Sunday, January 21, 2018

If stupidity got us into this mess why can't it get us out?" - Will Rogers

Sometime after supper tonight I'll begin the drive home and hope to arrive about 23 hours after leaving. Pam flies home Thursday; she gets a little extra Grammy Time.
I think this has been the best visit we've had. At least from my perspective. We've had a perfect balance of time with each of the two families separately and time all together. I feel reconnected with a full heart.
I'm seriously impressed with them all. Both sons are off to a great start on their respective new  business ventures, as parents all four are nailing it IMO, and the kids...impressive in their own way. Because Caedon and Megan are older their strengths and character are more apparent and both show every indication of growing into stellar adults. They're bright, easy, light, and grounded. Jason and Emily are attached to each other as brother and sister, learning good manners and obedience (sometimes to their parents exhaustion), and easy to be with.
In fact, I'm surprised how a 5-year old and a 2-year old are perfectly comfortable with a grandad they don't see but once or twice a year. I love it!!
Yep, I'll drive home all warm inside.

I decided to stop watching the NFL when the game was overtaken by the players' protests. I wondered if I'd miss watching games and following my favorite teams. I don't. I can't tell you which teams are in the playoffs and which aren't, which are favorites..... I followed the NFL fairly closely but don't miss it at all.

I followed politics closely, too. My embarrassment over our President's behavior is now a year old. I find myself avoiding the evening news, the Sunday morning talk shows, and skipping over the political stories appearing on national news sites. I'm not sure I could name a Congressman I consider a statesman.

The difference between the NFL and national politics is that football has no impact on my life.

"So-and-so" just announced they're engaged, or expecting a child, or going to the grocery store for bread.
It seems an indication of our obsession with "celebrities" (I'm not sure what puts someone in that category) that the very ordinary events of life become headline news if they involve a pop culture icon. Call it the Kardashian Effect. It's an indication of my age and disconnect with pop culture that I almost never know who those people are, but I think I'm almost proud of my ignorance for what it says about my life.
I like it that I can tell which goat is upset by the sound of the bleating.

When I get home I've got work to do. Lots of chores are waiting, with mucking out the goat barn at the top of the list. But I'm researching some options and need to decide what to do and how. I'm reading "Raising Boer Goats for Profit" and giving serious thought to expanding our herd so we can sell kids for meat. I can't butcher and sell because I don't have the license required but I can sell live goats. We've got almost 2 acres on the other side of the creek that just sits there. If I fenced it and built a shelter I could easily raise a small herd that wouldn't need feed because there's plenty of browse available.
And I need to decide what I want Sally to be. I want a daily driver, not a garage queen, but how much time and effort (and money!) should I put into a restoration? That needs to be decided before I go too much further so improvements are done in the proper sequence. Otherwise I could tackle a part of a restoration that would involve undoing work done out of sequence.
The fruit trees need pruning and January when the trees are dormant is the month for that task.
I need to return to the rekeying of Understanding Your Bible so it can be republished.
I think I can easily make a significant upgrade to our one bathroom by putting in a new vanity and sink. What we have is old and ratty. I can get an off-the-shelf vanity, a Formica counter top that I'd cut to size, and then drop in a basic sink and faucet combo. Then see if I can find a solution to the bad jalousie window.

Maybe I can do that drive in 22 hours and get to work sooner.

Friday, January 19, 2018

"A professor is someone who talks in someone else's sleep." - W.H. Auden

Musician's doorstep

I woke up at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep so I worked on the manuscript, making (what I hope are) the last set of corrections. I went to a nice b'fast place when they opened at 6:00 to finish that up and take care of a few tasks and then came back to S & M's for a 20 minute nap. Then I left for the Russo-Steele auction in Scottsdale.

R-S is at a new site this year, an Indian casino called Talking Stick Resort. What has been a good auction to attend as a spectator has turned into something of a mess. I'm hoping the issues are related to a new venue.
Parking was a mess and costs $10. The auction tent is now only available to registered bidders or sellers, and they had about two thirds the number of cars they've had in the past. I still saw some interesting vehicles in a wide variety of types, but nothing I can't live without.

It was interesting to look at a number of late-50's Chevy trucks. Having done a restoration on a '59 I knew what areas gave me trouble and was curious to see how these compared. Turns out every single one of them had uneven gaps along the front of the doors and all around the hood.
I felt some sense of vindication.

Having now been to the 2018 AZ editions of Barrett-Jackson and Russo-Steele, some observations:

  • I think there are more old Corvettes for sale than were ever made. Goodness there's a lot of them on the market.
  • I've never seen so many Lambo's at these auctions.
  • Old trucks seem to be on the descent if the number for auction is any indication. Or maybe all the restoration candidates have been snapped up already.
I think, I hope that the manuscript is in its final form and ready to be sent to Amazon. Now I'm just waiting on the final of the cover and permission from the ESV to use their version of the Bible in the text. I hope to find the latter in the mail when I get home but that may be optimistic. 

Pam's got a miserable cold. She's blubbery, sneezing, and generally achy. Time with kids and grandkids is NOT the time she wants to have a yucky cold. 

We did Christmas with the grandkids tonight. Jason and Emily had a full day at school, then pizza with the cousins, then opening presents. At their age (5 and 2) that's too much excitement. And you know what happens to a kid that age who's too tired. 

Me too. Pam said if I don't stop fussing I can't have dessert tomorrow.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others." - Mark Twain

Pam and I met with Chad, our financial guy, at 7:45 this morning for our quarterly review. We started working with Chad when we lived here. Finding him was clearly God's gracious direction in our life; he's a brother in Christ and extremely good at what he does. We trust him completely and he's done a great job at maximizing our very modest assets.

When we were done with our meeting Chad and I drove to Scottsdale and spent the next several hours walking the Barrett-Jackson auto auction. We had a GREAT time. He's enough of a car guy to be genuinely interested and quick to grasp what's going on. Turns out we have very similar tastes in cars. The time with Chad was as good as the setting.

The setting included over 3,000 cars and 74 degree weather.

One of the "I'd buy that" cars we agreed on was a mid-60's Austin Healey. I struck up a conversation with what I took to be the car's owner (I was right) and learned he owns a restoration shop that specializes in that British brand and is located in....
wait for it...
Marcola, OR. an hour east of us.
This, too, may be God's gracious direction, don't ya think?

The family gathered at Josh & Aubri's for dinner tonight. Aubri made the fixings for burritos or tacos. Yummy.
I had one of each.

Pam's got a nasty cold and I feel like I might be getting it, too. But I must not feel yucky tomorrow because I'm headed to Russo-Steele to look at more cars. This time by myself. It's a totally different kind of event, much smaller and more user-friendly than the spectacle that is Barrett-Jackson.

Short post. I'm tired, tomorrow will be full, and the stuff I would write about takes more brain cells than I have available right now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable." - Mark Twain

This is SO good it gets its own dedicated post:

One of the digital books I got to listen to while driving is a series called "Sea Stories." Most of them are excerpts taken from novels including "Two Years Before the Mast" (that's a very good book I need to re-read), "Robinson Crusoe," and "Mutiny on the Bounty."

One of the stories is set on a frigate - a (sailing) ship designed for battle. The officer in charge of the canons had failed to secure the chains (not ropes as in this pic) that hold the canon in place. The canon has to be rolled back into the ship for muzzle loading and then back out for firing. The ropes or chains make that possible. But they also prevent the canon from rolling all the way back across the ship when it recoils after firing.

They weren't in battle but the ship in this story did get into some high seas. Because the canon wasn't secured it started rolling all around the lower deck as the ship pitched on the waves.

The larger of these canons weighs tons, so several thousand pounds is rapidly moving in erratic and unpredictable ways all over the deck. Three sailors were killed as the great beast slammed against them, sometimes pinning them against the hull. That hull was broken open when the rapidly moving multi-ton canon slammed against it.

How do you stop it? When you can't predict where it's going to roll next, when it rolls so fast, and because it weighs so much no man can stop it. No sailor dares get close enough to it what? How does a man stop a 4,000 pound block of cast iron flying unpredictably across a pitching ship's deck?

So why is this incident so cool that it gets its own blog post?
Wait for it!
This is where we get the expression loose canon.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

I didn't get out of bed to be ordinary.

This pic begs to be a meme but I don't have a good one. You??

The pace slackens not.

This morning I ordered a pack of ten ISBN numbers. The paperback and Kindle versions each require a separate number and I want to be able to supply them to the mission if they choose to translate and publish the thing. Once you get to three ISBN numbers it's cheaper to order a pack of ten, so there you are.

I was sure I'd read that the standard blurb—"all Bible quotations are taken from the ESV and...."—was all I needed. Last night I "stumbled" (I believe in circumstance so long as it's spelled with a capital C) across a site that says the ESV does it differently. They require a letter before they'll grant permission. So this morning I sent off a letter to their "Bible permissions" department. I sure hope this isn't a big delay because I'm getting SO close. But I gotta do this right, so there's no option. I included my email address in the letter hoping that they can grant it and give me the appropriate text in an email instead of waiting for it via the USPS. If they deny permission for some reason....
I don't even want to think about that. It would be a MAJOR hassle and delay.

Pam's flight left at 3:15 so I dropped her off at about 1:30. I plan to leave here about 5 p.m., stop around Medford for gas and supper, and then push onward until I need to stop for a nap. Unfortunately, leaving this time of day will put me on the west side of L.A. just as the morning commute is starting. I may just deal with it or stop for b'fast while the worst of it clears. It will depend on how I'm feeling, how bad the traffic is, and what kind of time I made through the night.

Now it's time to pack the few things I'm taking, feed the goats, and get the place closed up.
Next time you hear from me I'll either be on the road sucking up the wifi in a fast food joint or at the kids' place in AZ.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

"The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do." - B.F. Skinner

Everything animal related is ready for me to be gone. Food bins are full, barns and coop cleaned, and the neighbor kid schooled on the most recent edition of the care routine. That includes feeding the cats.
Yeah, they're still alive.

Stella is in heat. Her tail wags constantly, she shadows Sundae, and is typically more vocal (though that hasn't started yet). A Boer goat comes into heat every three weeks for three days, so we'll breed her in 21 days and hopefully her first kidding in five months will go smoothly.

The text of the book is now in final form and I've started work on formatting. I'm unclear how much formatting I have to do and how much Amazon does when they get it. Do they set margins based on my specified size or do I?
For no good reason I feel stressed about this part of the process.

I also feel overwhelmed by the success of my Go Fund Me campaign. In three days the money all came in.
I don't know how missionaries do it—how they go out and ask for money and then accept it when it comes in. I feel embarrassed to ask and guilty when it arrives.
Stewardship, to be sure.

I've got two collections of short stories to listen to as I drive. Both are old, which is why they're public domain and free ( One is a collection of stories about sailing that includes Mutiny on the Bounty. The other is detective stories that has some Sherlock Holmes included.
I should be going down the central valley (CA) in the middle of the night which means I won't be seeing all of the nothing there is to see for that looooong stretch. These stories will keep my mind awake - I hope.

Sorry;I'm too tired to have more. My day has been full of tasks, hustling from one to the next so it's all in order when I start the drive. I drop Pam off at the airport at about 1:15, come home for a short nap, feed the animals, and then hit the road.
That means I don't know when I'll next post. It might be from the kids' house in AZ. I should arrive Monday evening DV.

Friday, January 12, 2018

"We're overpaying him, but he's worth it." - Samuel Goldwyn

We left my brother's place in Seattle about 4:30 this morning, stopped south of Olympia for breakfast, north of Vancouver for a nap, and got home about 11:00. The car has been emptied, the barn has been mucked, the goats fed, dinner has been ate, and I'm ... done.

I must have used more emotional energy at dad's service than I realized. I think it went well but I'm not sure how those things are measured. I saw cousins I haven't seen since I was a teenager and had good conversations with a number of people from my way-back. I don't usually enjoy gatherings of larger groups and wasn't looking forward to that reception but I enjoyed it. As an added bonus, a couple of the people I talked with are serious car guys, including one of my nephews.

< brothers & wives with mom

Mom did GREAT both physically and emotionally. She spent the better part of two hours at the reception sitting in a chair while people came to talk to her. Then about 14 of us went to Spiro's for pizza and she did fine there, too. I don't know how she's doing today but she has every right to be exhausted.

I've had a very gratifying and humbling response to the GoFundMe campaign for getting the book published. I'm now just $150 shy of the goal. Yeah, humbling.

I sometimes get the impression the media thinks of Americans in a binary way. They seem to view some (most) Americans as thinking President Trump is an embarrassment, incompetent, bad for the country, devoid of virtue, and very possibly certifiably crazy. The rest of the voters think he's wonderful, has policies that will return America to greatness, and is getting a bad rap by the press.
I think there's a third category. I think a very large portion of the electorate thinks he's an embarrassment, seriously lacking virtue, and likely has some significant personality pathologies. In one of our country's more bizarre twists, however, he may just be doing some things that have needed doing for a long time. While those actions may not return America to greatness they bring some common sense to bear on national politics.
So just maybe the crazy guy is bringing some sanity to the Oval Office.

When we switched from AT&T to Verizon we dropped our monthly bill from $125 for two lines to $90 for two lines with the same data level (2g shared). We also got the cheapest phones they had - free. Ever heard of Asus? Me either, but as soon as I heard "free" I knew they were the phones for us.
Asus is apparently not the most commonly sold phone in America and it's all but impossible to find cases on the shelf of any store so I ordered two on Amazon for $7.95 each.
Yeah, cheap cases for cheap phones.
What seemed odd is that Amazon said they'd arrive sometime between February 20 and March 9. This morning I learned why.
"Your order has shipped!" with the same date range.
The cases have been delivered to the shipper in China.