Thursday, April 28, 2022

Spring is Late

So - how is spring progressing in your neck of the woods?  We were supposed to have the heating and cooling guy out today to check the air conditioning prior to summer.  He called this morning to cancel because it is too cold.  It has to be 70 degrees for him to do his work.  He mentioned to Jim that the Weather Channel was reporting that this is the coldest spring in Spokane in eleven years.  Welcome to the Inland Empire, folks.

This was April 15, a mere 13 days ago.  It was not a lot of snow, and it should be the last.  However, the nights are still chilly, flirting with freezing.  So the air mass is not warming up yet.

Today we walked up the big hill behind the house.  It was cool but tolerable.  Here we are at the giant rock at the top of the hill.  It hasn't changed much from last year, still big, still basalt.  Our neighborhood is built upon basalt outcroppings, and next to them as well.  TDS, the fiber company, called our HOA president and advised him that they are reconsidering putting fiber in here.  There is much rock, and a couple of really long driveways that are giving them pause.  So, it may or may not happen.

The yellow flowers are growing well on the sunny side of the hill.

This is some sort of rangy looking tree/bush in bloom up there.  No idea what it might be.

It was a nice walk that proved, once again, that there is zero cross over between walking uphill, spin biking, and rowing machines.  We're really hoping that there is cross over between road biking and spin biking.  We've both been diligent all winter and I am really hoping for some return on sweat equity on the bikes.

In the news of the terrible, there is the current lock down of Shanghai, and the likely upcoming lock down of Beijing.  From Yahoo news we learn the following.

Thousands of air fryers are stuck in factories, warehouses and ports in central China, where shutdowns have stalled millions of dollars worth of inventory for Yedi Houseware, a family-run business in Los Angeles.

How quickly those backlogged appliances make it to the United States could have wide-ranging implications across the U.S. economy, as domestic manufacturers and retailers brace for another round of disruptions from recent covid-related shutdowns in Shanghai, China's largest city. White House officials are paying close attention to the disruptions to monitor the potential impact on the U.S. economy.

"Things are getting crazy again," said Bobby Djavaheri, the company's president. "Everything is halted. There are closures this very minute that are adding to the supply chain nightmare we've been experiencing for two years."

Other executives are dealing with similar scrambles as the situation in China appears to change every day, sweeping up many different sectors.

Widespread covid outbreaks in China have bought entire cities to a standstill and hobbled manufacturing and shipping hubs throughout the country. An estimated 373 million people - or about one-quarter of China's population - have been in covid-related lock downs in recent weeks because of what is known as the country's zero covid policy, according to economists at Nomura Holdings. There are also fears that new lock downs could soon take hold in the capital city, Beijing, escalating the threat to the global economic recovery.

Anxiety over new disruptions has already caused the Chinese stock market to fall sharply, weighing on U.S. stock indexes as well.

And there are signs things could only get worse. Continuing lock downs in Shanghai - a major hub for America's semiconductor and electronics supply chains - has set up automakers, electronics companies and consumer goods firms for months of delays and higher costs.

I suppose if you need something made in China, buy it now.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Working in the Yard and Lying Liars

We have been doing more home improvement.  Actually, it was prophylactic home improvement.  First there was the matter of a smoke alarm.  Notice how high up in the air Jim is.  That's an eight foot ladder.  The smoke alarm is hard wired.  Originally he went up to change the battery.  It must have a battery in the event of a power outage.  After the battery change it started chirping.  It chirped for awhile, then it stopped.  At this point we no longer had faith in the smoke detector because its manufacturing date was 1999.  They're only good for ten years.  So Jim removed all of it.  We bought a cover for the electrical box and installed a new detector at a lower altitude.  We were concerned that it might start up the chirping again in the middle of the night, the 8 foot ladder would have to be brought in from the garage, and no one would get any sleep.

The toilet flooding in the downstairs has left scars on my psyche.  Despite replacing the float in the powder room toilet, it was still making the occasional sound that suggested impending doom.  So, we bought a set of replacement toilet guts.  We went to Ace, the home of the "helpful hardware man."  They have a new policy that if you're wearing a mask, you must remain at the front of the store, under surveillance and they'll go get your items for you, or you must be escorted through the store.  I get that they are having a shop lifting problem, but I don't think that profiling elderly people wearing masks as potential thieves is going to generate any customer loyalty.  When I questioned an employee about their reasoning, they said they couldn't identify people on the cameras if they had masks on. This is a stupid policy.  But I digress.  Here is Jim on the floor.

It's a very limited space.  Here is me, shortening up a chain that's part of the works.

The new toilet parts no longer have the floating ball.  They've gone to a part that floats up and down on the vertical thing on the left.  I have no idea what that would be called.

As of now, all three toilets have the new and improved interior parts, and hopefully I will not have to speak of these things again.

The tulip is blooming.  Perhaps we'll plant more bulbs in the fall.

By now, we all know about DeathSantis banning math books in Florida because they allegedly contain Critical Race Theory.  No proof of this has been forthcoming.  Apparently the only text book company who has acceptable books is Houston based Accelerated Learning.  It turns out that up until 2020, the CEO of The Carlyle Group, the global investment group that acquired Accelerated in 2018, was none other than the newly-elected government of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin. He had been with Carlyle for 25 years.  Virginia is proposing legislation that is the same as Florida's.  Koch Industries owns stock in the Carlyle group.  The Kochs have interfered in school curricula for years. There is more than can be read here.

Marjorie Taylor Greene was called upon to testify under oath today about whether or not she participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection.  In order to avoid perjuring herself, she went with the "I don't recall" defense.  She's such a liar.  She did this thing - own it.

Kevin McCarthy has also been outed as being a liar.  He claimed he did not think the orange ectoplasm should have resigned after inciting the insurrection.  He's recorded on tape talking to Rep. Liz Cheney about thinking about calling the ectoplasm and encouraging him to do exactly that.  Liar, they are all liars.  The question is who recorded the conversation.  Ms. Cheney says it wasn't her.  Perhaps it was Rep. Elise Stefanik who wants McCarthy's job.  It's unlikely that there will be any consequences for any of these things, there are two systems of justice in this country.

Today started out nice.  Jim had previously removed an ugly spirea from along the path.  Today we continued digging and pulling out roots.  It's a surface rooter, and there were many.  We replaced it with a box wood.  Now we have a giant pink bucket full of dirt from the hole.  It has a high clay content.

We also got the geraniums put in the planters.  I'm not sure how well this installation will do, they're in shade starting about 1:00 in the afternoon.  We'll see, the mantra here is produce or die.  The pot below will do well, they have full sun all day.

There is one more ugly bush to dig up.  We need to find a replacement that is less ugly.  I had been thinking about forsythia until I realized how big they get, so nope.  Something else will be purchased.

Other than this, I have nothing else on offer.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

April 16, 2022 - Updated

Ho hum.  Not too much is happening here.  Just the usual disbelief at how stupid some republicans are being about education.  First there was stop teaching CRT (which is taught in law school), then it was don't say gay, and now they're going after math text books.  It's not clear to me what their problem is with math. 

I do not watch Fox news.  However, from time to time people will post clips from Tucker Carlson's shows on Twitter so they can mock him for his facial expressions and the stupid things he has said.  For some time, Tuck Tuck (as we call him) has been on a tear about declining levels of testosterone among men.  He keeps quoting 10% drops per decade.  He is very concerned.  Tuck Tuck has produced a documentary titled "The End of Men" detailing just how bad things are.  He's done a trailer for the documentary!  It's the most amazing thing I have seen in quite some time, maybe ever.  Go watch this, click here.

Other than this, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Update to post:

When I saw this scene in the trailer, I did not know what it was.   Tesla charging station maybe?  No, it's red light therapy.

Go here and listen to Tuck Tuck and a sports professional discuss the massive amount of data available to show how this is a good thing.  They also discuss the benefits of bromeopathic treatments.  You can not make this stuff up.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

KBJ and Random Stuff

Greetings Earthlings.  How are things with you?  I've had a few days of feeling not great, if this continues I believe I will break out a Covid test.  There has been general malaise, and the dreaded sore throat associated with BA.2.

Last Thursday was a huge day in jurisprudence with the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson.  Despite the despicable behavior of the Republicans, who all, with the exception of Mitt Romney, left the floor immediately after the vote, it was a wonderful thing to see.   Do you not love this photo of her daughter?  Ted Cruz should be so lucky to get that look from his daughters.

Sunset last night.

TDS, the provider of fiber optic in Spokane, is closing in on us.  People have been out squirting paint on the road, the driveways and our neighbor's grass.  Recently they were moving up the street with ground penetrating radar to locate the water mains.

There was a trip to Yoke's and this time I remembered to take my camera with me.  It's a beautiful store, it's new and it's large.  Plus, it smells good.  Their cold cuts vendor is  grave disappointment, however, so food acquisition will probably require trips to Winco, Safeway and Yoke's.  It's not like any of these places are far way, so it's no big deal, but one always hopes for a single supplier.

We were driving somewhere, and this guy came up the sidewalk at a high rate of speed, rode into the street, passed a standing line of cars on the right, made a right and then a left.  He scared the living snot out of us because neither one of us caught the motion in the mirrors, and would hate to turn into someone.  He's on an electric unicycle.  I guess they've been around for awhile, but this is the first time we've seen one in Spokane.  Unfortunately, Jim and I are too old for this, they look like fun.

This is an amazing ceremonial first pitch.  Go here to play the video, it's just amazing.  Not only is she graceful, she's got a great arm.

What is it like to live in Russia if you're not an oligarch?  It's sort of like this.  "According to a new report by Russia’s state statistical agency, Rosstat, 35 million Russians live in houses or apartments without indoor toilets, 47 million do not have hot water, 29 million don’t have any running water inside their residences, and 22 million do not have central heating (
In fact, only 62.7 percent of the Russian population has the usual accoutrements of modern existence – water in the house, plumbing, heating and gas or electric ranges, Rosstat says, a fact that must seem incredible to those who visit only Moscow or St. Petersburg but a fact of life for those who lives beyond the ring roads of the capitals."  Apparently the Russian troops that were defiling the homes of Ukranians were shocked at the presence of running water, flush toilets, washing machines and Nutella.  More can be found here

So yeah, let's talk about how the people of Ukraine are "baby Russians."

If you've been following the elections in France, you're aware of the fact that Le Pen is gaining on Macron.  She is an avowed supporter of the orange ectoplasm and Putin.  It seems odd that the French would want her.  Angus linked to an article this morning that touches on the why of this.  It's a fascinating read, and reminds me somewhat of rural America.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Not a Great Day, Winco and Jim's Dad

Today has not been such a good day.  We were up at 8:00 to prepare to leave for the doctor's appointment we booked a month ago.  Apparently, although there are many hospitals in Spokane, there are very few family doctors.  Our first attempt required two months before we could get a new patient appointment, two days before we were supposed to go, they informed us that the doctor was moving into one of the high rise buildings in a very crowded part of town with limited parking.  We cancelled.  Anyway, today was scheduled with a Physician's Assistant in a small practice.  I went into the office to turn on the agave's grow lights and nothing happened.  Many, but not all, lights were out in the house.  Worse, the garage was dark.  Since the garage door had been locked last night, we could not raise it manually.  So we called and cancelled our 10:00 appointment, and they rescheduled for two weeks out.  At 10:00 exactly, the power that had been out, came back on.  I'm feeling a little defeated by all of this.  We need a primary care doc to write prescriptions, it we don't find one we're going to end up driving to Tucson to see our doctor there in May.  I would really prefer not to do that.

We got our second booster yesterday, and this one has really whooped me.  My arm hurts into my wrist, over to my collar bone and into my shoulder.  I also have sore throat and a headache.  Hopefully this will be gone by tomorrow.  This has been my first bad reaction to the Pfizer vaccine.  I think my malaise is not helping my disappointment with not getting in to see the PA and two more weeks of not knowing if we'll have a local doctor.

Yesterday we went to Winco again.  It's a pretty cool store.  They don't take credit cards, and you have to bag your own groceries.  Generally the lines move fairly quickly.  We got behind two elderly ladies who were making a career out of emptying their cart, and then bagging.  We switched lines, as we left the store they still were not done.  Anyway, Napa cabbage is $2.50 a pound at Safeway, it's $1.00 a pound at Winco.  The shredded cheese we bought at Safeway was $5.30, it's $1.99 at Winco.  Some prices are not as astounding, but nothing is any higher.  We don't like their meat counter so much, so I guess we'll be going to the Yoke's we recently discovered.  It's so much better than the one near the house. 

Asparagus $1 a pound.  $4 to $5 at Safeway.

Here is our Napa cabbage.  It did require washing, the beets above it had dripped onto it, depositing some sand.  I washed it, and then rolled it up in my lovely towels hand woven by Joanne and let it dry in the refrigerator.  I was feeling very domestic.  It's the first time I've cooked it, they're very heavy so I would not buy it at Safeway prices.

They have a huge bulk food section.  You can buy bulk cornstarch, Red Mill flour, sugar and etc.  There are also bulk Moon Pies.  When I was a kid, the snack of choice was a Moon Pie and an RC cola.  Southern, very southern.

We also picked up this photo of Jim's Dad from the framing lady.  It turned out really well.  We carried the photo around in the bus for about eleven years, so it was nice for him to see the light of day.  It was taken after Pierce returned from Europe after WWII, at a wedding he attended.

In news of Ukraine, it appears that the mobile crematoriums the russians brought with them were never for their dead.  They were brought to cover up evidence of their planned genocide.  These people are horrible.

Thanks to Hans for telling us to try Winco. 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Wind, Plumbing and Evil

It is windy today!  There have been some gusts to 60 mph, causing sporadic power outages.  Our power has stayed on, for which I am very grateful.  We thought about bringing up the camp stove, figuring if we got it out we wouldn't need it.

We spent yesterday replacing the guts of the downstairs toilet.  The floating ball broke off the arm, which caused the tank to flood immediately, sending water everywhere.  The force of the water pressure is very strong here.  We ended up using all the towels in the house to get the water off the floor.   The key learnings from that event were, 1) never ignore the toilet when it starts making funny noises, and 2) watch the youtube video first before doing anything.  Instructions are ok, but they frequently only cover the what, and not the how.  

Other than that, there is not much to say, except for wondering how the Russian conscripts became so evil in their young lives.  As bad as Bucha is, one wonders what will be found in Mariupol.

From Zelensky's address to the Russians:  "How did all this become possible? Russian mothers! Even if you raised looters, how did they also become butchers?"

I will leave you with a much better image.  From @domdyer70 on twitter, "Photographer took the perfect picture of diving kingfisher after six years and 720,000 shots to get it right. Photo: Mario Cea Sanchez."