Friday, June 30, 2023

Lake and Costco

Hola!  I have a question for those of you who grow tomatoes.  How do you know when it's time to pick?  I have one that's pretty red, but it's also very hard.  So, leave it on the plant or bring it in and put it on the counter until it softens up?  This is new territory for me.

We rode to the lake this morning - early.  It's currently 92, which is not as hot as many places, but hot enough.  Here is the lake.  There were very few people there.

The same can not be said for Costco today.  Today's key learning is never go there on the Friday before a holiday.  The fourth is on Tuesday, but many people will take Monday off, and party hearty.  I no longer celebrate the fourth because this country pisses me off too much.  Here is Costco.  We went because I wanted to pick up a prescription before they reshelved it.

So, let me know about the tomato.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Malfeasance, SCOTUS, and Flora

Greetings.  I have things to complain about.  Much of it may be boring to you, but it's of interest to me.

If you are planning to fly somewhere on a flight that has an gate change in the UK (starting in 2024), you should read this article.  Apparently, beforehand, you must pay 10pounds and fill out a form.  Three days later you'll be informed as to whether or not you're approved.  I can't answer the question of why is this, but I thought some of you should know.  Article is HERE.

Last January, we took the bikes in to Fairwheel Bikes in Tucson, so they could stop the brake calipers from rubbing on the rotors (a major reason why I hate disk brakes).  While we were there, they discovered that the olive and barb part of the brake cable were installed backwards.  The olive had been swapped with the barb in the brake cable.  The parts are labelled in the photo below.

The brake levers are to the left of this assembly.  Jim's bike was so impaired that the barb had migrated in to the brake lever and had to be fished out.  The take home of all this is to say that the brakes were assembled at the factory, and were primed to fail and leave us on a down hill with no ability to slow down - which is bad.  Fairwheels fixed it all and we paid for it.  The lead tech called Trek the bike manufacturer, to see if they would cover this under warranty, but they said no.  June 16, 2023, Jim received an email announcing a recall of our bikes and several others.  In addition to the recall there was an admonition to STOP RIDING THE BIKE IMMEDIATELY.  Guess what the problem was.  It was the thing we had repaired.  More info is available HERE if you're interested.  We called Trek, they called Fairwheels, and we got our money back.  So, we're happy about that.  However, this is a massive recall, many people will not know about it, and some people will be hurt as a result.  This is one of those things that shouldn't happen, and yet it does.

So, moving on to corporate malfeasance.  We have a Jeep Renegade car.  It's actually a Fiat with Jeep badging, but it's sold, maintained and warranted by Jeep.  We took the car in for an oil change and tire rotation last week.  Oil got changed, but tire rotation did not happen.  Why, you wonder.  It's because the stupid lug bolt decorative caps have swollen and pressed on to the wheel to the point where the lug bolts can not be removed.  They will have to be drilled out.  Think about this, you have a flat on a lonely country rode, get out of the car to replace the tire (this is a tire that you, the car owner had to pay for separately), and you can not remove the wheel.  You'll have to be towed in to a dealer or tire shop, order new lug bolts and wait for it all to be over.  Jeep knows this is a problem, but they continue to use the same stupid bolts.  Bolts that do not have the cap exist on the internet, Amazon and Renegade Ready are two such places.  Why does Jeep continue to use a part that they know will fail and they won't do anything about it?  Perfidy, malfeasance and capitalism are all I can come up with.  This is the part in question.

It's a solid piece with no pesky cap to swell and prevent removal.  So, we've ordered new bolts and will have to take the car back in to have them installed, and yes we will have to pay for the labor to do that.

Today, the Supreme court gutted Affirmative Action, unless you're a white or a legacy applicant.  KBJ wrote a rather scathing review of the decision.  I had to screen shot it, so it's big, but definitely worth reading.

She was such an excellent addition to the court.  We need more of her.

This was posted on twitter later: 

Let's see, is there anything else I want to complain about?  I guess I'm done.

The ground next to the path on the side yard has been over run by Common Liverwort.  I read that if you have it, it means your ground is always moist and is compacted.  So, yes, after a hard winter with snow on the ground for months, we are moist and compacted.  I don't mind it, it's sort of cute.

This is the girl form of the Liverwort.

This is the boy form of the same species.

They're actually very tiny, I had to use the macro setting to get these images.

Finally, here is my tomato that may or may not get eaten by us.  It's still fairly hard, but the color gives me hope.  It's going to be in the low 90's this week, so that should please the tomato.

That's it!  That's all I have to say.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

The Russian "Coup"

What the hell, Russia?  Last night we were watching Wagner forces heading towards Moscow.  This morning, they stopped for coffee.

This morning they were in the outskirts of Moscow.  We left and went for a bike ride.  By the time we got back, the Wagner forces were heading back out of Russia.  Their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was said to be going to Belarus to stay there.  No one knows where Putin is.  This is what Prigozhin is said to have given as a reason for leaving.

Barry McCaffrey tweeted this:  Prigozhin couldn’t get the Russian Army to come over as expected. He folded his hand. FSB will eventually detain him for investigation. Then he will be murdered in the coming 90 days. Putin immeasurably weakened. Makes him very desperate. Dangerous.

Angus had this to say on the subject. "
The leaders of Libya and Mali and Sudan and all those other African countries  who are kept in power by Prigozhins Wagner Group  must be nervously following events this morning."  The Wagner group is a self-funded paramilitary organization that provides strong arm tactics for dictators who can pay.  They're not nice people.

Last night made it clear how worthless "news" coverage has become.  CNN spent about ten minutes talking to Adam Kinzinger about Russia, and then returned to their coverage about how the submersible is still on the ocean floor and the five people aboard are still dead.  MSNBC talked to Richard Engel, who was in Taipei, about what he thought.  No one has feet on the ground internationally anymore.  Twitter used to be really good for real time analysis and reporting of what people were seeing, but the zone has been flooded by lunatics with their dime store blue check marks.

I feel like this is one more example of how the entire planet has gone off the rails.

That's it!  This is all I've got.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Hot, Fire and etc.

Hola People of Earth!  How are things in your respective climates?  Much of the world appears to be hotter than hot at present.  The heat dome that is centered over Mexico and stretching north in to Texas and Oklahoma is expected to last until July.  Meanwhile in Spokane, our spell of cool rainy days has ended and we are back in the upper 70's with sunshine.  The PNW is about the only pleasant place in the continental US at present.  There is a river of hot water that stretches from Africa up to Iceland, which will be bad for marine life.  Some of this is El Nino, some is climate change.  What has the climate scientists' hair on fire is how hot the oceans are.  Read this for an in depth article on what's causing all of this.

In Tucson, fire season has started.  See the E in front of "E. Sunrise Dr"?  That's where the condo we stayed in for two months is.  Crews are working to contain a 55-acre wildfire northeast of Tucson, near the Bighorn Fire burn scar on Tuesday. In an update officials confirmed the Ventana Fire was 25% contained.  There are many closed trail heads, including the dreaded Iris Dewhurst trail, that we hiked a lot last winter.  They're trying to keep it in the burn scar, and not allow it to burn into vegetated areas.

Yesterday the republicans voted to censure Representative Adam Schiff.  It was due to his work on the first impeachment of the orange slime mold, and his efforts with the Mueller report.  Prior to the vote, he said this.”To my Republican colleagues who introduced this resolution, I thank you.  You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood. You, who are the authors of a big lie about the last election, must condemn the truth-tellers and I stand proudly before you. Your words tell me that I have been effective in the defense of our democracy and I am grateful." Pretty cool take down of the forces of stupid.

Today we rode to the lake.  It was a pleasant ride.  There were very few people on the trail.  Someone official has put oil down on the unpaved road that goes to the boat ramp.  They were nice and skipped the section where the bike path crosses the road.  Here is a random photo along the way.

The tomato plant put out tomatoes, then it got cold, and they're just sitting there, not getting ripe, not doing anything.  It's aggravating.

It appears that the submersible carrying the billionaires down to great depths to view the sunken wreck of the Titanic has been crushed.  There is a debris field on the ocean floor near by.  The conspiracy nuts are already blaming the administration, the Coast Guard, anybody except the company that made the thing.   Who sends people down in a tube with 96 hours of air, steering via game console controller, and absolutely no emergency equipment?  There was no testing, crush depth was never determined, none of that good stuff that the Navy would do.  Yes, it's sad that five people have died, but this rush to make it the fault of someone else is just abhorrent. 

Welp, I have nothing else to say, no funny twitter memes or cute animal photos, so I guess I will end here.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Yard and Wheat

Time marches on - June is half way over.  My contact lenses come in packets of 5, and it's amazing how often I'm starting in on a new group of lenses.  We were supposed to ride today, but I had one of those nights of waking up every hour on the hour and I am whooped.  I gave up on the idea of sleep and read a New Yorker until I could get up and roust Jim.  So, there may be a trip to Home Depot for a pitch fork to provide an outing.  Do we know how to have fun or what?

What have we been doing?  There has been, as is usual, riding to the lake.  There was a walk up the hill, which once again proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is zero cross over between bike and hike.  It's sad, really.

Here is a big rock covered in pine needles.

Still life with tomatoes.  We buy the tub of Cherubs, cut them in half, cook at 400F for 11 minutes, and then freeze them.  It's nice having tomatoes in the house, and them not growing mold because we didn't eat them fast enough.

Scenes from the yard.  The Mandevilla is blooming, but not getting much bigger.  It probably is not getting enough sun.

The Maple (giant tree, center) continues on its path towards world domination.  Hopefully the trees will drop their leaves this winter, and the arborist neighbor can prune the tree back some.

This is what the wretched deer did to my arborvitae this past winter.  This will take years to fill in.  This year we will be wrapping everybody in deer netting to prevent this.

This is growing next door.  Blueberry maybe?

The new rhody has wilted a couple of times.  We decided it had been root bound, and we had not slashed the roots or trimmed the bottom of the root ball.  So we dug it up yesterday and did all of those things.  We also rotated it about half way around, and it looks better in its spot.   So, hopefully, he'll be happier now.

From the department of bad news we read the following.

That's it, that's all there is. 

Monday, June 12, 2023

Non-Specific Stuff

Greetings Fellow Humans.  How are things?  We are still slightly delirious over the fact that the orange dumpster fire has received 37 charges in the Florida indictments.  THIRTY SEVEN.  That's impressive.    Even better is the fact that he has to have a local lawyer, and thus far no one in Florida wants to represent him.  He needs a lawyer that specializes in national security issues.  Perhaps it is his habit of not paying people, or perhaps it's the crap he spouts on Truth Social that make people not want to work for him.  Anyway, he doesn't have representation yet.  This article was on Yahoo News this morning, it's a pretty good accounting of what he's facing and why he should quit talking.

There has been painting.  One morning Jim up and announced he was going to paint the door frame of the people door into the garage.  I helped with masking, however he paints wood better than I do, so I did not help there.

There has been riding to the lake.  We've seen a bicycle tour group a couple of times.  We can't find the tour on their website, but it seems odd that people will pay money to ride on a public bike trail.  Maybe it's like when we went to France and rode on public roads, we needed someone to give us a map and tell us where to go.  When you live somewhere, it never seems like it should be a tourist destination.  We were shocked when cruise ships started docking in Seattle.

This is currently in bloom at the state park.  Google identifies it as a Viper's-bugloss.

There was a stretch of terrible weather recently, so we reluctantly decided to unload the downstairs bedroom and paint it.  It was the last big painting effort.  It's the same color as before, but we fixed a bunch of holes in the sheet rock and now they don't drive me crazy anymore.  The light is so bad down there between the over head light and the halogen work lights that there are no pictures.  So, painting is done except for a couple of nail pops in the laundry room.  They bother Jim more than me, so there's no telling when they'll get done.

This is the Garland region of Spokane.  We were there taking watches in for new batteries.  It's a nice, retro very walkable part of town.

The axle traps arrived.  They're just a thing of beauty, really pretty machining.  Now we have to figure out how to line up the bikes, where the forks should be and all of that.  However, look at how they're packaged.  The brown you see is the cardboard, the beige with swirly things is tape.  They taped every corner, every seam, and the top and bottom.  The whole thing just tickles me.  If you need axle traps, check out Unaka.

These are fledgling yellow-crowned night herons.  You can read their story here on twitter.  They're such goofy looking birds.  They're currently recovering at the New York Wild Bird Sanctuary.

I must go now, we're actually cooking from a recipe tonight.  It's not something we do very often.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Smoke, Pat Robertson, Sea Temperatures, and an Indictment

The WAPO reports that New York and D.C. will be seeing some relief from the Canadian wildfire smoke.  It would be better if the fires were being put out, but I have no information about containment.  Apparently the smoke will drift west ward, making other people miserable.  We used to get smoke in Seattle from British Columbia and China, but I don't think it was ever as bad as this.

We're currently under a thunder storm with lightning, thunder and rain.  It's fairly impressive, although the glasses are not rattling in the cabinets.

In a feat of karma, Pat Robertson managed to die during Pride Month.  It's not nice to wish people would die, but I'm really not sorry he did.

Finally, from the department of things that aren't great, we have this.

So, here we are, the day in twitter screen scrapes. 

Oh wait, there was just this on WAPO.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Bad and the Worse

Well, it has been several days.  Rep. (R) Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is threatening to subpoena Jack Smith for all of their documents regarding Mr. Smith's investigation in to how the orange one handled classified documents.  You can't actually do anything to a Special Prosecutor.  Jordan, however, could be charged with obstruction, which carries a five year jail sentence.  Rep. (R) James Comer, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, has been threatening to hold FBI Director Wray in contempt of Congress because Wray would not let Comer have a copy of a document detailing an investigation into Biden's financials.  Comer knows what's in the document, he also knows that the investigation was found to have no basis in fact, and the investigation was closed by the orange one's Department of Justice.  They are both grand-standing on FOX pretty much non-stop.

Today, the PGA sold itself to the murdering Saudis in exchange for money.  When LIV golf was first formed, the PGA took the high ground and said it would be immoral to do business with the people who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and have such horrible human rights violations.  Apparently that's all ok now and they're now owned by the kingdom.  The men who went to LIV golf got millions of dollars for their defection, the men who stayed did not.  There is some amount of fury on the part of the players who stayed with the PGA.  This is all part of the Saudi goal to "sports wash" their terrible reputation on the world stage.

Someone blew up the Kakhovka dam.  It held back water that was used to cool the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant, and provided water to people in Crimea and agriculture.  Right now Ukraine and Russia are accusing each other of doing this terrible thing.  My money is on the Russians given their penchant for doing evil.  Regardless, it's an ecological disaster that will take untold years to recover.

We've had this shooting.  The white woman who killed the Black woman will probably not be charged due to stand your ground laws.  Every damn day there is a shooting, today it was at a high school graduation in Richmond, VA.  What the hell has happened to this country, how did we get here?  Why do people think it's ok to shoot their fellow citizens?  I am somewhat despondent over all of this, especially the dam. 

Here is a lovely photo of the rhodies with a butterfly.

Angus posted a link to this tweet in today's post.  I hadn't seen it before, and thought it was amusing.

I could go on, but I think I'll stop now.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Riding to the Lake

Greetings People of Earth.  How are things in your respective climates?  It's warm here, not AZ warm, but warm enough.  We've run the air conditioning some today, I think opening the sliding glass door to the deck will soon provide some cool air.  There is a down slope air flow across the bluff wall behind us, and the neighbor has a recirculating water fountain that provides cooler air. The problem with running the air conditioning is that the primary bathroom becomes a meat locker, which makes taking a shower unpleasant.

Blogger has been weird in regards to comments.  Steve left me a comment saying he thought he'd already responded to a post, and wondered if the original had gone into spam.  Why yes, yes it had, along with recent comments from two other people.  What is really weird is that there were comments dating back from 2014 stuck in spam.  So, I have resolved to check spam more often, and not rely on Yahoo mail to tell me I have comments awaiting moderation.

We rode to the lake this morning.  We saw more people out on bikes today than we have all year.  It was amazing how many people were out riding.  Road bikes were definitely out numbering the battery bikes today.  Usually Jim and I are in the minority. I don't begrudge people their batteries, there are many valid reasons for having an e-bike.  However, I do wish the e-bikers would take a few minutes to learn trail etiquette, such as stay in the right lane, particularly on a blind corner.  We saw one guy do an entire set of switchbacks in the left lane, it's a good way to get hurt on a Saturday morning. 

The re-doing of the recreation area is still not finished.  Many people are at the water's edge because most of the picnic tables are still embargoed at the far end of the parking lot.  There are about six or so in the shade by the water.  While we were there, a mini-van pulled up and disgorged a stroller, a table, coolers, and a charcoal grill.  They were there for the day, with all of that.  They kept hauling their stuff closer and closer to our bikes which were leaning on a tree, so we decided to go.

Are these iris?  They're growing along the edge of the lake.

Kids in the lake.

The view from the back of the Jeep.

Other than this, I have nothing interesting to say.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Save Your Gmail Accounts!

In order to save server space, Google has decided to delete unused Gmail accounts.  From the article, I'm not clear on whether or not activating Blogger counts as Gmail usage, or if receiving mail counts.  So, make sure to send a Gmail email frequently to keep your account active.  I think if you lose Gmail, you lose access to Blogger.  That would be bad.  Here is the article.

Yesterday I saw a baby rabbit in the front yard.  It's impossible to know if that's the little one we pulled out of the window wells.  They are so cute, I just want to rub their little heads.

We were up early today, the grounds keepers are mowing the front common area at 7:30, then at oh:eight:hundred hours, the garage door technician came to fix the garage door.  The last tech incorrectly installed the sensors that keep the door from closing on small animals or children, so he fixed the sensor locations and gave us 50% off the service charge fee so that was good.

The rhodys are blooming, but they're not as spectacular as last year.  This one was being visited by a large bumble bee.

Now that the maple is gone, the rhody that was covered up by the maple is growing like crazy.  The sun has moved enough now that the new plant is getting sun, too.  It's about time to dead head that one, the flowers are looking pretty shaggy.

The first clutch of baby quail has been spotted, so continued vigilance on the window wells will be required.