I wrote a song:
Step On You
I don't want to step on your life,
you're arms don't have to hold me,
I just want to be your friend.
The connection's real and can't be denied,
drop all the bullshit and come inside,
Just let me know you're there.
Come on by my place, you know were I live.
Don't be afraid, ain't going to rock your world,
I just want to be your friend.
I write code, and songs, and I have opinions. Here's my backyard today:
One of the key components of this blog is the users ability to display photos full size when clicked, and this only applies to photos stored on Flickr, which is 95%. The other 5% are smaller photos stored on my server that I use to augment a post. There was no click logic on these photos.
People have told me the photo app sucks on mobile but I blew it off because I didn't have a phone. My apologies... Now that I have a phone I realize they were right.
So, I've re-written it. Now when you click on a photo the whole image is displayed in it's actual size. Drag it around to see it and click it (touch it) to close. Works great, and here's a photo to try it out on:
I've also just created a similar app to display the smaller image files on my server. This means that every image on my blog since it's creation two years ago, that isn't a link to a web page, is now expandable. Wow, impressing myself...
That Vincent Van Gogh painting I used recently is a good example and you can try it out below.
I'm driving down to Pensacola, FL tomorrow and parking my truck at the Court of De Luna Event Space and Winery. I've heard it's a cool place to hang.
Next day, the Southern Alabama Zoo!
Looks like I better grab a sports jacket and a hot date, then go hang out in the Man Cave
The fuel gauge on my truck has never worked, so around every 200 miles, I fill up. The trip tomorrow to Pensacola is 400 miles so I used my great routing app (OMJRoute) to split it in two and I found an Exxon with an easy exit in Clanton, AL exactly 200 miles from my house.
I put the trip from there to Pensacola into playback mode and maybe you can get it to run on your device by clicking the image below. Who knows!
Thank you god for blessing me with two amazing grand-daughters. The word on the street is there are more grand kids out there, maybe ten or eleven more, but these are the only two who will have anything to do with me, and I love them.
I just got back from hanging out with them down in Pensacola, FL and we had a hell of a good time. I drove home this morning and they drove over to New Orleans for a day trip.
Shelby lives there and co-runs an event planning company with a big wedding happening this weekend. Taylor, the mother of my great grand-daughter Prudence, whom I love very much, was up from Austin, TX. I've got thirty seven photos to share with you here. We hit some great places, hung out at the beach in Flora-Bama (swam in the Gulf of Mexico), I kicked Taylors ass last night at pool in the Man Cave, we met Shelby's new friend and well, just click the photo below to go there...
Update: I didn't like the initial resize cropping of this photoset, so I redid it here and now Shelby's face is no longer cut off at the Alcohol sign.
Excuse me while I take a knee...
Every step I take, every move I make, glad to be alive!
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I am now the proud owner of a Flora-Bama Silicon Tie Die Tumbler. My new travel cup from Taylor just arrived and I've got a green silicon straw around here to match. I'll use it on my upcoming Austin adventure!
Update: She fits right on in and works great!
Even with Piper back.
People are accusing me of sluffing off by taking stupid pictures of my cat and a cup. They say I should be doing something meaningful with my precious time because I'm old and I could be dead tomorrow.
Truth is (and I can do this with one arm around my cat and a straw in my mouth) I registered a new domain for Riley's business this morning and ported over all the code I've been creating, and then set the domain live.
The company is called Monarch Collision Center. They seem to often drop the Center so I've just taken Monarch, added a "c" at the end, and come up with monarchc.com. I think it's catchy and easy to say, monarch with a c .com.
Riley is running it past his partner now. If they don't like the new name, or the look, then I still have a great template for someone else and I'm out $10 to buy the domain name.
Here you go: http://monarchc.com
Ya know how a traditional website link takes you directly there? Well, I'm playing around with a fun little concept that I call trick links. Here's an example: In my latest project I have an item in the main menu called "Photos", and to create a trick link to it all I have to do is go monarchc.com/photos
The site is loaded up, the menu item "Photos" is lit up, and then everything pauses for a magic second so the viewer can see where we're going, and then the site slides on down to "Photos".
This works for every menu item...
Riley and Brian wanted their logo on a black background as the header and I gave it to them. Brian sent me a .pdf of their logo so I opened it, captured it, resized it and created a sweet transparent .png image. Then I centered it inside an almost black container and voil!
I've finally taught Piper how to kiss. She learned years ago to just plant a big lick on my forehead when she wanted a treat and I've been slowly ramping that down, rewarding her more for the soft touch. Today she planted the sweetest little kiss in the middle of my forehead that I swear were just her lips. Heart melted...
I have no plan, parkinson's is kicking my ass and my website project is at a standstill. Despite that, I gave my life an eight yesterday while talking to Steph. I have shelter, technology, supplies, a great old truck and a great old cat. Just chilen.
btw: This blog has been spasmodic lately, a function of the process known as my old brain. So many memories always flooding in from every corner and I try to convey them (because this is a blog :-) but sometimes it gets too personal and I have to step back. Sorry.
I have some cool animals that live along the creek and frolic in my backyard: Two busy squirrels, a fat groundhog (used to be two), a big armadillo, and a red fox with a bushy tail as big as it's body.
When I opened the door at 0430 this morning to let Piper out we both spotted the fox on the road under the street light. Piper wasn't fazed at all as it took off to the back, like they've crossed paths in the nights before.
I've created a cool concept today that I call the Logo Cube. It has six sides: front, back, left, right, top and bottom. Here it is with all six sides at 0.7 opacity, being built one side at a time and then unbuilt:
It's now the site header with each side a decreasing level of opacity.
Here it is with all six sides at full opacity:
Pipers new bed, the box of VC Andrews books and no I don't read that stuff...
Update: Sold the box of books on FB.
The leaves are falling again as I enter my third winter in southern Tennessee. My groundhog and I reflect.
A new gym opened up over the weekend in our little town and I'm now a member. It's a 24/7 called Workout Anytime and it's big, they have brand new state of the art equipment, a Hydro Massage, a reACT Trainer and my Medicare Advantage plan makes it totally free for me.
So I get home after a great first workout, open the carton of eggs my neighbor gave me from his wife's chickens, and find this little egg. That's me, the 74 year old sleeper...
Meanwhile, Piper was laying on the floor where her bed of books used to be so I grabbed my travel bag, threw one of her old blankets from Idaho in there, and...
Made the long drive (2 miles) over to David Crocket State Park this morning and had the place to myself.
Piper always pretends to have no interest in TV but some 4K flyovers last night got her attention.
Every afternoon I walk down to my fade away spot, sit on the rocks with the sun to my back, and reflect on the many chapters of my life. Now I wonder if some day I'll look back and think then there was Tennessee, or is this the final chapter...
Life is dangerous. Live it fully and without fear while you still have a pulse, even if you end up going down the drain.
The leaves in my yard are starting to hit the ground and soon it will be solid yellow. Back in Idaho Steph would spend days raking and bagging the leaves, which I always thought should have stayed put.
Hey Steph, want to tackle this? You can gather walnuts while you're at it!
I keep asking my phone Where Am I? Just now she said I was at a rest area off I70/40 just West of Terre Haute, Indiana, called the Sugar Creek Complex.
Well, aint that slick, I'm going to hang out here for a while, drop on by!
I sent this photo out last night to a few, and grand-daughter Taylor wanted to know if I was naked. Considering this is a dog walking area of a large rest area off a major interstate, the answer is: ...
As I rolled through southern Indiana towns early this morning where every second was a new adventure I realized that despite being flat broke a few times and no roof over my head a couple of times, I've had a pretty good 74 years.
As the sun rose over Kentucky I knew that the good life is continuing, and I'm very grateful.
One of my most treasured sources of pride is the fact that I don't take medicine of any kind, haven't for years. That means no pills, no stuff out a bottle, no injections, nuttun. That's not to say that I don't put bad shit inside me, just nothing pharmaceutical :-)
Sadly, this stretch may be coming to an end. The constant internal vibration from Parkinsons is wearing me down and I need to address it. There's a neurologist in the hospital complex just down the road from me so I'll make an appointment for a little L-Dopa, and go from there.
I never thought I'd say this but half of the photos I shoot these days are on my phone. My smart S20+ does great in a lot of situations but sometimes I just need to take my digital out for a walk strapped into my 16m Sigma lens with the f-stop pumped to max while the ISO kisses 100. Know what I mean?
It's really amazing how life fluctuates over a lifetime, and most of my 74 year memories are still at my disposal. Thank you god.
I've been dumping my daily life out to the internet with two blogs since June 6, 2011. I was down in Vegas hanging with Riley and Jess when I created BusDriverJim. That wonderful blog spanned 7+ years of my life in Teton Valley, ID and then I moved here to Lawrenceburg, TN and started this blog which is now into it's third year.
I've also written a huge amount of code while hunkered down here in Tennessee. Creativity has erupted in the last couple of years and I am proud of the work.
Go big or go home. My new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is arriving today and I can't wait to introduce her to my Samsung S20+. The FDA has approved the companies EKG and blood pressure apps so it's like having a doctors office on your wrist.
I went with the bigger one: 45mm, GPS, Bluetooth, black and I've got a new band here waiting.
I expect the stuff I buy online to arrive when promised and because I'm an old impatient man I get pissed when it don't. I bought that smart watch from Amazon on Saturday for a Sunday delivery and according to the USPS site it was dropped at their facility in Lewisburg, TN at 0520 Sunday morning and it's still there now on Monday morning.
Amazon tells me sorry and if it doesn't arrive in a couple of days, to ask for a refund. Screw that, if my buddy the postman Richard doesn't put it my hands by 1100 this morning I may just slam the brakes on it now.
Then I called the local neurologists office to make an appointment and she told me December 2 is the soonest. I'm sure she detected the shock in my voice as I asked huh? and it turns out several nearby neurologists have recently gone under, and they absorbed all the patients.
Oh well, another Monday morning in Tennessee in 2020 and I'm just glad to be alive!
Update: Nope, so I contacted a customer service rep at Amazon and got this:
I am escalating the issue to the concerned team. We will try to deliver it as soon as possible. The new deadline for its delivery is Tuesday, October 20, 2020 12:00 AM (PDT). In an unlikely event, if you don't get it by the deadline then you can contact us and we will help you with a full refund or a replacement.
So tomorrow by noon. Do you really think this person has a "concerned team" that's going to strike fear in USPS and demand they find their customers package and get it in his mailbox quickly at any cost?
It's just a carefully crafted phrase that plugs in current date and order data generated by possibly the press of a human finger, or perhaps not.... It was followed by the leading question: Sound good?
God help me, I just want the damned watch!
My neighbor Daniel drops by on occasion to get his Piper Time.
There was a time when my programming skills were in very high demand, right out of college in 1971 thru 1992 actually. I made and spent a ton of money, helped form several startup companies and it was quite a ride.
Then I got into transportation up in Seattle and code went dormant for 15 years. As I was leaving town to Idaho with Steph I had started writing code again and I never stopped.
Isn't life funny? I never thought I would end up alone on a little dead-end street in a small town in southern Tennessee. Still creating, occasionally on the cutting edge, and it all means very little in the broad scope of the world.
I'm also old enough and wise enough to know that life is where you land, either live and enjoy it or suffer and die.
I've developed a technique of breaking down my day into simple words or catch phrases:
Lewisburg: The name of the small town to the east that received the Amazon package destined for me in Lawrenceburg. I called that post office today and spoke to a great guy who confirmed that my new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 that should have been in my hands Sunday was totally out floating around the universe.
Ashley: The Amazon rep I contacted who called me back from a Seattle prefix but was actually in Uruguay. Sweet voice, great English, it felt like a date and then she ordered me a new watch, be here tomorrow.
MonarchC: Riley and Brian's website https://monarchc.com is now on security steroids and the url is ready for business cards. Brian's wife is working on content.
Fifty Two: The number of days before I can see the neurologist. Tremors are worsening, quality of life is going to hell and I need drugs now. I'll be melting on the sidewalk as a quivering blob of mush before Dec 11.
All of my latest toys have arrived, they've been installed and connected, and everything works great.
I've placed two wifi hubs behind my main tv in the living room driven by ethernet from my office, where I sleep, and wifi no longer emanates from there because it's off.
One hub drives my Echo (pre-original) along with the house smart devices like lights and coffee. The other hub provides internet to my phone, tablets, smart watch and the Ring camera mounted outside facing the street.
When I walk outside now my screens start buzzing and my wrist starts a knocking. I am so glad to have made it to 2020 and still have the smarts to pull this off!
My neighbor brought over a piece of wire from a new grain silo he's wiring. Then he drove me to the site and let me climb inside to shoot a video.
The wire is the diameter of a dime and it's a bitch to bend.
I did a good thing today. Faced with 50 days before I can see a specialist to deal with the genetic Parkinsons that's kicking my ass, I stopped by my local clinic and walked out with a prescription for dopamine. I told the doctor straight up that I take no meds and proud of it, but I need this one.
He initially said that taking it could skew the official diagnosis but I told him that if it worked, it would validate it. He smiled, and agreed. Doctor visit with my medicare advantage: $10.
I had them send the script to my local Walgreens and I went home for a bit so they could fill it and found Steph waiting, so we drove down to Alabama for lunch. When we got back they didn't have the drug in stock, not until tomorrow, and it costs $85 for a sixty day supply. I gave them my medicare advantage card and, $10.
This is the lowest level of dopamine dispensed. I'll take it and I would be thrilled if the tremors settled down in the slightest. Armed with 49 days of dopamine consumption history I will see the neurologist on Dec 11, and we can tweak the dosage from there.
This teddy bear was a gift to me when I was born prematurely and placed into an iron lung for a week down in southern California more than 74 years ago.
How it has remained in my life despite losing all of my possessions multiple times over, is a magical mystery.
A1C is a fraud of big pharma and there is nothing to lower. I'm in the B&P with dopamine corner and there is plenty to lower.
No human contact today, good football, sweet pussy and life vibes on...
I have two wifi connections sitting by my living room TV. One controls the house and one controls my devices. If you walk in my place all you have to do is scan the code on my wall to hook up to devices.
btw: This is what I was doing four years ago.
The Place app I wrote for this blog has more than a million hits. Each hit represents someone around the world looking at it, and since the app itself is only presented within the blog, they are all visiting oldmanjim.com. Along with the other apps, that's over two million visits since I created it two years ago.
I sometimes tend to dump my heart into a post for the world to see and it feels good! Later on I may wake up in the middle of the night and trash it. I have 25 such posts currently tucked away.
Amazon/USPS shipping is falling apart in my neck of the woods. After the debacle with my watch where I had to cancel and reorder because it got lost, I ordered a couple of things on Sunday (watch band, key chain light) and it should have arrived Monday morning. Here you go!
Sunday, October 25
*** order placed, package has shipped
• 11:44 PM arrived at Nashville, TN
*** at this point, ready for early morning USPS ship down to Lawrenceburg.
Monday, October 26
*** but for some reason, it went to Kentucky
• 10:05 AM arrived at Horse Cave, KY US
*** and by the end of the day, at a different Kentucky location
• 10:03 PM arrived at Louisville Ky
• 11:03 PM arrived at Louisville Ky
*** finally left Kentucky
• 11:57 PM left Louisville, KY
Tuesday, October 27
*** ooops, now it really left Kentucky
• 4:41 AM left Louisville, KY
*** and arrived back in Nashville
• 7:45 AM arrived at Nashville, TN
*** yey! left Nashville, again
• 8:29 AM left Nashville, TN
*** and left again
• 8:44 AM left Nashville, TN
*** and back again
• 9:57 AM arrived at Nashville, TN
*** spent the morning in Nashville, left again
• 1:31 PM left Nashville TN
Wednesday, October 28
*** no idea where it's at!
• 3:34 AM really left Nashville TN
• 5:14 AM arrived at Pulaski, TN
*** why 20 miles down the road?
• 6:51 AM arrived at Lawrenceburg, TN
*** maybe it will make the truck this morning?
• 9:30 AM arrived at my house
I'm a fan of Amazon and I really think the issue is with the USPS. I was in text contact with an Amazon rep early this morning who apologized for the delay, gave me a $30 credit towards my next order and suddenly the shipment accelerated, landing in my box an hour earlier than everyday normal delivery.
It really pays to do your civic duty, I got a free pen!
If Biden somehow pulls this off, which I strongly believe he won't, I'm going to bail on this country and drag my sad old Parkinsons ridden body down to Roatan Honduras and die on a beach as a happy, fucked up, maybe well fucked, gringo.
Hey wait, that doesn't sound so bad, can I change my vote?
Back in 1974 I lived in Oakland, CA with my Japanese wife Marci. Our best friends were Dave and Pam, Dave and I went to high school together and Pam was his Chinese girlfriend from Sacramento.
One night they headed across the Bay so Pam could participate in the Miss Chinatown USA beauty pageant. Marci and I both had early mornings so we didn't go but at 0200 in the morning Dave called and said she had won!
He also said he had to go somewhere and asked me to be her escort in the upcoming week of festivities in Chinatown and I said hell ya! We did lots of great dinners with San Francisco city big shots, and had a blast.
Later that year I landed in Sacramento, coming back from a Greyhound bus trip. I had bonded with a bunch of good old boys on the bus and we were hanging out in front of the station when Pam pulled up in her convertible, jumped out wearing a halter top and shorts and ran up and embraced me. As we drove off, the boys were scraping their jaws off the sidewalk.
Years later she was working as a model in L.A. and I got to hang out with her backstage at a show. It was my turn to scrape my jaw off the carpet from hanging out with a bunch of beautiful naked women. Anyway, life moved on, we all lost touch and all I have is memories, which I have just shared with you.
No description needed here...
Catfish, onion rings, hush puppies and coleslaw. In a roadside diner in southern Tennessee. The waitresses were dressed up as catsup and mustard and my lunch partner Daniel was cracking sexual innuendo jokes to them and they just dripped all over the table.
Then we went north of town into amish country where I bought some local grown goat cheese, pickles and honey from a couple different small farms. The taste combination was amazing and I need to introduce the local honey into the mix. Oh, and we stopped by the drag strip and a couple antique stores.
I live at the end of a southern Tennessee dead-end street and my cat Piper is the queen of the neighborhood. Since we've been here she's had to compete with dogs and cats, but they're all gone now and she loves it.
She even has me totally wrapped around her tail, I'm her doorman, chef, and masseuse. We have a running bet about who's going to outlive the other but there's nothing in place, in the event of either.
It's the day before election day and I'm just hunkered down, watching the world and orgasiming over the connections between my Samsung watch and phone, my old original Echo, and my living space. Then I walked down to my creek:
For the last few years I've been doing without cell phones, didn't own one, but now I've allowed myself to sink back into that wonderful magical world of connectivity where my watch, my phone and my brain are now on the same page. So are my two tablets and a laptop, so is my vintage Echo and all of the smart devices around me, so is my blazingly fast development box and her wide screen monitor. We all be hooked up.
Now I can take some time to sit next to my baby, and rub her:
Then I ate some local honey to fight off the allergies:
I read something recently that listed a couple of side effects from Parkinsons as hallucinations and delusions. Ha! That's a long way off.
Thanks for watching Piper this weekend and I really want you to enjoy the space, unlike the last full day off you had and you didn't show up until late and then I don't think you spent the night.
Be down here Friday morning at 0800, I'll buy you breakfast at that place in the square and then leave you to binge watch the Queen's Gambit on Netflix, enjoy my internet connection and boss the house around with your voice.
You can then work Saturday out as you wish and I'll be back home on Sunday. Is it a date?
Wait, this is email, right?
Piper, in my lap.
My friend Carol called me last night from a nursing home in Rexburg Idaho. She was struck down as a young girl with a disease that landed her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, and I used to drove her around in my bus. I normally don't answer calls from out of state but this one came from Idaho and I recognized her voice instantly.
We had a nice chat and she finally asked me why I moved to Tennessee and I didn't have an answer. Am I glad I ended up here? No. Another holiday season is approaching and I only have two friends, Steph and my next door neighbor Daniel. Steph's grand-daughters that I grew to love are no longer in my life, I'm not involved in anything here other than staying alive, and my body is bailing on me.
But hey, I ain't bitching, how could I having known Carol, I'm just commenting on my life because this is my blog and I can. At least here in the South there are new places to explore and I'm doing that tomorrow...
• My grandfather, James King.
• My grandmother's sister (Idelle or Irene).
• My grandmother, Maude Erway.
• My grandmother's sister (Idelle or Irene).
• My younger sister Lorelle, still alive.
• My mom.
• My older brother Dana, still alive I think.
• Me, barely alive.
The towhead kid on the left is my grandfather in Joplin, MO. So for all my grandchildren out there, those are your great-great-great grandparents.
Richard Tilton King (1874-1943), James Lloyd King (1897-1968), Walter (top), Unknown (bottom), Thelie May Smith (1879-1899). She only lived for 20 years?, and they were both from Illinois. I need to research that date...
In the event that there were doubters about the fact that the teddy bear in my corner has been with me since birth, here's a shot taken with my wayback lens. Only made it back to about one year old, but come on, trust me.
That's my grandmother and brother, btw...
I've collected a lot of great photos of my boy Riley as we adventured through his young life, along with some cool craft stuff. I realized that I needed to get this stuff into his hands, it's his legacy, so I created a book.
Shipping it off to the kids shortly and btw there's a back story. I tormented Riley for years with the shots of him in the tub with the girl, and I did it one last time here :-) Now you can destroy them son!
Printed photographs are becoming rare. I've been a serious photographer for fifty years, investing a small fortune in equipment (Nikon guy), taken tens of thousands of photos, and now I'm down to just a few.
The secret to keeping your photos and equipment intact is to never leave your house, but then all you would have is pictures of your house! I had all of my equipment stolen one day back in Oakland, CA by friends of my daughter Becky who were partying there when I was at work. Never did recover it. I had my entire photo collection, with the exception of a few prints, burned up in a fireplace by Riley's jealous mom, when I was at work.
Now I live alone, in a digital age, and I suppose that is for the best...
Albert Erway (1/11/1811) was the father of Mark Erway who was the father of Maude Erway who was the mother of Janice King who was my mom. He was my great great grandfather and lived to be my age now. Mark lived to the age of 98.
Backstory: Albert was a rancher and businessman famous for getting down to his last dime a few times and always bouncing back (sounds familar) and Mark was the head stagecoach driver for the Sparks to Virginia City run (sounds familiar).
I drove to David Crockett State Park this morning to find a hiking trail and hooked up with a stranger for a hike. We got half way up a hill and just sat down and talked, turned out she rode on the tubing bus with me twice last summer. She took my picture, I took hers, and never got her name.
Back home, neighbor Daniel brought over a couple of cool old things he just found, a 1945 pressure gauge and a 1900 house electrical meter. Good day!
The battle against darkness and tremors rages on. Nameless people pass through my life. I walk in circles by my creek, clean and sober, just to stay alive. No one really knows me, or cares to. It's time to say good night.
My Galaxy Watch 3 45mm counts every step, monitors my heart and tells me I sleep too much.
...and then I go to take a shower and there aint no water.
I rode up to the huge Manheim auto auction lot today to bring some vehicles down to Lawrenceburg.
Ten million Americans who were employed in February remain without a job and 60% of businesses closed because of Covid will never reopen. Now, China is issuing debt at negative interest rates, taking cash out of western economies as they try to recover, and theirs is the only major economy in the world expected to grow in 2020. Well played, and with Joe in their pocket, checkmate...
Here's a couple shots from the past, Riley at a Seattle car show and me hanging with the Sunlight Foundation folks in Phoenix after placing second in their nationwide programming contest.
While walking the creek lately I've noticed this object stuck in a ripple. It's been there for three days now, unable to escape as forces from both sides keep it trapped. I thought about making this a comparison to my existence, but couldn't make the stretch...
I'm not stuck, I make a daily conscious decision to be here, until I don't.
I'm so excited, Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I'm ready. I'll be keeping the head count here below the state mandated eight people (1) and just family members only (me and Piper).
As Thanksgiving approaches, all of the regrets and mistakes I've made over the last 74 years are swirling around my brain like dust devils in the desert. I'm very grateful that nobody died or was seriously hurt by my presence here on earth and that I never ended up in prison. It's the big things in life that matter most, and the rest you just deal with...
I was hanging out with my neighbor this afternoon at his place looking at pictures of his relatives when suddenly my phone woke up and my watch started beeping so I opened my phone screen and a bearded face with a funky hat appeared. It was Santa, otherwise known as my great friend Dave from Kent, WA that I haven't talked to in years, and his wife Sue!
They got my number from Riley, called with Duo, looked terrific and we chatted for twenty minutes. Totally made me want to be there firing up a blunt with my old friends. Oh well, it's Tennessee for the moment...
I texted him and asked for a picture to put here, and this is what I got:
Left to right: Son Jereme and wife, Sue, Dave, grandkids Dakota and Riley.
Left to right: Daughter Sabrina, Dave, Nick, grandkids below: Gianna and Lola.
Riley and I watched Jereme and Sabrina grow up and it's very cool that Jereme named one of his kids after my boy. :-)
I developed an app a while back called 4xmaps that nobody uses but me. It's great for plotting a destination and then getting four different views from the major mapping platforms.
Today's destination is a marina off Hwy 72 in Alabama where little Shoal Creek in my backyard becomes big and dumps into the Tennessee River.
Here's another app I wrote that nobody uses called OMJRoute that plots the 32 mile trip from my front door to the marina.
...and yes, that little blue line on the left is Shoal Creek.
It's funny how quickly depression can turn into anger.