Monday, July 16, 2018

"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself." - Henry Ward Beecher


I did my run about 10:00 this morning knowing that it was going to get crazy hot again today. I did the 3 mile out-and-back because I want to do the Scandia 5k again this August. It will be the third year for me. I was slower last year than the first and would love to set a PR this year.

So I'm keeping track of my time for this particular route and experimenting with some variations. If I exaggerate my arm movement my stride gets noticeably longer. Does that make me faster? If I shorten my arm movement and try to pump them faster it has the same effect on my feet - a shorter and faster stride. Is that the better way to go?
Today I did the former on the way out and the latter on the way back.
Q: Which is faster?
A: The car.

I got an email from the race organizers this afternoon. The race is August 11 and this year the winners get a long sleeve race shirt. Two years ago I finished second in my age division and got a Scandia Run hat that I wear almost daily. Last year I finished third and got a nice technical race shirt (made of a special fabric that wicks moisture well). I'd love to have a long sleeve shirt to wear for winter runs but each year it gets harder to win my age division as I move to the top end and young bucks enter.
I'll start track work this week. Give it my best effort.

I'm no expert and I've never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. But....
It is beyond crazy to hear Putin, a former KGB agent and now president say that he didn't even know Trump was in Russia in 2013, the visit when it's suggested the Russians gathered compromising information on President Trump.
AS heavily involved as some immigration lawyers have been with the separated families it strains credulity to think some of the statements being made by those parents haven't come as the result of coaching.
And I think the barber down in Elmira could have done a wiser job of a meeting with Putin.

At 5 p.m. it's 95 with a "feels like" of 101 thanks to the humidity. The living room is 92 and will climb another couple of degrees over the next hour or two. I told Pam we could go out for dinner but she said there are leftovers that won't require any heating.
Tomorrow's high - 88.
Thank you, Jesus.

I'm working each day on Portuguese using Duolingo. It's probably not the best program but it is FREE and I'm learning. I can see what's happening, though. I'm learning how to read, not speak. And Portuguese has some crazy pronunciation rules that make no sense and will be tricky to learn.
OK, it's a place to start and to test my dedication. If I find myself sticking with this and working through the Duolingo program I'll spring for one of the pay-to-learn options.

I woke up thinking about Brazil and the people I met there. The Maximos are a sweet family that have been through some struggles but seem genuinely to be coming through them because of a commitment to their family's relationship with God.

I spent some time cleaning up Sally's exterior and it made me wish I could do the body work. Now that she runs well and reliably she should look the part. Patience.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

"Whatsoever was the father of a disease, an ill diet was the mother." - George Herbert

You're doing it wrong.

One more day. By Tuesday we're into the high 80s, which shouldn't, but will feel like relief. At 6 p.m. it's 96 outside and 90 inside.
When we redo the exterior walls on MoHo I may look into installing an AC unit.

We found some oil change receipts for the Blazer. They were from one year apart and the more recent of the two was three years ago. In the space between those two receipts the Blazer travelled 2,000 miles. The mileage on that most recent receipt is 3,000 miles less than is currently on the vehicle. So in terms of miles it's not time yet for an oil change, but in terms of time passed we're well beyond it.
Pam's getting an oil change when she's in town doing laundry tomorrow.

This decal is in the corner of the windshield. I looked it up online and the Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort is in Mesa AZ. That's almost 1,300 miles away. We know they towed the Blazer behind their Class A motor home, so one round trip takes 2,600 miles off of the 94,000 total on the Blazer. We have no way of knowing how many of those trips were made but if they joined a resort it seems likely they went regularly, perhaps as snow birds. Bottom line: I think the 94,000 miles showing on the odometer is substantially higher than what it was driven.

The NBC news guy, yeah, the network anchor, did a story last night about the women's final at Wimbledon. In this case it was deemed newsworthy because the loser was Serena Williams who gave birth 10 months ago, so she got most of the coverage. But what really surprised me was that three time in the course of the story the anchor said the match winner was Petra Kvitova when it was really Angelique Kerber.
Major oops. And how did an editor or producer not catch that?

I have trouble keeping the terms straight and it doesn't help that they keep coming up with new terms. Bisexual, transexual, pansexual....
Today I learned that (I think) I'm cisgender. That means I identify with the same gender I had at birth. I thought that made me straight.
I am so confused (except about my sexuality).

Knowing that I'll be leading the worship in two weeks I've been paying especially close attention to the "normal" worship at UFC - the standard order of worship (it's static), the start time (10 minutes after the published service time), and the way the CCM is done and how it will be different when I lead a service that's all classic hymns done in the classic hymn style.
Hymns are normally sung with a slightly slowing tempo in the last phrase, a firmata (slight extension) of the last note, and a breath's worth of break between the verses. Contemporary worship music is sung at the same bpm (beats per minute) throughout the verse. How do they handle the transition between verses? At least at UFC there's a 2 measure interlude.
Just interesting. Not right or wrong; different.
Note: one of the reasons the hymn service didn't work last time is that there was neither a slowing nor an interlude between verses. It felt very abrupt and wooden to go directly into the next verse.

Another good thing about tomorrow, besides it being the last day of this heat wave: the Oregon Country Fair ends tonight and the vendors will pull out tomorrow.
You know it's an odd event when the website tells you not to take pictures of partially clad people without their permission.

What doesn't get done by noon tomorrow ain't gonna happen. I'll start early, work hard, and watch the Tour de France in the afternoon.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

"We first make our habits and then our habits make us." - John Dryden


OK, it's time for the heat wave to be done. It's 92 outside and 90 inside. Tomorrow is going to be three degrees hotter.

We went to the truck show in Junction City this morning and I was disappointed. Plenty of brand new and almost new trucks and a few from the 50s, so lots of big shiny things. But all the cab doors were shut and none of the rigs with sleepers had them open either. That's where the cool stuff is, the surprising luxury.
So we weren't there very long. I did talk to a Kenworth rep. I worked at their plant south of Seattle the summer after my freshman year at college so I asked him about that plant. They now turn out only about si trucks a day, all specialty one-off rigs.

When we were leaving I saw that the backup camera I put in Thursday wasn't working. "Yeah, that didn't work at all yesterday."
What??? Why didn't you say something?
So when we got home I started checking fuses, all the wires, the connections.....
Discovered that one of the splices had come loose inside the connector. As soon as I fixed it the camera came back on with a better picture than it had before. But when I went to the gym this afternoon it was back to sketchy.
Next week I'll dig out the soldering iron and redo that connection the official way.

I heard a story on NPR this morning about the separation of children from their parents at the border. One of the fathers interviewed arrived with his son from Brazil.
Huh???? Brazil?!
Why is he a refugee? OK, their roads are pretty bad but they have GREAT meat.

I've got to be out of here early tomorrow to be at church by 8:30. I'm going to attend the class I'll teach next week.
G'night.

Friday, July 13, 2018

"We have, I fear, confused power with greatness." - Stewart Udall


I added a mile to my run distance today. I didn't set any records for time but it was respectable for an old man and at 10 a.m. we were already in the mid-80s. We'll be into the 90s again today and for the next four days. 

I've also agreed to help out at church with something they call The Bible Project. I think the name comes from some prof at Western Seminary who put together a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year program that also introduces the participants to the historical flow of the OT and NT. 
In the version being done by UFC participants attend a one-hour class before the worship service and learn about the portion of the Bible they've read that week. It's taught by two of the younger staff guys who alternate Sundays.
They wanted to add to that with, as Brett put it, "a token old guy." So I'm going to be the third in the rotation. Next Sunday (ten days from now) I'll give an overview of 1 Corinthians and then do a Q&A if people have questions about what they've been reading. 
I went to the class the Sunday before the 4th of July and attendance was down because of the holiday. I've been told there's normally about 40 but it was closer to half that the Sunday I was there. I'll go again this Sunday so I'm familiar with how the class goes, although I've been told I've got freedom to do what I think works. 

Low 90s again today and as I write this (4:30) it's 85 in our living room. It will probably climb to near 90 in here as the late afternoon sun hits the west side of MoHo. If we make it through to Wednesday (we will) the temps will be back into the high 80s.

According to the govt. the "well adjusted middle child" is going extinct because millennials don't want more than two children. Does this mean I'll be a collector item?

I watched most of the Isner/Anderson men's semi. Anderson (RSA) is 6'8" and Isner (USA) is 6'10". Two giants that played a match lasting six and a half hours thanks to really bad Wimbledon rules about tie breakers. Everybody, including Anderson who won the match, said they need to change those rules. It was brutal and Anderson has one day to be ready for his final match Sunday. 
It was one of those contests you wish could end in a draw so neither of them had to lose. 
Anderson has dual citizenship and went to the Univ. of Illinois while Isner went to the Univ. of Georgia. They were both at the top of collegiate tennis, played each other frequently, and became friends. So their embrace at the end of that match and the respect they showed to each other in their individual press conferences afterward was very cool.

We're driving 15 miles north to Junction City for the semi truck show tomorrow. We'll go first thing in the morning before it's crazy hot and maybe be there long enough to have lunch.
Just not at McDonald's, and certainly not salad at McDonald's.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Will Durant


The Country Fair doesn't begin until Friday but the traffic is already horrendous (at least by Veneta and Elmira standards) and the assembly of ne'er-do-wells is growing every day. Add the homeless who come looking for handouts to the liberals and hippies they hope will oblige them and the crowds would be spectator sport if they didn't clog the roads and local businesses.
The sell an average of 50,000 tickets per day for each of the three days. Population of Veneta: 5,000.
If I sound like a curmudgeon...well I may be one but you'd be hard pressed to find a single resident who doesn't dread this weekend. A lot of them plan their summer vacation so they're gone and the rest make sure the cupboards are stocked so they don't have to go out.
Temps over the weekend will be in the low 90s, so copious amounts of beer will be consumed adding to the chaos.

I wore my runner's watch on today's 3-miler. Should have taken a calendar.
Ugh.

+++++++++++++++++++++++
The above was written yesterday afternoon. By evening I was too tired to finish the post and pretty much forgot about it. I've just had b'fast (oatmeal w/raisons and a banana), I'm watching the Tour de France and going to write a bit before starting the day's chores.

I'm bummed. I uncovered the teardrop yesterday and discovered some serious damage. I don't know how but too much Oregon moisture got under the cover and the plastic. Despite about seven coats of spar varnish the plywood on the weather side has delaminated and is as soft as the oatmeal I just ate. The mildew was expected but this threatens structural integrity. The way this thing is built I can't replace the bad wood. The whole trailer would have to be disassembled and because most of it is glued and nailed that wouldn't work.

We have a camping trip planned for the end of August and I think it will be OK for that but I don't hold out much hope that it will survive another winter. One option is to tear everything off down to the trailer frame and build another one, this time making some design changes. But as cheap as it was to build it's still money we'd rather put to other uses (the MoHo reno). I don't think Pam will go back to tent camping. Maybe I can find a cheap used (vintage?) replacement trailer. The Blazer would certainly pull it with it's towing capacity which is significantly greater than the Kia's. Probably too expensive.

That camping trip has Prunedale as its terminus. A number of the group that attended Grace Community Church back in the late 70s and early 80s when I was the pastor are gathering for a reunion. We live all over now but still feel very connected. We'll attend church on 8/26 (I may preach) and then have a big picnic. I think there may be about two dozen people coming in for the day. Pam and I will camp the first night in southern OR and then in the redwoods just north of Prunedale for the three days we'll be there. Then the trip home.

I ordered a new air cleaner from Summit Racing for Sally because the stock one is too big if I install the Monte Carlo brace. When I talked to the guy on the phone he told me this air cleaner is 2 5/8" tall which worked. It came three days later (Tuesday). Alas, the filter element is 2 5/8" tall, but add in the bottom and top pieces it's over 3.5" tall. And that means I can't close the hood.

I called to get instructions for returning it. This guy looked through their catalog and after considerable searching found one that we're pretty sure will work. It's the same smaller diameter so it will clear the Monte Carlo brace and is only 2.5" tall including top and bottom.

The surprise: "It's not worth it to us for you to send that one back, so go ahead and keep it ($36). We'll send you this new one and refund you $1.42 because this one is cheaper than what you ordered the first time.
Who does that???

If, like me, you're pretty much fed up with pro sports here in the U.S. this is a very good time of year. The Tour de France, Wimbledon, World Cup, and F1 all active right now.
I don't care much about the World Cup final because of who didn't make it (Brazil or England) but it's still a spectacle. The Tour de France is cool and surprisingly good TV. Wimbledon has also eliminated the players I would have liked to see in the finals (Federer mostly) but still worth watching.

Papa John Schattner is the latest person to get caught in violation of social norms for speech, having admittedly using the "N word" in a conference call.
That word is racially offensive and therefore using it, especially in a conference call (!) also a violation of common sense.
But part of me is waiting for the backlash, for the "this has gotten stupid and we're not putting up with it anymore" movement. Pendulums swing; it's what they do. If a counter movement takes hold it's gonna be somethin' to see. People saying the most offensive thing they can think of to complete strangers.
"Hey, you're pretty" or "Are you Latino?"

It's 94 as I type this, and the weather site says the "feels like" temp is 99. Which is why we're sitting at Carl's Jr. soaking up their AC and wifi. In 30 minutes or so we'll order something to eat. The temp doesn't start dropping until about 8:30 or 9:00 when the sun drops below the hill just west of MoHo (still on our 3 acres) but I need to feed the goats because their internal clock means they start crying for the evening feeding about 5 p.m.
Neighbors. Dolly, especially, is REALLY loud.

Sleeping tonight could be difficult.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

'He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



I want this. It has street rod written all over it. SBC crate engine, 5-speed manual, stake bed.....

Anybody else think the President could have appointed Solomon for SCOTUS and still been opposed by the Dems? It's pretty much a giveaway when they announce their total opposition before he's announced his pick. Even the pretense of integrity is gone.

Yesterday afternoon I backed out the "high speed jet adjustment" on the new carb to see if it would eliminate Sally's slight hesitation at speed.
Note: I've never heard of a carb with an adjustable jet. Usually you have to open up the carb and put a larger/smaller jet in. So I wasn't sure how to set this one when I did the installation.
Oh my. Sally has a little kick in her pants!
I backed out the adjustment a whole bunch. Now I'll start turning it back in a bit at a time until the problem reappears, then out half a turn.

If you're a regular here you know that about three months ago at our pastor's impetus we had a worship service in which the music was all classic hymns and instead of our normal good worship band it was just a keyboard on a piano setting.
It was a good idea with lots of potential but the execution was off. The keyboard player was a younger guy who isn't familiar with the kind of keyboard accompaniment that backs up hymns. (He used a lot of right hand embellishment.)
Lewis (Lew) our music pastor and all-around good guy decided at Brett's encouragement to give it another try with some adjustments. Also at Brett's suggestion Lew asked if I would help them make sure it was "classic" in both hymn selection and execution.
Hymns are traditionally sung in a style quite different from contemporary Christian music, including phrasing, which is largely absent from CCM. 
Sure, I'll help if I can. So I suggested Lew and I have a conversation about some of the differences, like getting from one verse to the next. That was set up for 2:00 yesterday.
Lew called me about 8:00 yesterday morning to tell me he was going to be out of town on the 29th and was wondering, after hearing Brett's suggestion, if I would be willing to lead that service in his absence. (Anybody else seeing a "Brett" theme here??)
I asked if I could give him an answer when we met, mostly so I could ask Pam and do whatever she told me I should.

So....I'm leading worship on the 29th. No, I am not comfortable with this assignment but that's not the bottom line.
We'll have a different keyboard player. I know Gustavo well (in the small world dept. he's originally from Belen, Costa Rica where I was on my teaching trip) and he "gets" hymn accompaniment, so I'm confident that part of it will go much better. My concern is the doofus who's in over his head as the leader.

Coming soon to a Starbucks near you: adult Sippy Cups.

I bought a rear view camera on Amazon for $32 to put in the Blazer. With the rear hatch it's hard to see when backing up and I figure it will make hooking up the trailers much easier.
Easier than getting this thing installed! The directions are translated from Chinese by someone who should have used Google Translator. The diagrams are worse, combining bad translation with poorly drawn wiring diagrams.
I eventually figured out which wires need to go where and got the camera hooked up. The display also has to be connected to a power source and that's proving to be a challenge. In a car as old as Sally you find a wire under the dash that carries constant power and splice into it. With modern vehicles they hide all those wires behind plastic panels and run them through complex connectors that make it impossible to figure out which wire goes where and does what.
I got the camera wired in and will tackle the monitor connections tomorrow.

Marta emailed me the final report from Eclair's necropsy. Except that it's written in medicalese and we can't make any sense out of it. Marta is going to call the guy tomorrow and try to get an explanation that make sense to us, then let me know. Mostly I want to know if I could have or should have done something differently.
The one thing I could get from the report is that a stretch of his small intestine was dead tissue before his death.

Isn't "free gratis" redundant?
Related: I dislike the word impactful. It sounds made up.

Highs in the mid-90's Thursday. I'm trying to talk Pam into going to Florence an hour away on the coast where it will be in the mid-70's. Picnic lunch on the beach, a visit to the lighthouse....
Sounds better than sweating in MoHo.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

"I have never been hurt by what I have not said." - Calvin Coolidge


Sitting at Starbucks before church using their wifi instead of our painfully slow satellite connection at home. Pam's watching videos of some Christian comedian, listening through her ear buds, and laughing out loud because she forgets everyone can hear her. I usually give her a top to remind her to laugh to herself but this morning I'm OK with it.

If I am indeed going back to Brazil next year I'd like to have some very basic Portuguese skills. So I'm going through Duolingo lessons online, something also best done at Starbucks. It's better than nothing and it's free (a big plus). But I hope other language programs give you a little more to work with. I wish there was a vocab list I could turn into flash cards, an explanation of verb declensions, and an easier way to hear word pronunciations (which are beyond weird in Portuguese). I'm going to keep working with it hoping that at least some of it sticks. I'll also see if I can find a basic vocab list for flashcards.
If this does me any good I may spend the money to do one of the more developed language programs when we get closer to a next trip.

We're in for a hot week. By Wednesday we're going to be in the low 90s and stay there through the weekend. MoHo gets pretty hot, especially now with the diseased trees removed and thus no shade from the afternoon sun.
Next weekend is also County Fair weekend here at a site just 5 miles from us. Think Woodstock with "alternative lifestyles" added in large measure. And traffic. And stoned hippies looking to crash anywhere they can find a flat spot to lay their sleeping bag.
We may head to the coast for the day Friday. Saturday is the big Semi Truck Function in Junction (City) 10 miles to our north. They have loads of custom semi's and a variety of work trucks that are all tricked out. It will be beastly hot (mid 90s) but if we go in the morning it will be OK. And like Duolingo it's FREE.

For nodding off programming after we finished lunch we "watched" a PBS "Live from Lincoln Center" episode featuring a pianist named Lang Lang. (Chinese?). He played a Steinway. Instead of the typical grand piano collapsable support for his music it had a much smaller version that held an iPad. You could see that the iPad had his sheet music and that it changed pages as he played.
Cool.
So was there someone off stage remotely advancing his music?

I run three days a week, go to the gym on alternate days, and take Sunday off. After the obligatory nap I decided it was too nice to spend the rest of the afternoon in my recliner so I went out to move firewood from one of the several rows out by the goat pen into the woodshed in anticipation of next winter.
It seems wood piles are ideal sites for hornet nests. I tried three different rows of stacked wood and was met by a swarm at each.
Hose down the wood, quickly load up the wheelbarrow, take it to the woodshed for stacking, repeat.
This may best be done in the early morning hours, eh?

Two meetings at the church offices tomorrow, one at 1 p.m. and another at 2 p.m. The first is about music and the second involves the possibility of doing some teaching.
I need wisdom and grace.