Monday, August 25, 2008

A Silly Video

And now for something completely different, a silly video...

Second and better version...

Pretty fun stuff eh? Well a week into the bike trainer and I've been on it 4 times. Tammy made me move it outside to keep the visiting grandbaby from sticking her fingers in the chain etc... My butt still get's sore but yesterday, I wore a pair of bike shorts. You know the ones that have a diaper built in for padding? That helped elminate some of the pain. That will help keep me riding it. Anyway.....

Until Next Time.....



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Something Old, Something New

I Promised to post a funny bear story for your perusal a few weeks ago. Well, here it is, "Something Old"

Now here’s the funny story I promised. As all of you know, we enjoy camping quite a lot. We started out with a tent, graduated to a camper shell, moved on to a tent trailer and finally, a fifth wheel trailer. One of our favorite areas to camp is Mammoth Lakes. The rugged natural beauty of the area keeps us going back. There’s a rumor going around that I go only for the fishing… but that’s another story. I dutifully try to buy good camping equipment that will last for a while. Early in our camping experiences, I purchased a camping cook kit. Kind of a glorified mess kit actually. I was proud of that thing, such a wonder to cram all that stuff into such a small package. When the kids were a lot younger and we were in the tent trailer stage, we camped in coldwater campground. The area is known to have bears occasionally. In reality, the area is the favored route the local bears use to forage in the region’s many garbage cans and dumpsters. These bears have never met an ice chest they didn’t love. For some of the more timid campers this can be quite disconcerting. The campground host’s advice is always the same. Put your food away to prevent any marauding bears from attacking your ice chest and make lots of noise when you encounter one. Well, Tammy being the somewhat seasoned camper she was took the noise advice literally. She passed out pans, tin plates and spoons to bang on them with to the kids. Her weapon of choice was the lid / frying pan off my prized camping cook kit. While we were enjoying the after dinner campfire a rather young bear wandered as they often do between our campsite and the one behind us. I’ve often observed this behavior in bears that have a regular round of dumpsters and campgrounds. I pointed and said “hey, look at the…” Before I could say, “bear,” the fire circle erupted into a cacophony of ringing pans, clanging aluminum skillets and a frenzy of ear piercing screeches. Before I could stand up, the fire circle was devoid of female humanity in any form as they all piled into the trailer with a screeching racket to seek refuge from the bear.
The dust was still rising as the bear stood up, looked at us and decided he’d better get the heck out of Dodge. As the ear-splitting din subsided, I turned to see what had caused the ringing in my ears and had sent my nerves somewhere near Pluto. My ears were numb with the after effects of an atomic blast to my eardrums. I’m sure there were news reports of a frothing bear that was not seen but only heard, as the sound barrier was broken for the first time by a young bruin. The report would have surely concluded with the sighting of a bear crumpled up in a sobbing heap near some tree that he collided with as he’d recklessly sought a safe passage out of the county. I was positive that we’d be excommunicated from the forest for cruelty to adolescent bears. I still hear rumors of a bear in the Inyo National Forest that begins to suck his thumb and tremble uncontrollably at the mere whisper of metal being beaten with a feather. Tammy was quite elated that the bear had left as she nervously clutched the camping cook kit’s lid / frying pan in one hand and a big wooden spoon with the other. As I walked over to the trailer to calm things down a little, I observed the real victim in the melee’. Alas, dear camping cook kit’s lid / frying pan we barely knew ye. My camping cook kit’s lid / frying pan will never be the same. It began the trip as a well-used but straight and serviceable piece of camping equipment. It is now a mere whisper of it's former self. It can only be used as a handicapped version of it’s serviceable shape before the unprovoked attack. We loved that camping cook kit’s lid / frying pan. I bought it from a camping outlet when I was employed at Forest Home probably 10 years before. While it will forever bear the dents and twisting of metallurgic genocide, it is forever a memorial, nay a magnificent testament to the many fun camping trips we've had.

Now for "Something New"

I have noticed my girlish figure expanding over the last 30 or so years and have decided to try to do something about it... again. I purchased a bicycle trainer. For those who are uninitiated in the cycling world, this is a device that you can attach your existing bicycle to that allows you to ride to your heart's content or detriment as the case may be in a stationary position. That is, indoors in the air conditioned comfort of my home. I can watch old reruns of "Hogan's Heroes" while I hopefully pedal my way to a slimmer healthier more beautiful me. Well maybe not beautiful but if I'm going to dream lets dream BIG OK? Look out Adonis! So far the only disadvantage I see is the pain in my posterior from the lack of riding the last year or two. Yes, the old glutes are out of shape along with the substantial dunlops investment over-hanging my belt. Stay tuned for the blow by blow excitement of "Pedals for Brother Fred" or "How to Make a Peeping Tom Throw Up."

My favorite Olympic moment so far: When our relay team clobbered the frenchies in the 400 meter freestyle swim to take the gold. Go ahead and talk your smack frenchie...

Until next time...



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fun Stuff

Yesterday I managed a feat of Amateur Radio par excellence. I usually wake up pretty early even on my days off. Yesterday was no exception as I awoke at 05:00. As my habit is, I came in the shack and turned on the radios and booted up the computer. I was kind of playing around not really paying attention on 40 meters. That is, 7.035 MHz for those that don't know anything about radio. Forty meters is one of the longer wavelengths and can at time perform exceptionally well in the evenings, nighttime and other low sunlight conditions. I use a computer soundcard interface to work digital modes a lot. I was looking at an RTTY, Radio Teletype or Teletype signal on the waterfall. Jargon Alert, waterfall is a display that slowly scrolls down the screen like a waterfall. I put the cursor on this signal adjusted it to the correct parameters and found it was a special event station. BT1ON, the 2008 Beijing Olympics Special Event Station! Wow! I tried probably a dozen times before they actually heard me and we made a contact. My first ever mainland red Chinese contact. To put this into perspective, we are in the middle of the lowest point on the 11 year solar cycle. Jargon alert, the solar cycle is the engine that drives everything in radio. It is the number of sunspots that appear on the sun's surface. More sunspots, better radio propagation, fewer sunspots less propagation. We've been in the middle of a long period now with very little or absolutely no sunspots. So you can see how it's exciting to get a once-in-a-lifetime contact. Boy, was I stoked. I couldn't wait to tell Tammy then my radio buddies about the accomplishment.

As often happens in my life, I have a negative event occur on the heels of a positive one. I was leaving to have coffee with my radio friends and tell them of my success on 40 meters. I walked out of the house promptly stepped in a hole in the driveway, twisted my ankle, fell down, scraped a 3 inch patch of skin off my left knee and writhed in pain for a half hour. Now I have a weak left ankle. It has the elasticity of a piece of worn out rubber. I have sprained it many times. This time it was the right ankle and guess what? Yep, I scraped the flesh off my left knee. It couldn't be the same leg of course, now I'm hobbling around like an old cowpoke. Fun... NOT! Now I'm discovering another old guy thing. I wonder if anyone has made a study of how age directly correlates to how quickly we heal? Or how age directly correlates to how many body parts are injured in an accident like this? Somebody could surely put something together. Then we could be more careful... Well, not really. I usually have my mind on other things. Another old guy thing... my concentration is going back to where it was when I was about 5 years old! Oh well, I'm not experiencing anything that my forefathers haven't. I guess I'll just keep on keeping on as Churchill said.

Anyone recognize these photos?

They sure are cute, too bad they grow up. I scanned these from some slides I took a long time ago. Thanks to the kids for the slide scanner for Father's Day. I'll post some more at a later date. Believe me, there are a lot of them. Maybe now we can all see them. These were all taken when I was learning how to use a 35 mm totally manual camera. A Pentax K1000. What a great camera that was. Sara has it now, I hope she uses it some.

Until next time,