ENTRY 0021, November 26, 2013
Wow, how things have
changed. It's been more than five years since I
updated this page. There are several reasons for
1. Social media was in its infancy five years
ago. Now, everybody seems to have an account for
at least one social media website, usually several.
This sort of renders blogs on personal websites
irrelevant. And yet, here I am updating it. Go figure.
2. We started a Blogger page. However, we have
not updated that in a very long time, either.
Instead, we spend a lot of our time on Facebook.
Sheila also likes Pinterest, while I go for Twitter.
3. Work went insane for a while. This actually
started about 8 or 9 years ago, with the new
principal. Let's just say that she and I did not
see eye-to-eye. It was an exceptionally
stressful time for me, and steadily got worse over the
years. This year, things are MUCH better, with
new leadership. Our new principal was a science
teacher at our school years ago, and is a man I
greatly respect. Not that this is an excuse for
not blogging, but it is a reason for major "blockages"
in my life.
4. Realizing that these are read by nobody, unless
they happen to come across them completely by
accident, kinda made this a pointless effort on my
part. but like Sarah Connor, at this time, these
are for me.
5. I also used Netscape Composer to write these
pages. When I upgraded the desktop computer, the
new OS (Windows Vista) was no longer compatible with
Composer, and I stopped posting because I was too
freaking lazy to find something else to help me write
my pages. I downloaded Mozilla SeaMonkey after a
while and finally got around to trying it out...
Last time I talked about how the house next door was
abandoned. It was eventually sold to a family
of, for lack of a better term, Hillbillies, from out
of the High Desert near Twenty-nine Palms. They were
an interesting family. One example: The
grandfather came by one day and asked if he could take
some of our lemons from our tree. Since we were
not picking that many, I thought it was better than
letting them go to waste. We'd pick a bag or so
every couple of weeks, and they ended up lasting us a
couple of months. So he says he'll pick some the
next day. And he did. And the next day,
and the next. In just five days he stripped the
tree bare. He then took the lemons to several
local restaurants and traded them for free meals for
the next few weeks. We were not planning on
using that many, but when I said "yes" I was under the
impression that they were for personal use, not for
trading for food.
Eventually the Hillbillies sold the house (or the bank
took it, not sure which) but they moved back to the
hills near Twenty-nine Palms. The home was then
purchased by a young family, husband, wife, three kids
from infant to 10 years old. They were happy to
purchase a fixer-upper (the hillbillies had done very
little to improve the home, and neglected quite a
bit). Before they moved in they spent a LOT of
time and money repairing and upgrading the
house. Once they moved in they began working on
the yard. The backyard would go from a field of
weeds to an amusement park. They have several
things that are generally found in actual school or
city playgrounds. They also added a trampoline,
a massive swing set and a two-story playhouse that
includes electric lighting and is fully
drywalled. They are good people.
Last time, Gas prices were up to $4.54 per
gallon. Prices has dropped by nearly a dollar
per gallon. The United States is currently pumping
more oil than the Middle East. Not bad, considering
the "Drill Here, drill now" crowd said our new
President was going to destroy the oil industry.
Anyway, what's new? (Or, more precisely,
what has happened since I last updated this
blog, five years ago?)
-Bush has gone on to become a retired
non-entity. It was actually kind of sad to see
how much the rest of the Republican Party avoided
him during the election.
- John McCain lost the first election. Barack Obama
became our president. It was an ugly election,
but was nothing to what the Tea Party did the
following time, when Mitt Romney ran against Obama,
-Barack Obama started out with massive
promise. He has since become somewhat...
disappointing. He slid to the right farther
and faster than I would have imagined.
-We still have two working rovers on Mars. One,
Opportunity, have exceeded its expected lifespan by
about 1500%. That is still Too Cool For Words.
The second rover, Spirit, finally gave up the ghost
and the mission was officially terminated on May 25,
2011. However, the Mars Science Lab, also
called "Curiosity", landed on August 6, 2012.
I am particularly excited by this, because one of my
former students worked on this project. It is
a far more advanced rover than the twins were.
- The shuttle has ended its run. This makes me
both happy and sad.
A. Sad, because we don't actually have a human-rated
spacecraft at this time. There are are few
coming down the pipe, but we don't have them
yet. This means the only way we can get to
space is to hitch rides with the Russians on a
B. Happy, because the shuttle had a good run.
The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs lasted only
a few years each. The Shuttle lasted 30
years. That's pretty amazing.
- The Iraq war is essentially over. Afganistan
is still going on, but it seems to be just an armed
holding pattern, more than an actual war.
- Since the last update, We
went to Jon Stewart's Rally to
Restore Sanity in Washington,
D.C. This was the
third largest rally ever held
on the mall.
Sadly, it didn't really change
anything. Politics is
still an exercise in spite and
obstruction. Not a
recipe for getting things
-We also went to New York and took a cruise to
Canada. While there, we visited various, very
nice places and went to the Titanic Graves in
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Upon our return to New York, we got a personal,
behind-the-scenes tour of the American Museum of
Natural History, with a SomethingAwful goon who
I was also given an autographed copy of The
Pluto Files by Neil Degrasse Tyson. It was a
pretty nice day, all told.
- In November, 2012, I turned 50. For my birthday,
Sheila took me to the big island of Hawaii. It
was absolutely amazing. We visited the
observatories at the top of Mauna Kea. We were
supposed to spend a lot of time observing the stars,
but it was a truly rare night when the cloud layers
appeared both below the observatories (which is
common) and, more importantly, above the
observatories, which totally blocked the night
We also spent an entire day tromping around the
slopes of Kilauea, looking at lava flows and craters
(both active and less so).
We got to spend some time swimming with Manta
and later got a tattoo to commemorate our
Lots of other stuff happened, but that is enough for
Well, I gotta run.