Sunday, February 28, 2021

Vaccines and Random Stuff

A new house is going in on a corner lot in the neighborhood.  Observe the location of the existing wall.  Observe the fact that there is about six inches of dirt on the new house side of the wall.  It's astonishing to me that the wall is still standing.  Dirt here is very similar to concrete, so hopefully it won't collapse like dirt in Washington would.  However, if it were my wall, I'd like to see a little more dirt on the other side.  We always wonder if surveying takes place before or after construction.  If you refer back to this post, you can see what we think was a disputed property line.

Today I got my first Covid vaccine.  The POD is using Pfizer so the next one is 21 days out.  The state has expanded the size of the site since they took it away from Tucson Medical Center.  Same basic layout, but bigger.  They have a ton of people working there, waving orange flags and pointing where they want you to go.  They're very careful to holler out "car moving" so that people know there is a vehicle in motion near the staff.  The largest improvement is that they come out to your car and schedule your next appointment while you're waiting to see if there will be anaphylactic shock due to an allergic response.  So far, so good.  I'm a little tired, but that's it.

The weather today is unpleasant.  There is a frontal passage moving north of us, whipping up a lot of wind and cold air.  We're hoping it will be done by tomorrow.

Our lemon tree has one fruit left on the tree that is not ready to come off yet.  It's also putting out blossoms.

The prickly pear outside the wall is looking much better.  The one day of rain we got awhile back has allowed him to plump up.  The ocotillo is also leafing out.

As I previously said, for about 20 seconds, I had some vain hope that the republicans would revert to human status after the defeat of the orange ectoplasm.  Boy howdy was I wrong.  Arizona wants to have an amendment to the state constitution that would allow the state legislature to choose the electors for the presidency regardless of who carried the state.  One wonders why we would bother to actually hold elections.  You can read more about it here.  They also want to undo twenty years of early voting by mail, something that republicans like as much as democrats.  They're just shameless.

I've been watching snippets of AFPAC and CPAC on twitter because that's all I can stand.  It was interesting to see Nick Fuentes, white supremacist and insurrectionist, take out after Madison Cawthorn at AFPAC.  To be clear, I think Cawthorn is human refuse; he's a liar and a sexual predator.  However, Fuentes was beyond the pale with his attack.  He referenced Cawthorn being in a wheel chair, and then referenced Cawthorn's frequent statements that he was going to "stand up" to the democrats.  Fuentes went on to ask "how's he going to do that?  He's in a wheel chair."  The people in the audience actually laughed and clapped at this.  These people are shameful.  Fuentes' address is here if you're interested.  Both Fuentes and Lying Ted Cruz have adopted the tone and cadence of stand up comedians.  Too bad they're not funny.  One of our congressional representatives, Paul Gosar, has filed a request for someone to proxy vote for him due to the continuing health emergency.  He can't go to work, but he was able to attend AFPAC and CPAC.  He's been disowned by his parents and siblings because he is so evil.

It's the last day of February and it's going to freeze.  It's too windy to cover the bougainvillea, so I guess it will be something.  I'd been thinking about cutting it back, procrastination was good in this case.


Monday, February 22, 2021

What We've Seen Lately

Greetings Earthings!  What have you been up to?  I have been up to not very much.  We're still staying away from people.  So far, our vaccine appointments have not been cancelled.  Mine is for this Sunday, hopefully by then more doses will have arrived in AZ.  With any luck, Governor Ducey will let some of us poor people in Tucson have some of them.  The bulk of the vaccines go to Maricopa country, a Republican strong hold. 

Our next door neighbors are gone. We don't know if they just went somewhere, or if they returned to the frozen north from whence they came.  I can't imagine going back to the northern tier this early.  So, we've been harvesting the lemon tree in their absence (I have permission).  This year I plan on doing it in stages, last year we were sort of over whelmed by the lemons.  This is the first haul, the neighbor's tree is on the left, our tree's most recent effort is on the right.

There was washing of the lemons, zesting of the lemons and then juicing.  It worked out to be an ice tray and a half.  That much exposure to lemon juice is tough on the hands.  It took an application of Aquafor and Nivea overnight to overcome the damage.

There are not very many squirrels in this area.  We have one who visits us from time to time.

He saw me inside taking his picture.

There have been interesting skies.

Today we were up and out for a doctor's appointment.  It's been pretty windy, and the valley was full of dust.  You can see the layer.

We got behind a training ride on the road.  These people were somewhat annoying, they were not single file.  There is a good shoulder there and they should be to the right of the fog stripe.  This sort of behavior makes car people angry and then they run over other cyclists.

This is the Modern Streetcar.  People in cars seem to run into them with great regularity.  The car in front of us seemed to be oblivious to the fact that he needed to move over.

Texas continues to suffer from the recent weather.  The current crisis is a shortage of water as well as insane power bills.  People who normally pay $200 a month are receiving bills in the thousands of dollars.  The Texasmonthly did a good piece on what happened. 

Under the deregulation scheme passed by the Legislature more than two decades ago, Texas has a market design that allows generators to make money only by selling juice—not for investing in equipment that could help produce extra power in the event of an emergency. Critics contend that this approach, part and parcel of Texas’s aversion to regulation, makes the state’s energy system less reliable, even as it boosts profits for some market participants. Based on their biographies on the ERCOT website, at least eleven of the fifteen ERCOT board members have current or prior ties to the energy industry.

Griddy, a power provider, had to buy power on the spot market, which is expensive.  They're passing the increased costs on to the consumers.   After the outages worsened, politicians immediately started in on a new big lie, blaming the problems on wind and solar.  It wasn't the fault of renewables, it was coal, gas and nuclear that failed big.  That, and the fact that a significant sector of the industry was down for maintenance.  Ultimately, the system performed according to its design.  It's designed to cut costs, save money, and make a profit for the owners.  It's not designed to have excess capacity, function in extreme cold, or to connect to the big grid for help if things are dire.  Even now, conservative bloggers are saying the system was down due to over dependence on renewables, and that winterizing is stupid because this was a 100 year storm.  The ice storm of 2011 apparently has been forgotten.  I'm going to be interested to see if the citizens are willing to continue down this path of not being prepared for cold.

That's it - that's all I've seen.

Friday, February 19, 2021


We rode today, it was not a fun ride.  Both of us are tired, I think we're due for a complete and total news blackout.  Reading about Steve Bannon talking about the republicans taking the house in 2022, and then impeaching Biden for stealing the election just put me over the edge.  

Anyway, there was this on twitter which was funny.  Despite what Cruz originally said about escorting his kids to Mexico, it turned out that his wife planned the whole trip using a group text.  At least one person on the text list sent a copy to the NYT.  Karma, you know.

Remember him from January 6?

The Texas disaster continues to unfold.  It's warming up, so now all of the previously frozen pipes will begin leaking.  It's going to be bad for awhile.  AOC, who was initially blamed for the power outages, has raised money for relief efforts and is going there with cash.  Ted Cruz went to Cancun and lied about it. 

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Vaccine Appointment and Texas

I have a vaccine appointment with the state!  It was an aggravating website, you'd pick a time, then they would make you agree to three different things, and then it was back to the appointment time, which was gone at that point.  Each and every appointment time, you had to agree to the three things.  Finally I got a clue that everybody was marching through the time slots, so I went to the last day, and got one in the morning.  Hopefully the doses will still be available by then.  It's Moderna, which has a 28 day separation between shots.  Pfizer is only 21, which would have been better, but we are where we are and it is what it is.  So, now I will quit whining about the appointment process, unless I get cancelled.

This morning I learned something while waiting for the vaccine portal to open.  There is an eastern power grid, and western power grid, and there is Texas.

The Texas grid is privately owned, and the feds do not regulate it.  They can't share power with the rest of the country, and there is no federal oversight on maintenance and upgrades of the grid.  Factors driving the current outages are: frozen instruments at natural gas, coal and nuclear facilities as well as limited supplies of natural gas.  The lack of pressure in the gas lines is hampering restoration of power.  The wind turbines are currently frozen, but their contribution to the outages is not significant.  

Senators Cornyn and Cruz and Representative Crenshaw have been taking shots at California's rolling blackouts.  Today they're blaming the Green New Deal (not implemented), AOC and Bernie Sanders for Texas' current problems.  These guys just do not know when to get off of Twitter.

 More of the taking shots at California.

You can read more about this at Vox, which can be found here.

Today it's cold (relatively speaking) and windy.  There does not seem to be much appetite for gearing up and getting out on the bikes.  So, I think we will get the shop vac out and vacuum the ceiling fans.  Yay!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Shots and Cooking

Well, other than the acquittal, yesterday was a  very good day for Jim.  He got shot number one.  His path to the vaccine was painless.  TMC (Tucson Medical Center) sent him a scheduling token that allowed him to log on to the portal and schedule an appointment for the first shot.  By the time we got home, we had received the token for shot number two.  Painless!  Me, I'm going to spend Tuesday trying to get an appointment with the state or with Walgreens.  The state has allowed the various locales to decide who they will or will not vaccinate, and many sites are still limiting to 75 and up. The state run sites and Walgreens are 65 and up.

Look at this crane looming over Speedway.  It's a very large crane.  UofA is building even more student housing.  

I guess they think students will eventually return to in person classes, and they need somewhere to warehouse them.  It's better that they're contained in one location, rather than spread out through the neighborhoods, having large, noisy parties.

Then it was on to the UofA campus, which is doing both drive through and walk-in (with an appointment) vaccinations.  They have many people with orange flags directing traffic.  The first stop is checking your id, and then verifying you really have an appointment.

Then there is filling out the health questionnaire;  followed by driving in to the vaccination tent for the stick.  Jim said the vaccinator was really good, he felt nothing.

After the shot, you're funneled into a waiting area for 15 minutes.  They ask you to open all of the car windows so that if you're in distress they can get in the car.  

Excess volunteers.  Notice the weird art in the background.  Donors like to install stuff on the grass.  It used to be possible to play touch football, but now there is so much yard furniture, it's difficult.

When we arrived they wrote the "1A" on the windshield.  I'm assuming that's one person for the vaccine, and the person is sitting in the seat labelled "A".  After the shot they write the time you got it.  Jim's appointment was for 11:45, he was vaccinated ahead of schedule.

It's good that he's getting this done.  At present, no one will go into a hardware store, and there are some things we need.  Once he's got immunity, he can go in.

After the vaccine, Jim felt fine.  We had lunch, and then did the bike route we do.  I'm glad we went yesterday, today was cold and Jim's arm hurts and he feels a little kicked. 

Last night there was a pretty good sunset.  

This was on twitter this morning.  It's a really cool rendition of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes."  The harmonies are really good.

Click here to play the video.  As it proceeds, notice how many people are singing in this, plus there is an ASL translator lower right.

This afternoon we caramelized nine onions for the freezer.  They're from Peru.  They cost less and have a less pungent odor than US onions, and they are sweeter than Vidalias and Wallawalla Sweets.  I'm hoping Fry's will keep selling them.  They're a better price performer, as well.  Then we made a marinade.  How domestic are we?  I'm still using frozen lemon juice and zest I made last March from the neighbor's lemons.  Soon it will be time to make more.  The recipe is from fifteen spatulas.  I substitute a teaspoon of oregano for the rosemary because I don't like it.  The marinade is also good on chicken.

That's it!  All I've got is vaccination and messing up the kitchen.

Update to post:  OK, this is worth seeing.  Click here.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

February 13, 2021 - Acquittal Happens


I don't think anyone really expected anything else from the republican party.  Perhaps if it had been a secret vote, as it was when Liz Cheney succeeded in keeping her leadership position, things would have been different.  However, it was done in the light of day, with the republicans scurrying back under their rocks.  After the vote, Mitch McConnell gave an impassioned speech excoriating the former president's actions before and during the insurrection/riot.  It was very brave of him.  Actually, I think he's trying to woo the big donors back into the fold. 

So, another sad day for democracy.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

February 9, 2021

Those of you who live in the northern states are no doubt aware of how steenking cold it is.  From the WAPO we learn, "In Nebraska, the extreme cold and presence of moisture near ground level has led to light pillars being spotted, the result of hexagonally shaped ice crystals in the air. It usually only happens when temperatures are exceptionally frigid."

Here we are not cold.  We are still grumbling about things.  I am grumbling about my inability to get a vaccine appointment.  Arizona is opening a new Point of Distribution, and accepting registration for it next Tuesday.  I will participate, but don't expect much more than this.

To be fair, that was from Walgreens.  They had appointments available yesterday, but I was not early enough and while I could get one for Saturday, they had no slots available for the second shot, and so would not let me sign up for anything.  The Tucson Medical Center portal has been down more than it's been up.  It's a bummer for the patient population because they can't check test results or communicate with their doctors because the Covid people keep crashing it.  I think one of the largest failings has been the inability to predict how much load there would be on the computers, and to scale up.

Earlier this week we went out to a nursery just to look at stuff.  While looking at stuff we realized they're getting much, if not most, of their stock from Monrovia.  That's the same supplier that Lowe's and Home Depot use.  The high zoot nursery marks up a lot more!  

These are what I refer to as brain cactus.  They do have a name, I just don't know what it is.

A lovely Ganesha, god of new beginnings.

I think this is a staghorn fern.  It was in the tropicals green house.  They have a white board on an easel with a list of all the insects the tropical plants will attract in Tucson.  There are many.

And here is my favorite church in Tucson - again.  It just never grows old for me.

I have not been watching the Senate trial.  The republicans and their unwillingness to even consider the evidence are too annoying.  I'm glad the democrats impeached, I'm glad the record is preserved so those who vote against conviction will go down in history as enablers of insurrection.

Rep. Joe Neguse's closing question exhorting the Senators to convict Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection: "If we pretend this didn't happen—or worse, if we let it go unanswered—who's to say that it won't happen again?"

Monday, February 8, 2021


The pandemic is wearing on my last nerve.  I'm fully aware that Jim and I have it so much better than millions of people.  We're secure economically, we're in a nice house in a friendly neighborhood, and things could be so much worse.  But still - I would like to go somewhere.

Last week we were out riding and three police cars were talking to an older couple in the street.  He had the biggest Trump flag I have ever seen.  Apparently he was driving through the neighborhood with it sticking out of the driver's window.  He was looking to start something.  A male homeowner came out into the street and (we think) told him to depart.  Things escalated to the point where the woman who lived there was frightened of this person.  After our third trip up the hill, they all dispersed.  The Trump guy came back a day or two later, doing the same thing.  This time, three cars blocked him into a cul de sac and told him he was not welcome.  He left, I hope he does not return.  It's disconcerting that people are this crazy. What's the point?  It's over, he lost. 

On the 4th, a local paper wrote in an article that Pima County's vaccine allotment has been cut from 30,000 doses to 18,000 per week.  Concurrent with that, the 70 - 74 age cohort can start signing up on Monday.  So, less doses, more people.  There are 1.047 million people in Pima county. The article is here and does a good job of highlighting the difficulties the county is having with messaging and registrations.

Anyway, I was out on the Tucson Medical Center's web site Saturday, and saw a banner that said 70 year olds could sign up.  Jim tried to sign up, but got the error message that he couldn't, not being 75.  I called and asked what's up.  The lady on the phone said this starts Monday.  I, some what exasperated, asked how would I know this from your web site.  I'm pretty sure I was not the first person to have made that phone call.  Hours later, Jim got an email saying he had a scheduling token, and to go to the portal to schedule.  That was about 5pm.  The website crashed in multiple forms of death.  We gave up, until about 9 at night, and lo and behold, we got through.  He gets his first shot this coming Saturday at at a drive through site at UofA.  We're pretty happy about the drive through part.  So that whole thing was weird and fortuitous.  The papers said it would open to 70 year olds on Monday, so I expect their website will die an agonizing death from the load.  All of this assumes that vaccines are available.  The UK variant is doubling every 10 days, so I would really like to be vaccinated sooner, rather than later.

This picture is from the 4th, as well.  It's that last good sunset since then.

Other than grumbling, I have nothing of any import what so ever, to say.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Riding and Sunset

Yesterday was a beaut.  Warm, not windy, just right.  We are now trying to ride two days in a row, then one day off.  Yesterday was day two, and we could tell it was the second day.  We've also added a trail segment to the ride.  Anyway, it was good, we were tired at the end.  Regaining fitness in one's dotage is a long, drawn out process.

When we started out, there was a helicopter hovering.  Then he dropped the nose, and flew along the sides of the hills, eventually departing the bowl via that saddle.  Jim thinks he might have been showing off a bit, being that low and that fast.  It was fun to watch.

Later the clouds moved in.  

Even later, we had a pretty good sunset.

Today we went grocery shopping.  Knowing that the UK variant is in Arizona, we spent as little time as possible in the store.  I feel positively feral, dashing up and down the aisles, running away from people whose masks are worn improperly, and in general only getting what's on the list and heading out the door.  I miss cruising the aisles, looking for something that might be interesting.  We did notice that the food from India is located under the sign that says "European Foods."  That's kind of amusing.

Other than this paltry offering, I have zippity doo-dah all to say.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Revisiting the Blooming Agave and HTML

Well - I got the photos side by side, but I'm not at all sure what sequence of keystrokes made that happen.  It would be better if either the top edge or the bottom edge were aligned, but they're not, and I'm not going to mess with it.  According to the help function, aligning stuff now requires editing of html - so we're going with this paltry effort.

Anyway, if you go back to my post of January 5, 2020 you'll see the first photo of the blooming agave parrasana, that's the photo on the right.  The photo on the left was taken yesterday. My phone camera could not focus on the buds that are coming out. Look how much the spike has grown, it's impressive.

 I took this photo today, with a camera, so you can see the flower buds.

The amount of energy expended by these plants when reproducing is always amazing to me.  It's no wonder they bloom and die.


I'm pasting the text from the help file on the subject  of side by side photos so I'll have it for later.  I'm not suggesting that you want to try this, but I don't want to lose the code.

The immediately useful thing I learned from reading the help file, is the formatting button in html mode.  I've complained (a lot) about the way the new blogger displays html.  Using the formatting button makes it look nice and easier to read.  It's the three stacked lines fifth from the left (don't count the <> button).  It spreads out the html so it's readable.

DarkUFO says: Ok. I think I've found a workaround that should work for you.

1) Create a New Post
3) Upload all your Images and Select the Size you want and set alignment to NONE
4) You should then get a block of HTML in your Post
5) Click on the Remove Formatting Icon. It's the one that looks like 3 slanted lines
6) This should display the HTML a bit nicer for you.

Each image is surrounded by an opening DIV line.

<div class="separator" style="clear: both;">

and a closing one


You need to remove all those lines of code.

 Then finally for each image you will see this code

style="display: block; padding: 1em 0; text-align: center; "

Remove the display:block; part so that it looks like this.

style="padding: 1em 0; text-align: center; "

It does work, but at present it's turned them in to two very small photos.  I read further on and apparently this is a feature and not a bug. That's what they look like in my test edit post.

A fact learned, but I still can't make the side by side look good.