Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend and Anniversary

So, here are a few pictures from yesterday. These are of THE BOY and Gypsy, too. And here is what remains of our wares on Sunday…the leftovers go to St. Vinny’s or who ever will take them. I have to head out to work in a few. Hope everyone had a god weekend. I DID.

Cora attempted to drum up business via Craig'sList...I don't think it worked...

Oh, and I moved the freezer Saturday night, but here is the picture. Note: You can see the floor.

Also, today is my Mom and Dad's anniversary! Happy anniversary! Only 36 years, come on, you can do better than that! I am afraid the most up to date pictures of my ancient parents are these taken at the Father's Day get together at my sist'er's new house. Note, theyare the old people in the photo. The other ones are my favorite niece and my gleaming new nephew!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baby, It's Hot! Baby!

I have SO much to post about, but I don't have the pictures. So, I will post about something completely different, instead.

Today's yardsale was a flop. We might have made 30 bucks...oh, well. It was HOT! 102. Just a while ago the temp lowered...99. At the end of it Cora and I came in and sat for a minute. I looked over at her and she was RED! Apparently she got a little more heat than necessary, I had her go take a short cool shower and get cooled down. She felt better after awhile.

I spent the hours waiting for customers by making a sarcophagus. I bought a box a few months back. I used plaster of paris to build up the likeness of a pharoah. I think the kids will like it when I finish it. I need to paint it. I have some gold paint and some crackle finish. I think you will like it when I get a few pics of the sarcophagus posted tonight (hopefully).

Other than that I work tomorrow and I will fix the float I broke on Friday. We have a LOT to do before we become parents...the house is still a mess. Even after the yardsale. I DID get the Freezer moved to the other room! I worked on that last night after the yardsale. I don't know why I felt such an urgency to get it done...but it is done. Now we need to sell some of Cora's blankets to make more room.

Going Green and Shrinking my Carbon Footprint

So, we have recently attempted to be more green. I don’t know why exactly. It has been easier, mostly. We are in a place where a few dollars from recycling cans does not matter…we through them away to begin with (Lazy, I know), but it just seems like less work. Cora decided she wants to attempt a mulch maker (its early and the appropriate name escapes me). So, we are putting vegetable scraps out in a fency thingy.

We bought the Hybrid Camry (Wow, still can’t believe how fast it will go if you let it), and I am glad, since I think it has saved us considerably on gas…the three weeks between fill ups sure has. Me working only in Moxee helps with my truck…it has been known to get 31mpg…but you have to drive it right. That is the problem. I think most cars could get better mileage if we could just drive differently. The Camry can get up to 42 mpg IF you drive it right. It is difficult to do so and at some times you just can’t; if there is a lot of stop and start rushing traffic, or if you are going up hill. It loves the down hill and coasting…and so do I because I get to see the realtime mileage indicator go to 60mpg!

Gas prices are such that everyone has had to make changes. We probably would have gone to Seattle for a day trip a few times by now, but due to gas prices and the need to clean certain rooms for certain up coming children, no matter how far away they seem, we just have not. I like driving. I love seeing new things, different people, and other locales, but gas prices have made us less willing to just throw our hands up in the air and say let’s go for a drive. It is our own faults, though. We have bought the huge numbers of SUVs. Look at how many are for sale. Note that Dodge does not offer the $2.99 deal on economical vehicles. We are going to come to a breaking point in the near future.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hard Sale

So…Cora decided that 430AM was a good time to wake up. I am not so sure. We got up, had our coffee, checked our emails and then dressed to make a yard sale. We were successful. I tied a rope to the light pole and the house and we hung clothes from that. I borrowed tables from the school and we used those. I placed the signs and all was ready.

I had a Honda lawnmower that has not worked since last spring. I have long since given up on it. It was something wrong with the carburetor, but my Father-in-Law and I were not able to figure it out. I probably could have taken it somewhere, but the mower we bought last month was probably cheaper than fixing it. One gentleman was interested in it when told I’d sell it for 5 dollars. He was…persnickety. He wanted the grass catcher. I think I have it, but it is probably in the back of the shed…and I may have taken it to the dump since it was rotten. Anyway, he would not buy the $400.00 lawnmower with a minor problem (for someone with a bit of know-how) for $5 without the fricking grass catcher. He said I should go look for it and he would be back for it. A few minutes later another guy showed up and asked about it. I told him I’d take ten dollars and offered to call him if I found the grass catcher. He gave me ten and came back with vehicle that it would fit in. The other (Rude) gentleman came back and was apparently irritated that I had sold it before he could buy it. I did not feel bad as he was such a grump.

Our neighbor girls came over and looked at our wares. The youngest came first. Her name is Cora, too. I took her around to each table trying to sell all kinds of things to her. I think we ended up netting 94 cents from her…and part of that was coming down in price about four dollars…I was not in it for the money, and I have a soft spot for girls named Cora. Her older sisters eventually followed. Then the rest of the family eventually made it. They are a great family and I enjoy visiting with them. The two older girls (fifth grade and ninth grade) came back a while later and stayed. I think just to visit. I think they would have stayed all day if we had not gone off to gather our signs! I was not the only one giving things to these girls. Cora gave them a DVD and who knows what else. Still, I prefer to have neighbors like that to others.

Now? We are resting out of the heat, which is 98.8 degrees out. At least it isn’t a humid heat, more of a searing heat. I hope all of you are having a happy June. I hope that anyone who reads this blog will drop a comment with a little info on your summer so far. Hot? Not Hot? Too humid? Or, maybe, just say, “Hi!”

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yard Sale Work!

Dr. Who is the coolest. You should really think about watching him! BBC America!

Today? Well, we worked. Then we went to town. Then we had lunch. Today we ate at Olive Garden.

We came home and we prepared for the Yard Sale. I got some tables and copies of signs. Cora worked in the house. I think we will be ready…as long as we get up EARLY IN THE MORNING!!

We counted the coins we have been saving for over a decade…$156!! Amazing!! Then we went for a walk. We left the dogs, but Sully followed and then, because he is unreliable, we carried him…it was a good day!

I only hope tomorrow is as good! Sorry I am so late in posting!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gone to the Dogs

To say our dogs are spoiled would be to understate their predicament. They have nice meals, always ready for them. They get people food. They get to go for rides, walks, and runs. They also get to jump up on the bed. Gypsy does not usually like to get up on things, but she seems to make an exception for the bed. She will do it every now nd then, especially for Cora. You can see from these pictures she is grinning from ear to ear at her own daring.

Gypsy thinks this is being spoiled. Toby is also spoiled, just in a different way.

He gets locked outside in the mornings, while, due to Gypsy's escapist ways, she gets locked in. He has been very good about going to the laundry room for me to lock the door behind him. She has been good about staying in. I decided to reward them. ( Toby likes water bottles. It's my fault. I used to stick treats in them and he would struggle to get them out. It was always funny to see him think through the problem. Now he has no problem with chewing the lid off, then using his nose to tip out the treat.) So I got some bones down and gave each two. One of Toby's, however, was in a bottle, which he gingerly took from me and went off to his bed.

He likes to save things like this for when we get home. Apparently he does not like to open gifts alone. Today was no different. I got home and Cora was lying on the bed (clothed) and I laid down next to her (also clothed) and we were discussing the day and Toby jumped up between us. He had a water bottle in his mouth. He proceeded to try to get our attention by chewing on his bottle between us.

This morning, he took the football toy he stole from Missy (Sister-in-law's dog) and was playing fetch. On the last throw I fowled it and it ended up in the toilet (you kinda have to envision the bathroom in the hallway and my chair somewhat opposite of it, yet within throwing range). Cora would not let me just give it back to him (it was clean, if only somewhat moist) so I threw it in the wash. He was upset about it the rest of the day. He just got it back a couple hours ago, and he was tickled. It reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes (Cartoon Character), when Hobbes gets thrown in the wash. we have the funniest pet!

Anchored, Good and Fast

My bottom is in my chair, anchored and not moving. This picture is of me next to the 20,000 pound anchor from the USS Tripoli. She was moored to the pier at Mare Island at the time. That was 2004.

This is a picture of Cora...if you could see the reflection in her eye, you would see the Golden Gate Bridge...yep, this was taken in San Francisco. One of my favorite towns...Phoenix and Seattle not far behind. Portland is a distant last.

Cora and I agreed to work on the house as soon as we got home. It was a noble idea, and it lasted for approximately 3/10ths of a second. These ten hour days are killers. I did not even do that much today. I think getting up early and working more constantly all come together to make Jim a tired boy. I don’t think Cora was far behind. She looks pooped, too.

Our intention is to have a yard sale Saturday and Sunday. I know it will happen, I just don’t know how much rest we are going to get.

I sat on a tractor for the first few hours. I was back at the elementary…in the dirt. I used a tractor powered rototiller today. It has a cover that keeps things from flying out and hurting people, but it did not keep me from getting mud flung at me by the darned tractor. Then, the new guy somehow managed to chop up the lid to a junction box. I had to run into town to get a new one (don’t want someone to break a leg in a hole). I went back and picked rocks out of the dirt. I did not over work myself, but it was plenty warm out (…almost Christopher Columbus hot).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Like a Bridge Over Nubs of Teeth...

I had a good day…in some ways excellent, but that is not important here. I enjoyed my time with my professor. One of my friends does not like him, but I think my friend just does not know how to handle him. Today, I asked about his family and learned A LOT about him. It explains why he fell asleep on a few occasions while I was attempting to discuss Cold War books with him. He is a really nice guy and he has a great sense of humor. I believe he really cares whether his students are getting the most out of their educations.

I got my Bridge in…which, for those of you who do not know, is where they take a tooth out from between two other teeth, and the two other teeth have had their nerves REEMED out. They grind the other two teeth down to nubs. Then they make a new large tooth (out of whatever they have lying around, I think they used parts of a Cue Ball for mine) and then glue (cement, or in my case I think they used sheet metal bondo [you know, for car bodies]) them to the nubs of your dead teeth. It sounds more complicated than it is. And it is more expensive than it should be. Still, it seems to have worked, despite the obscene pain of sticking the damned thing into my gums…that hurt A LOT.

I came home and I made Satay Chicken, while Cora Instant Messaged her friend in AZ…Kim, you should tell her she needs to help me make dinner! Satay Chicken is chicken grilled in strips, then you dip the strips in a peanut butter/soy sauce/cilantro sauce that is just yummy. You need to like peanut butter, though, since the taste can be somewhat strong…I am a big fan.

Can I just give KUDOS to Kylee for knowing what she is talking about in her comments?! She was right. Look at China, now going strongly toward a market society, far removed from the socialist climate envisioned by Marx.

My Other Jet Fighter is a Camry!

I took the car in for oil. I then drove up to the college for my meeting with the professor. Seems those questions he asked me last week are basically what I will be facing in the written portion of the exam…IN DEPTH. By that, I mean DEEEEEEEEEEEEP CONSIDERAAAATIOOONNNNN! Breaking each question down by administration, and further by how each answer was affected economically, diplomatically, and militarily. It is completely possible, but take into account also that there are two more professors who have not been heard from. Then add to that I have done much less reading in their areas…for the love of Dog! I may die! Ok, maybe a bit melodramatic…

I also have a dentist appointment in about an hour, which means I had better finish my popsicle and brush my teeth. I believe they will be inserting my crown…no, I am not royalty. Yet. It was a mix-up at birth and soon Prince Charles will come knocking…

Oh, and the car? Well, I got to drive it to the college. It goes fast. REALLY fast. I like it. I'm a jet fighter pilot.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Long Telegram

This is the view of Mt. Shasta as we left California...for the last time.

Happy day. I helped the “hard worker” put signs up, but he did not think that digging holes was the way. We just used a post thingy to jam it into the ground. I was the one with the presence of mind to use a tape measure to straighten them in relation to the sidewalk. At the end, it looked like a row of disused telephone poles…they were leaning different directions and were at different heights.

The last part of the day was spent on board tractor…I was ostensibly flattening dirt yet again, but it was not doing much more than throwing up dust. I think I looked a little like a small brown man. I used high pressure air to dust myself off. Apparently I missed some on my face…since Cora instructed me to shower before we went to town.

We got dinner makings and a few other items of necessity. Dinner was going to be tortellini in pesto sauce, Cora volunteered to cook…unfortunately, when we arrived home and the tortellini was almost done Cora discovered that the pesto had a neat little patch of mold on it. Yuck. Fortunately, a family friend makes pesto and the IN-Laws had some…It was probably better than the store bought!

We’re watching Deadliest Catch, prior to my going into seclusion to read a Cold War book. This one is called Cold War, Cool Medium. The author basically compares the maturation of Television with the growth and maturation of the Cold War. He spends a lot of time on McCarthy. It turns out McCarthy only had a little over a four year run…and the author suggests that Television, as an industry, was scared of him at first, but as his witch hunt progressed, television as a whole industry began to bow their backs, as did intellectuals and professionals alike. McCarthy was an idiot and a bastard, and his name has become intertwined with “witch hunt.”

As you know, my latest question involves Containment as a large part of the question. Containment was what the US attempted to do to the Soviet union as it attempted to spread communism. Everytime the Soviets attempted to move into some country, the US would show up and try and win over the inhabitants. Containment was the idea of George Kennan, whose "Long Telegram" said as much. He was a diplomat in Moscow in the mid-1940s.

Well, I am sorry, this got a little long, I guess I should go ahead and make another blog specifically devoted to my Cold War ruminations, and NO, I will not tell you where it is, I have enough trouble keeping names straight let alone my handle on American History.

Thank you for being patient, here are a few more photos.
This is the B-47, the back bone of Strategic Air Command (SAC) for a decade. 2000 were built. I love these 6 engined behemoths.
This is me coming out of a B-36, SAC's 10,000 mile bomber. She had 6 turning and 4 burning, which referred to the 6 propellor engines and 4 jet engines. It was the Big Stick. There are now only four complete examples left. I have seen 2 of them.
Originally designed as a daytime fighter (no radar) this little sportster (F-100)was modified to carry an atomic bomb in Europe in the mid to late 1950s. The pilots would basically fly a suicide mission...sure they would loft it (like tossing a baseball underhanded) but still, the likelihood of coming back in a hot war situation was...well, it wasn't.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Picture This Guy Behind a Camera...

I made Gypsy a dog house and she used it...for a short time.

Cora and her sister Em at CSU Chico

Below you see puppies awaiting rescue from Geocaching parents...

some long ago Christmas...

Dogs enjoy the beach too! I bet Kylee, Colton, and Nick did not run with this much vigor!

Toby likes a room with a view.

What is that MOM!??!

Blogger was giving me pains with the photos, but here are a few particular order, nor rhyme nor reason...

So What! Show Me the Pictures!!

So, I worked today, but nothing much got done…I was teamed with a hard worker…wonder how I express my sarcasm via key board? Nothing much to say, but, since the pictures were such a hit the other day, I am going to show a few of my favorite pictures. Please enjoy the show!

Get a load of the YOUNG Cora!

This next one is my dad being very nice to a statue...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

And For Afters? Artichokes!

Woke up this morning, feeling fine, there was something special in my hand…Cora brought me coffee in BED!!! I must have the best wife ever!! She had gotten up a few minutes before, which I was only mildly aware of. We went out to the living room and watched Mythbusters for a little while.

We then got dressed and began working on the yard sale stuff. Then I worked on the room…err, the ROOM…ummm, THE room. It is not great yet, and I was hoping for more.

We needed to go to town and did. First we went to the fabric stores…I found a perfect material that will make a great quilt square for Isabella…it says “Jim.” All over it…well, not my name, but its pattern looks like something I would use for curtains…and bed cover, and sheets, tables cloths, and shirts, and shorts, and boxers…that is, if I were more given to working with fabric. Fortunately, for me, Cora works with fabric quite well. I am going to have to go back and find some more of this fabric and have Cora start with making me shirts and shorts!! For the sake of the surprise, I will not reveal what exactly the pattern looks like, but it should fairly fly out at her when Kim looks at it!

When we got back, we realized the front room looked a little like a Hooverville, minus the hobos and tar paper (Kylee, a Hooverville was a shantytown, basically inhabited by homeless people during the depression). We then spent the following hour-and-a-half cleaning up, then Cora paid the bills and I laid tried to lay low and make dinner. Neither of us likes paying bills, but when Cora pays them we end the month with more of them paid than when I do it. There are things I am pretty good at and the there is bill paying. Cora has the touch, despite what she might think. I made dinner, like I said. We had hickory barbequed chicken breasts, peas, and for afters (I like the British term for desert) we had Artichokes!

Artichokes. I have had them a total of three times in my life. Each time they have been boiled and then dipped in buttery and lemony liquid goodness. The trick with artichokes is to use your teeth to scrape off the tender part. I don’t think the calories come from the artichoke, but the butter. It was yummy, though.
I have had watermelon more often...and Toby likes watermelons...don't believe me? Look at this!

I think I may have killed my palm tree. I repotted it, but neglected to shade it immediately…damn it. I DO have a new plant though. I planted some Banana seeds about the same time I built that potting bench. Well, even though it says they will sprout in one to six months, one sprouted in about three weeks! It is now about 2 inches tall and growing VERY fast. Oh, and those “Palms” I raised from seed? I finally figured out that they were all planted in a pot that had held calla lilies. Apparently calla lilies are a bulb plant…I did not realize that…guess what…they are back. Soon I should have a calla lily flower and I will take a picture of it! Here is a canned photo.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ain't Nothing Like a REAL Car.

New cars are nice, but nothing exudes petroleum fumes like a car from the 1950s. Cora and I went to town and could not understand why there were so many people down town. We went in for dinner, since we were both tired--

We did a lot of work today. We cleaned out the kid’s room and worked on the computer room…you know, the one we have been working on a bit here and there for over a month. We have made some major headway. We took the full sized bed out and put that in the shed (Cora almost busted a gut when I told her I would take it around on TOP of the truck, I think KNOW she has pictures, check her site) and we are going to move the freezer from Little Miss’s room.

--We got dinner at Ki Ki’s Restaurant. She and, I am guessing, her husband were standing watching the huge numbers of cars on the main drag. I asked, stupidly, “what’s going on out there?” The cook…her husband? Looked at me and said, “Cah Sho.” I thought, maybe I should learn Chinese. I repeated what he said. She piped up and said, “Car Show.” Recognition dawned on me. We had a nice laugh, I paid for dinner, complimented their food, which, is ALWAYS good. Then I left.

We saw several nice old cars and then there were the Chrysler PT Cruisers…have you noticed that wannabe piston-heads own those? Most PT owners are middle-aged and have more money than sense and more age than style (Sorry, PT lovers, but you gotta know it’s true).
The REAL cars stole the show, though. There was a 56 Cadillac cruising around and I am pretty sure a ’46 Cadillac, which was parked. There were a few ’57 Bel Airs and they were all nice to look at. I just can’t imagine their fuel bills. It’d be fun, though, huh?

Happy Saturday to all!!

Friday, June 20, 2008


We went for a dog wok…yes, W.O.K., they know what a W.A.L.K. is, so we have to be smarter than they are (they haven’t had “Hooked on Phonics,” yet.) I told Cora we were building her character. She rolled her eyes at me. I said, “SEE? Success!” I don’t think she appreciated my humor.

When we got back I turned on my computer and found that Kylee has been on-line tonight…and apparently in the country too long. She has come to appreciate tractors.

Be sure to look at my other posts today…should be three, thus far…I promise not to post again today.

This is Toby...we had our sheets awaiting the wash and he decided they were fit for him to lie in.

and this is the gone...

No, I Want to Pick Up Rocks!

You will all be pleasantly (or unpleasantly, if you are not fond of me) surprised to know that I survived the day. It WAS exceptionally difficult. I drove tractor, I moved mats, and I picked crap out of the dirt that my Father-In-Law was smoothing. See, I had it easy until he came back from a “meeting.” I had helped the fine NEW Guy (FNG, though there are other definitions for FNG) with moving the mats and then come back to the Elementary. While my new companion disappeared to go get something, I waited for my father-in-law to get off the tractor. He went away and I jumped in. I began using the newest tool on the dirt. It was working well. Then my new companion came back and began picking rocks and dry turf and wood from the dirt. I was having a good time in the air-conditioned cabin, then my Father-in-law came back. I got down from the tractor and asked him if he wanted to use the tractor. My beloved Father-in-Law, generous soul that he is, said, “No, I want to pick up rocks.” He then jumped in the air-conditioned tractor and left me to help the FNG. What an FNG (fun nice guy).

I worked the rest of the day pulling rocks, wood, and sod from that dirt. Every few minute my Father-In-Law would ZOOM by in the tractor. Once he stopped. He opened the door. I thought, surely, he will tell his favorite son-in-law to go inside and have a drink and cool off. No. He said instead, “is it warm out there?” The sweat was pouring off my brow and my hat’s sweatband had dissolved. The heat was great from overhead, but it also reflected from below. It was intensely hot. I said, “Yeah.” He looked at me and gave me a grin, “Just checking.” He then closed his door and proceeded to continue tractoring in air-conditioned comfort. I don’t know what the exact temperature was, but I know that it was somewhere between “Damned Hot” and “Holy Christopher Columbus, that burns!”

I decided to NOT make dinner, and opted for pizza. Halleluiah! Pizza is a divine food.

Summer Solstice today. That means it is the longest day of the year, which sound wrong, should be the day during which the sun is highest in the sky and shines longer than any other day of the year. It is also a sad day of the year for me. It means from here on outthe days will be getting shorter...I am a sunshine person...I like daylight, though you would not know it by how much time I spend indoors...alas. Anyway, it deserves mention. Also, it is West Virginia Day. I have never been there, and since I am unaware of any air museums or ship museums, I will probably never go there.

Cora told me I write too much. She is probably right. The common web traveler probably would rather look at pictures and have short flowery sentences…too bad, too. I say some really funny shit. Nah, that was just a joke, I am really quite serious. So, I have posted more visuals today! Happy Summer Solstice!!!! Oh, and as for visuals, I wish I could post the expression on Cora's face when I wish her a happy Solstice first! Instead I will post a picture of her potting plants...isn't she pretty?

I think I finally got a video from the other day to work. Have a look for yourself…just a tractor, but, still…it’s one that moves! I know it doesn't show much, but tractors don't move THAT fast. My Father-in-Law is in that particular tractor.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wire Pulling, No Water, and Hard Questions

I went to work at six this morning. I came home 10 hours later. I helped the electrician pull wire. Pulling wire, for those of you who don’t know, is taking what the electrician calls a fish tape and sending it through a length of conduit…which is easy if it is perfectly strait, which it rarely is. Fish tape is not tape. It is steel wire, 1/8 of an inch by 1/16 on an inch and VERY long. You stick it through the conduit, when it comes out on the other end, you attach the wire you want to put through the conduit to it. Then you pull the fish tape and the wire back through the conduit. Each corner and bend in the conduit induces more drag…making the entire rig harder to pull. The electrician is nice, though, since he does not make me pull all the time. We switch off. It was kind of fun, though. We wired a new fuel pump for the bus garage.

I came home and the water was off. No, not the sprinkler. The water, all of it. In the house, everywhere. I called the city, because I know we paid the bill. The guy who answered said he had just changed the meters today, from what we had to a radio transmitter type. It allows him to read the meter from a block away! Anyway, he said he must have forgotten to turn it back on again. He came over a few minutes later an put it right.

Now we are watching a video. Fool’s Gold with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson seems to be a good movie so far. I also rented Jumpers, but we have not watched it, yet. There appears to be nothing on tonight.

So, I called my professor yesterday and sent him my book list. He sent me a reply. More like some questions to ponder and try to be prepared for. Here they are if you are interested:

Here are a couple questions to practice on.

1) John Gaddis argued, “For all [containment’s] contradictions, mutations, and irrationalities, [it has] been a surprisingly successful
strategy: historians looking back on the post-World War II era are likely to rate it as one of the more stable and orderly of modern times, and to give the architects of containment no little credit.” Is Gaddis’s assessment compelling? In answering that question, include a discussion of the factors that were important in shaping the evolution of America’s containment policy from the Truman to Reagan administrations. Discuss the key phases in the nation’s approach to containment policy, with particular attention to military, economic, and diplomatic considerations.

2) Discuss the role that the Third World played in the shaping of the Cold War with particular attention to how it influenced American and Soviet policy.

3) In what ways did domestic issues and trends interact with foreign relations between 1945 and 1975? How much did they determine positions taken by presidents, diplomats, and other politicians in this period?

O.k., I think I can handle the second one, and I could probably work with the third one. Since I haven’t read the book for a very long time…if, indeed, I did read it…I can only answer the first partially. I have an appointment with my professor next Wednesday. Well, I guess I will have to sit down and think real hard like Pooh Bear. Wish me luck.

Today's picture seems illustrative of how I feel. I am alone in a desert, looking for a

glass of cold war knowledge...these are the Superstition Mountains, by the way. Taken on our wonderful trip to AZ!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Indiana and Colorado

My favorite student that was never my student has commented on my blog!!! And From INDIANA! I am SO excited! I hope you are having a great summer and the water is not getting to you. I wonder what people do in Indiana…watch the crows eat the corn? Yell at the crows? I guess I don’t really know! Kylee, you have to tell me! And, for Kylee’s sake (at least partly) I post the following:

So, things are going OK here. I went to Costco today. I met a gentleman wearing a “USS Colorado” hat. For those of you, like Kylee, who might not know what USS Colorado means, it stands for United States Ship, Colorado…and at the time, Battleships were named for states. Some modern ICBM carrying submarines (Boomers) are now named for states, too. I asked him if he actually served aboard her (anyone can buy a hat), and he indicated that he had. I was ecstatic! Not often that you run into WWII vets anymore. He was very happy to talk about his ship, though…and, honestly, why wear a hat like that if you don’t want to talk about it to history geeks like me? He served aboard Colorado from 1943 to 1946. His name is Roland Meshke. He served in the 5 inch battery. More specifically, since he reminded me she was not like other battleships, he was on the 5/25s. (for those of you not “in the know,” that is: the barrel diameter is 5 inches, the barrel length is 25 times five inches…something akin to 10 feet.) That was the anti-aircraft gun. He said he worked as a loader at first, and he “was a small man.” The 5/25 rounds were one piece, whereas the 5/38s and 5/51s were separate…that is the powder charge and the projectile were separate, whilst the 5/25 was a single piece. Like a bullet. He said he soon moved to being the fuse setter. That is he set the fuses to burst the charge at a particular altitude. He said he was in the 5 inch battery in 1944 when the US fleet moved in on the Philippines.

Colorado was different from most ships in that she did not have the 5/38s that the rest of the battleships had. She did not go through the refits that other ships did, either. She was special. She was one of the original 16 inch BBs (her main armament was made up of 16 inch diameter guns! The projectile was 16 inches in diameter and about 4 feet long…making for a projectile weight of about 2000 pounds). The West Virginia class (of which Colorado was a member) was built during and shortly after WWI. The next BBs to be built was the North Carolina class, which included the USS Washington, in the late 1930s. So, for almost 20 years, the Colorado(and her two sister ships) was the ultimate in US Battleship power! It was a chance meeting in Costco, but it was neat for one such as my self. Colorado was unfortunately scrapped, at least she was not sunk.

So, I am getting my Masters…someday. I have to get my Master’s in History. I have a certain amount of time to get it. In fact, I could wait until next spring to get it, but my wife seems to think I may need the extra time. She is right, of course. I will get paid more when I get a job…a real job…if I already have a Master’s. I am happy being a sub, but, I don’t get paid enough. Well, not enough for Cora. It WOULD be nice to get more money. I just LOVE being a sub.

Before, I thought I would hate subbing. I remembered when I was a kid. I remember Mr. Harrison, with the glass eye. (Ok, I don’t know if he REALLY had a glass eye, but that was the rumor) He was o.k., but not spectacular. Then there was…hmmm, how’s that? I can’t even remember his name, but he called us all “Humans.” I suppose it was his way of being a joker. It IS something I will never forget. I suppose THAT is something. Of course, the kids still remember me…I wonder if they will remember me in 20 years.

The point of this post is that I REALLY have to work on my understanding of the Cold War. Thus far, and right now I am warning you that if you don’t want to explore the causes and complicated workings of the Cold War don’t read this, I understand that the differences between the two systems were almost polar opposites, and even that may be too much of a statement. I also understand that the differences were shown much earlier than is acknowledged by most Cold War experts. When White Army troops fought Red Army troops, it was sure to not be popular in communist circles. Is it odd that they held these feelings several years later? Well, I should post and go to bed, I need to go to work tomorrow…at 6am.

Good luck Kylee, I hope you are having an awesome summer! Is there anything cool in Indiana? Yeah, not much here in Washington, either.

Chemical Warfare and other Ant Remedies!

So, I had the day off. I got started by making coffee for both Cora and me. She got up and went to work. I got up…you don’t expect me to do anything but sit on my butt until 8 in the morning, do you, especially on my day off? I got up and began to do the dishes and laundry. The cat had been whining and mewing all morning. He does this because he has forgotten he has food. He knows where his dish is, he simply does not remember if he has any food and is loathe to check on it. Most of the time you just walk toward his dish, he jumps up in anticipation and then finds, much to his surprise, that there is food already there! He honestly looks surprised! Only on rare occasions has Cora or I forgotten to check his food. Today his crying seemed a bit more persistent than normal. I ignored him anyway.

I began to clean house. I opened one of our armoires to put some potato chips away when I saw some ants. ( I know I have written about ants before. I intend to again. ) I raised the alarm! I began to search for their source, since they always come from somewhere. There were only a few in that spot…I looked and there…crawling up toward his food dish was a line of ants. His food dish resides on a shelf about 30 inches off the ground so the dogs don’t bother it. The line of ants stretched from the corner of where the counter meets the wall out in a diagonal line toward the corner of the shelf that his food is on. It then climbed vertically 30 inches (approximately 1.5 ant miles) strait up a relatively smooth surface. I immediately fell back for reinforcements.

I am an old hand at fighting ants. When I was young we had Red Ant piles all around the house. These red ants are usually about 3/8 of an inch long and possess a nifty little bite or sting…never stuck around long enough when they began biting or stinging. I have used numerous ways of combating them. A magnifying glass and the sun is a pleasantly gruesome death for small numbers of ants, but they run fast, so you must be steady with the magnifying glass. I have used shovels to open up their nests (I recommend an unblocked escape route). I have used water…desert ants get extremely confused when a deluge of water floods their compartments! And, my personal favorite, not necessarily recommended or supported by the EPA, OSHA, Department of Wildlife, or NASA, is gasoline…the lighted kind. You can see them wiggle and writhe in pain!! Ah, the horrid glory! I used to live for the smell of freshly burned Ant Hill in the morning.

My sister could probably tell you the story I am about to tell a little better than I since she was an interested observer, whilst I was a soon to be roasted participant. It was summer time. Red Ant season. There were several piles, but this one had for some reason warranted my attention. I had opted for gasoline and matches. The SOP was to poor gasoline on the pile and then throw a match on it. Watch the ants come out and die and then when it burnt out repeat the process. Gasoline was usually dispensed from any available container...from plastic cup to tin can. Today it was a glass Orange Crush remember the thin styrofoam wrappers around them? Anyway, things were going splendid, several hundred ants had died, but the gasoline was still in my bottle. (Mind you this was the old style gasoline...remember the kind you could afford to burn up like that? Today, it is best to put your gallon of gasoline for the mower in a bank safety deposit box) I poored a little on this pile and lit it. Carrie watched from a distance, she had been participating, but it was my turn. I decided that the burn was not quite what I had anticipated (get it, ant-icipated) so, rather than waiting for it to go out, I simply poured strait from the bottle down onto the flames. Now, I KNEW the theory behind gasoline and how it would follow a dribble upwards, but apparently I had not studied the physics quite well enough. The properties of flame in gravity cause them to rise,and the pouring of liquids requires that the doaner be above the receiving parties premisise. The flame dutifully climbed the stream of gasoline, alighting (get it) at the mouth of the bottle. I stood for a moment and stared at this, then my fear struck and I tossed the bottle...remember it was still pouring? A stream of flaming gasoline flew from the bottle. We happened to be standing in DRY CHEATGRASS. The dry tinder lit immediately. I don't remember if my sister helped or just stood there laughing. I started stomping on the fire, and got it out. My beloved little sister had some things to say, though. I think we may also have been worried about how our parents would have handled a brush fire in the back yard.

Since these are ants in the house, I opted for a different weapon. I have used several weapons on the inside the house ones, too. I have used hammers, glasses, and other handy items to squish them, I have used water to drown them, and liquid soap to entomb them, but the old tried and true is Chemical Warfare. I am aware that NATO, UNICEF, and the WHO all frown on it and the Geneva Convention frankly bans it. I, personally, am not signator to any of those accords, so I freely unleashed a WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction upon their little six legged asses!). It was a chemical weapons attack. I started at the food bowl. Then I hit the rear of the line, those in the middle were trapped, since we know that ants don’t travel outside the lines! Hah, it was shooting fish in a barrel. I made several runs until each one of them was dead.

A few weeks ago, I bought some Ant Barrier. If I sprinkled it around the border of the house it would keep them away from the house. After two applications, I still see lines of ants filing up the foundation. I called the 800 number and they will be refunding me my money. How nice. He also gave me another type that should work. He laughed when I offered to email him a picture of ants trailing past his product toward my foundation. Oh, well.

I also called my professor, who wanted to know when I wanted to take the test…ummm…never? Not an option. Because I really suggested that they just give me a degree and that way we would not have to bother with a test which would waste their time and mine…alas, I still have to read about a billion books. Why have I not been reading them? Well, I just have not felt the fire underneath my ass…trust me, it helps when you are like me. I will be unbearable to live with for the next couple months, but I should be able to get it done, if only I stress enough. I am a horrible student, and not much better as a teacher…or maybe I am too nice? Oh, well, does it matter? I still have to take an 8 hour written test on the Cold War and then sit in front of a committee and answer a bunch of questions…hmm, can’t I just have chosen something easy like a master’s in basket weaving?

So, with that in mind, what am I doing? Blogging. Figures.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Treasure Hunting Kids and Tractors

The trail to the TOMB has been discovered. There are now several children hot on the trail of the lost treasure. My mother-in-law(MIL) called to make sure that Sam Samson and Bill Williams were fictional. Apparently the kids were extremely excited and went to the books and internet to look up such things as Sam Samson, Bill Williams, Egyptian treasure, and local history. Jeez, if I had known such a thing would have been SO entertaining, I would have based some of it on actual events or people…though, I probably COULD intertwine some local history…hmmm. I had expected my MIL to stretch it out to make it last, but it sounds like they got all the letters at once…oh, well.

Today, I did not help the electrician, but instead used the cool tractor! I flattened out tons of dirt. I enjoyed it, because, unlike the other tractor, it is dust-tight. I did not get dirty today! On the other tractor, when I jumped off the tractor clouds of dust came off of me. I must have looked like Pig-Pen. (for those of you unaware of Peanuts, it is a character from Charlie Brown)

Here are a few pictures from the day. The Electrician and a Groundskeeper stopped by to be sure I was using the tractor right...note: Groundskeeper is my Father-in-Law...and he is smiling.
I have videos, but my computer is not liking them...go fig.