Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again — 2015 and I'm Running Out of Titles--Any Ideas?

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Greetings Pen Friends, Virtual Travellers:

Ides of January?

Packing for QuartzFest at Mile99. Dump and Fill. Main engine start. Build air. A few more odds and ends and tomorrow at the Food Bank. All I have to do is remember the sugar bowl and the telly antenna.

ImbolcSilver Chalice.

What conventional tea do you get at a convent?

I'm trying to remember from whence I bought my previous batch of Triple Leaf Relaxing Tea when that question popped into mind...

Another thing that came to mind this morning was your determination to simplify. Cut down on the junk. Divest.

Actually that came to mind yesterday whilst I was standing at the fleece market and paying for the two silver cups. I don't really need these, said I to my Self. Yes, but you do really want them, the devil echoed.

So this morning I commenced to compose a list. In mind, mind you, not on paper; leave no evidence on leafs blowing in the wind that might come round to taunt or haunt. All the things I have not used in a year? Some things I've not even touched in a year. Some I've not even thought about for longer than a year. They all have to go. Then there is my horror-scope this morning: "Your dreams inspire you to set lofty goals today..." But then the seer gives me a way out with "... yet the strength of your convictions counteracts any discouragement that may surface if you don't accomplish everything..." With that I suppose I may as well get started. But first a cup of tea and a little more list making... Tea? Oh yes, What tea in a nunnery? Why, Constant Convent of course.

Another thing to think about would be Painting The Bus. Mike sent some ideas on that idea.

All went well with the getting ready, right up to start the motor one more time just to be sure. Didn't start. RRRrrr-Rrrr-rrr-clunk...

SKP Escapade

Busy hectic draining expensive exciting encouraging enlightning and educational are all a few of the words I would employ to describe this past week at the 55th SKPade. Emotional too at the closing ceremony which evoked a familial bonding. Some 850 rigs arrived for the week at the Pima County Fairgrounds indicating on the order of 1600 or so attendees. Plus a few hundred day visitors including quite a few members of the general public. Over all as many as 2000 including staff and fair ground employees.

Lots to do. For me this whole week was a Bucket List Item in participation, promise, expense. While I found most of the seminars to be targeted at a level that did not interest me, I did find some of them informative if only to learn what some people don't know.

I spent more of my time volunteering. Helping out with the Special Event Ham Station W7E, driving shuttle cart to carry attendees to and fro between events and far flung camping, assisting “Too Crazy Ladies” to close shop and hitch up for departure... And of course meeting other participants, especially other Hams. There were some 35 check-ins at the morning radio nets and about that many at the Show&Tell Ham Radio Lunch. Now I need a week to clean up after.

But first there is Pi Day. This one "The Pi Day of the Century" to be perzact. What do you make of that? 3.141592659... Works out to just about Pi for breakfast. Or brunch. On the 14 of March 2015 at 9:26. We could have done it again in the evening; a bedtime snack. But there was no pie left by then.

Pretty much a thousand dollar week. And I've only just scratched the surface of necessary repairs to the front end of The Cat Drag'd Inn. Nita had a hip replacement; Rosemary had two finger knuckles replaced. The Cat Drag'd Inn needs her ball joints replaced but despite being almost as old as me she doesn't quite qualify for Medicare. But you can help make up for the lack of socialised auto repair. See the link to PayPal in the fine print right at the top of Letter List on the index page.
Camp at Train Spotter
                Hill--Mike's efoto
Back to Tonopah. Mike and I spent a couple of nights at Train Spotter Hill, along the tracks between Gila Bend and Maricopa, watching trains, counting cars, picking up trash, finding geocaches, and making a pie.

Back to Tonopah, to a pile of mail, and the same ruts from whence I left. Paul says Welcome Home. Thank you Paul. Hurricane Hazel is beside herself with the excitement of getting back to her social work amongst the avian and rodent communities.

CleanUp is Taking Longer Than a Week.

Going on a fortnight and I've yet to do the laundry. I did manage the dishes but it was a case of do them or eat off paper towels.

Food Bank

Dandy. Productive day at Food Bank. Fixed a few things. Salvaged a few things. Tossed a lot of junk to the scavengers. There is a certain perverse power pleasure in having such awesome responsibility. It grieves me to throw away stuff that would be saleable if only I had the parts to effect repair. But the parts cost more than the Thrift Store would realise from the sale of the device/appliance. And there is no place here to store parts so I canna even scavenge from one against the likelihood of repairing another later. Not to mention that there are always too many choices. Belts for vacuums for instance. Usually it is the belt that is broken that drives the spendthrift incompetent to donate the vacuum in the first place. And televisions. Lose the remote--go buy a new telly. What am I supposed to with a telly that has no remote?
Sun Chimes
Yesterday there was a TiVo box donated. No remote. You canna even turn the box on without the remote. Not to mention that the box is useless without a contract. And if you take out a contract you get a new box anyhow. Best I could do was salvage the hard drive. The rest goes to the scrapper. And the hard drive, while a standard 40GB PATA [not much use in this day of 20-30GB operating systems] is of some weird format that makes the content invisible to a normal computer. Probly end up removing the platters and making sun chimes.

A perfectly nice, good quality blender/food processor was donated. Stupid microprocessor control... Most likely failed SCR. Who needs ten speeds in the first place? Most people don't use all the speed choices on their bicycle never mind on their blender! One speed. Two at the most. I could have made the blender work. If'n it were mine I would have put in a simple toggle switch: On/Off. Done. Useful. No... this one got tossed in the tip.

I did manage to repair one upright vacuum yesterday. Hair ball clogging the hose where it bends between the floor part and the upright part. No suction. Messy job, all that dust and hair. 150$ vacuum new might fetch 10 or 20 in the thrift store.

But right about then stupidity struck. Packing away tools and the day's haul of food I had to put some stuff in the cooler to keep it frozen. Atop the cooler was a cat-carrier sized shopping bag containing a several years collection of Maine Public Radio tote bags along with a few others from different sources. I put them on the roof of the truck so I could get at the cooler. A little voice I often ignore said: Don't do that... And I ignored it this time too.

A few miles up the road to Fry's Market and I reached behind the passenger seat for my sack of tote bags. Not to be found. I just knew where they were. I headed back and on the way made a hasty call to the food bank to ask someone to go look in the street. No sign of my tote bag collection.

Days later I wrote to Maine Public Broadcasting Network: “Several times over the past umpteen years I have donated to MPBN and received a tote bag in return. Thank you very much. They have been most useful over the years. Now they are gone. The natural ones with Maine Public Radio emblazoned on the side, the black ones with the colourful MPBN logo... All gone but the green one with the zippered side pocket which fortunately was elsewhere the day stupidity ruled.

“I don't listen to MPBN from here in AridZona, DX is not much use in FM radio, but I still donate annually just because on occasion I catch Dick Estell on some other channel and because one of these days I Shall Return. So... I miss my MPBN tote bags very much. How much of a donation will it take now to replace at least two MPBN tote bags?”

And surprise of surprises: Bill McCue, Membership Specialist, MPBN, wrote back: “...I'm also going to send another popular tote bag to you because your email warmed my soul on this frigid Maine morning. Please accept the tote bags as a token of our appreciation for your continued membership.....and of course - you know we'll be looking for money again in the future!”

2017 Solar Eclipse

I have reservations for the occasion at The Dead Roach Ranch in Driggs IDaho. Just on the north side of town. My safe eclipse viewing gadgets arrived in the mail yesterday. Today is not too early to make reservations if you want to ride along on this expedition. Needless to say I canna make much of an itinerary until I know who is going to ride with me. Chicken and Egg sort of thing, eh...

April Fools?

I am fascinated and dismayed how I am in receipt of more greetings on and about this date from my extended family of Pen Friends, Hams and RVers than from my kith and kin. But then I have never been all that good about sending greetings to others, near or extended, so perhaps this is my karma.

TinyTruck had a run in with some bees a few days ago. Headed eastbound on Indian School Road. A car passed me going the other way and right behind it there was a dark cloud coming at me, as if clots of mud were being thrown off its wheels. I ducked, a splattering thudding rattled on my windscreen. Bees! A hundred at least I counted later the splat marks as I cleaned the debris.

Happy Easter Sunrise here right about now. A little cool for a pagan dance around the henge but warm enough inside. Perhaps at sunset 'twill be warm enough for a reprise.

For this occasion I'm mostly Ok. My PSA and my weight are back down where they belong. I've had to give up my daily ale and I fast for three days once or twice a month (at least I like to believe I do anyhow...) to get the weight down. PSA meds are 90$ a month but I pay only about eight-five cents between insurance and "extra help". Somebody else's taxes make up the rest.

But the side effects of the meds are worse than the original problem. Itchy eyes, runny nose, nose bleeds. I find my self taking extra naps.  Hurricane Hazel is busy with her social work among the avian and rodent communities. She specialises in population control and various track and field fitness programmes. She is also showing me how to take naps almost anywhere. No bed required.

Learning to Fly a QuadCopter...Thanks Jon!

First Cross-Country flight Ends at The Bar

Happy Big Wind Day

Yesterday was Roadside CleanUp with the Friends of Saddle Mountain. Fascinating... Amazing what some folks toss from their cars along the road. One item of interest this time was three brand new still in the wrapper "Lifestyle" appliances and one that was named after an ancient wooden horse. The usual clutter of aluminium cans and brown glass bottles make up most of the weight. The cans we collect in a separate bag--they're worth a few cents each at the scrap yard. Scraps of tyre, and pizza boxes from the nearby truck stop, are other high-count items. The heaviest item this time was an industrial yellow "chain hook" with one link to a six inch by 3/4 eye bolt. Another item of interest was a gasket set and invoice for a rebuilt filter assembly destined for the nearby power plant. (Prob'ly tossed with the beer bottles and pizza box... Might explain why they have been off line recently.)

12th April each year is observed as Big Wind Day- the day when the highest wind speed ever was recorded at 231 miles per hour by the staff of Mount Washington Observatory. So this day has been a holiday ever since. Sources say that in 1996, Australia recorded a non-tornadic wind of speed 408 km/h but Mount Washington has historical precedence. So there! 231 /is/ bigger than 408.

 This is also National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. And "Drop Everything And Read" day? Read this: Jon Lingel, Observer on Duty at the Mount Washington Observatory on this day in 1970, was the first person to my knowledge to make a big deal observance of this affair. Party-Party-Party was his motto and we didn't have to look far (even tho the visibility was often at least 90 miles) for a reason to celebrate something.

A Taxing Day

Last night there were FIVE javalina in the yard. Trampled my lily, upset the birdbath, left foot prints (and right ones too) all over the place. FIVE! Three pig ones and two littl'uns. The whole fam damily. I went out twice and threw rocks. Tried to use my sling shot but couldn't hold that and a flashlight at the same time. I'll try strapping the light to my arm...

HamRadio Q-SignalsHamming it Up on Field Day

Prob'ly more than one list but this lists about sixty of them from QNA to QTR. But none concern what one might be wearing. TXTrs  have shorthand for NIFOC and I have used NIFOR when running RTTY on Field Day. But I think the time is nigh that we have something in keeping with the tradition of Q-Signals. A Q-code to equal NIFOR. I propose QNK to mean the same as NIFOR; or QSR if you want to add a little Spanish accent. Needless to say if you send a QuestionMark following the QSR it would be the same as asking: Are you?

Feast Day of Saint George—take a dragon to lunch

Yesterday at the Food Bank where I volunteer--fixing donated things for sale in the Thrift Store--the manager was extolling my wizardry to a couple of visiting benefactors. At one point near the end of her laud I stood up from my work to take a bow and said to one of the visitors: Quick! Pat me on the back before everyone forgets why... Got some pats and some chuckles...

MayDay MayDay...

TinyTruck is in want of new lower ball joints. L.F. tyre is seriously worn from misalignment. Bus still waiting on parts for her problem. Filling fell out of my tooth #12 and will cost several days of pain and angui$h to replace. But that will be better than the top-of-the-line PO$H treatment of the preferred plan.

May The Fourth Be With You

This is International Star Wars Day. Anyone for a marathon viewing of the double trilogy? Towel Day is up next. May 25th. Grab your towel and hitch a ride. But first...

Revenge of The Sixth

All my problems pale next to the affair with my sister Susan--her birthday is the day after mine. Following in the footsteps of the brother gone before her, my sister Susan went into hospice care this week. I talked to her yesterday. Doped to the hilt, she is feeling little pain. Hard to understand her speech--slurred, random, missing words. I thot I'd get started early to spread the grief around a bit. I didn't miss the two brothers who died this past year, we never were all that close; but I am going to miss this sister. Her doctor doubts she will see another Mother's Day. The older I get the more dead people I know.

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.

Love, ajo

front page trailerI do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2015, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.