Monday, September 30, 2013

Earlier This Evening

Wherein we discover the shortcomings of the mePhone camera... in tryin' to take pictures of tonight's brilliant sunset.  Note:

Unmodified, straight outta the mePhone.

Modified... closer to reality as I saw it.

Modified, and waaay over-exposed on the white.

Captioned as appropriate.  The mePhone takes great general-purpose shots but when it comes to creative stuff... like sunsets... I really should break out the Big Camera, which does really good work when it comes to sunsets.  Like this:


There are times when I miss Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park.  I had better vistas there, believe it or don't.

Project Update

Back in July I posted about starting a new project, to wit: "We've embarked on growing a "regimental" mustache, otherwise known as a "handlebar" (or we're tryin' to do so, at least)."  This was our starting point:


This is where we are now:


This is what we aspire to:

Col. Robin Olds

And then this took ALL the wind out o' our sails:


Sigh.  It's dispirited, we are.  

There are more world-class beards and mustaches here.  (H/T to Anne, at Gunsmoke and Knitting.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Old Tech



Amazing, simply amazing... a programmable writing machine from the mid-1700s.  Thanks go to good friend, occasional reader, and constant correspondent Lin.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday: Twitter Excess and Sumthin' For Fanbois

Fallon's take on excess... the end is great:



Full disclosure: I've never used a hashtag in my life.  Ever.

And then there's this:



No mention of when the actual release date is but you can rest assured there WILL be long lines.  Snake!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Masters of the Universe Turn 15 Today

From USA Today...

SAN FRANCISCO — Google is still in a birthday mood. On Friday as it marks its 15th anniversary the homepage Doodle serves up a playable pinata.

Use your space bar to give it a whack. You get eight tries to see how many candies you can shake out.
For a look back at Google history, you can also do a Google search on "Google in 1998" to turn up a retro version of the homepage.

On Thursday at an event in Menlo Park, Calif., where the company was started, search executives announced a major overhaul to the company's search engine.

The new search algorithm makes search results more relevant and useful, especially when users ask more complex questions. That's happening more and more as people use voice features on mobile devices to search for information.
The links are fun... chase 'em.  I remember sometime back in '98 when Dennis, my Head Geek aka The Master of the Databases, came charging into my office in Ra-cha-cha nearly yelling "Buck!  You GOTTA look at this!"  "Look at what?" sez I.  "This," sez he as he shoves me out of the way and commandeers my PC, bringing up the Google homepage.  We spent the next half-hour or so dreaming up weird searches and were simply amazed at how quick we got results... appropriate and germane results... to our queries.  A small part o' my world changed forever and I'm not kidding.

Used AltaVista lately?

In Which We Steal a Fellow Blogger's Thunder*

Here's an hour long video on the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, my favorite fighter plane from Big Bang Two.  I thought I'd seen just about every aviation teevee show ever made but this one was new to me.  The interesting thing about this video is its initial focus on the A-36 attack variant of the Mustang, which is quite extensive, indeed.  It's long but it's great good stuff, Maynard, including footage I've never seen before.



Oh.  The asterisk in the post title?  Well, it IS Friday.  My apologies, Chris.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Yet Another Chestnut


I've been searching for the daughter of the devil himself
I've been searching for an angel in white
I've been waiting for a woman who's a little of both
And I can feel her but she's nowhere in sight 
Oo, loneliness will blind you
In between the wrong and the right
Oo, coming right behind you
Swear I'm gonna find you
One of these nights 

Ah, yes.  I actually found that woman... the elusive mix of Satan's daughter (in a GOOD way) and the angel in white... but there's a rather large gap between the "finding" and the "holding."  Still and even, 23 years was a pretty damned good run.


The daughter of the devil himself.  Oxford, England c. 1981 or so.

Idiots Among Us



Taken 20 minutes ago at Wally-World, wherein this person required TWO handicapped parking spaces.  I didn't realize you could get a disabled tag for being mentally handicapped.

SN2 Will Be Pleased



The post title is an inside joke... the fam'bly knows that Sam has caused Cadbury-Schweppes to build a new Dr Pepper bottling plant whenever he was reassigned somewhere.  That and the fact the Commander had his own PALLET of Dr Pepper delivered to his ships by air once a week when he was at sea.  We've been unable to verify the rumor that the Navy designated Dr Pepper as a mission-essential commodity aboard USS MASON and USS MONTEREY in the past, but we don't doubt it.

So, good news.  For Sam.  As for the rest of us?  Our mileage MIGHT vary.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack, Wherein a Canadian Woman Sings a Mexican Love Song to Her British Husband

Are we global yet?



GotDAMN but this woman has a voice that simply oozes sex.  I don't envy very many people in this world but Elvis... the talented Mr. Krall... is certainly one such person.

So... today is yet another one of those days where summer doesn't seem to want to give up the ghost.  It's warm, it's crystal-clear, there are gentle breezes caressing my brow, and the lovely Ms. Krall caressing my ears.  It don't get a whole lot better than this these days.

Finally... We Have Recognition and Positive Reinforcement of Our Habits



Which reminds me... it's time for lunch. animal smileys

The h/t: Shoebox.

iSuccumbed

The Family Fanboi has been goin' on (and ON) about the wonders of iTunes Radio for the last couple o' few, beginning before iOS 7 had even hit the street.  So we downloaded iTunes this morning and are listening to iRadio on our computing device as we do our morning mail and blog tricks.  Like this:



So far?  Sounds a lot like to Pandora to me, albeit with a lil more eclectic music selection but not as eclectic as RP.  It's way too early to pass any sort of judgment... we'll have to live with it for a couple o' few days.  I AM beginning to worry about all this iShit that's appearing in my space, though.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Hippie Excess

It's a Beautiful Day with their signature hit (well, this and "White Bird")...


Hot summer day (Hot summer day)
Carry me along
Oh, hot summer day (Hot summer day)
Please carry me along
Hot summer day
Carry me along
To its end
Where I begin
Syke-a-DELICK, Maaaaan!  Or, everything that was wrong with the '60s, wrapped up in one song.  Still and even, I enjoyed hearing this and am reminded that, yes, I DID buy the album.  Some of the music from that period aged gracefully, others not so much.  My jury is kinda-sorta out on this particular song, which means I enjoy hearing it about once every four or five years.  Today was just such a day.

In other news... it's almost a hot summer day here on The High Plains o' New Mexico... 82 degrees, zero wind, and only 25% relative humidity.... perfect, in other words.  There aren't many days like this left this year so we're doin' the UCR thing out on the verandah with beer, a cigar and Radio Paradise (where I heard this song, just minutes ago).

Rock on, chillun.

I Have a Problem With This

From the Usual USAF Source...

Air Frame: Seven C-17 Globemaster IIIs, 11 KC-10 Extenders, and four C-5B Galaxies from the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB, Calif., prepare to launch in succession at Travis AFB, Calif., Sept. 11, 2013. The 22-aircraft "freedom launch" took place on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, with the first C-17 taking off at 8:46 a.m., the same time that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City 12 years earlier. (Air Force photo by Ken Wright)

The last couple o' few days the AFA's Daily Report has featured article after article after article about the doom and gloom associated with sequestration (e.g., selective mission curtailment, flying hours cut, training cut, modernization deferred, and potential early retirement of single-mission airframes [Goodbye, A-10], all for lack of money), with multiple "the sky is falling" quotes from the Chief of Staff and most of the MAJCOM commanders.  And then we see a blatant PR stunt like the above, which was NOT inexpensive to pull off.  What the Hell were they thinking?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life Might Could Get More "Interesting" Soon

I put "interesting" in scare quotes because I'm using it in the sense of that ol' Chinese curse: to wit: "May you live in interesting times."

It was a lil over 15 years ago I experienced a herniated disc in my lower back, an event that ultimately required surgery and six months of physical therapy rehabilitation, said rehab employing a regimen I truly believe was devised by Torquemada during the Spanish Inquisition.  Ever since that time... which I refer to as "The Year of Intense Pain"... I wince and go into "oh, no... not again!" paroxysms of fear whenever I experience lower back pain.  This has been the case for a solid week now, a week wherein we've been nursing lower back pain that simply will NOT go away.  A couple of Aleves take the edge off of the pain but nothing I do eliminates it altogether.  The worse part of the pain is the accompanying shooting pain in my legs, which I recognize as being symptomatic of disc problems.

The Second Mrs. Pennington was still with me when I went through that ordeal 15 years ago, or at least she was with me for the worst part of it, which was the surgery and the first six weeks of recovery.  I dread the thought of goin' through a similar experience all by myself and, truth be told, I have NO ideer how I'd be able to cope without some sort of assistance.  So we're sittin' here and hopin' our worst fears aren't realized.  I AM beginning to wonder, though.  A week is a long time to go through this sorta shi'ite; I would have thought we'd be outta the woods by now.

It's always sumthin'.

Wherein We Exceed the Half-Life of a Blog Post By a WIDE Margin

For the fourth and LAST time, I swear.  Skip to the end to find out why I'm posting this yet again.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Another Stoopid Re-Run

I got a nice e-mail yesterday from Ginger Cucolo, to wit:
To all,

If you are receiving this note, you contributed in some way to my project for researching the history of Military Identification Tags.
Dog Tags: The History, Personal Stories, Cultural Impact, and Future of Military Identification has now been completed. For this, I want to thank you.
Ginger went on to note her book is available at Amazon and through her book's web site, if'n you're interested.  I participated in her project by filling out a questionnaire, which came to me as a result of this post:

Sunday, January 21, 2007


A Lightweight Post for a Sunday

Via Kris, another one of those quiz thingies. This time, it’s “What Book Are You?”



You're Siddhartha!
by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in. This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in ferries.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

This one is closer than most, aside from the fact the test results say I’m really lonely. Au contraire. I’m alone, true, but I am not lonely. Big difference. Boy-Howdy is it ever true when they say “you've spent some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.” That statement really nails it! And I do believe in ferries, having been on quite a few. The book selection is interesting in one other aspect: check out this photo of my USAF-issued dog tag (click for larger). I’m Buddhist, by an official act of the US Gub’mint. The story behind that lil bit of trivia goes like this…

Once upon a time while I was still on active duty it came to pass, via directive, that all personnel had to have Official ID tags in their possession, at all times. Those of us who had lost their ID tags were ordered to report to the CBPO and get re-issued. So, I took my ol’ self down to the personnel shop, found the ID-tag foundry and presented my ID card to the airman in charge. He looked at it in a bored manner and asked “What’s your religion?” “No preference,” sez I. “No go,” sez he, “You have to choose a religion…pick one from this list…” and he shoves a list of about 25 religious denominations across the desk to me. I scan it quickly, and he’s right: there are no “No preference” or “Agnostic” categories. So I said “I’m Buddhist.” The airman didn't bat an eye and proceeded to pound out my dog tags. Ten minutes later I walked out of the personnel shop with my newly-minted dog tags and a brand-new religion. The Second Mrs. Pennington was most impressed when I got home, she being a closet Buddhist and all.

Siddhartha, indeed.
This is the third time I've run this post; I last published it in March of 2009.  A couple o' you Gentle Readers commented back then to let me know "No Pref" was an option on your dog tags, which caused me to doubt my memory.  I swear the story is true and I'm backed up by The Second Mrs. Pennington, who made one of her rare appearances in comments to that post to validate the story (and my religion, such as it is) in her left-handed way.  So, there.

I never mentioned this in previous iterations of this chestnut, but if ya look closely at the photo you'll see another war-relic: my P-38.  I've carried that puppy on my key chain ever since 1968, or so.  I use it, too.
11 comments:
You might want to read the comments linked above.  But anyhoo... I posted this to enlighten Sherlock.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Lucinda

The fine weather we know and love has returned to The High Plains o' New Mexico... it's a BEAUTIFUL day, with temps in the high-70s, low humidity, and those bright brilliant New Mexico skies we've been missin' so much of late.  So we've opened the windows and door and are ensconced on the verandah with beer and cigar in hand, listenin' to Lucinda.  Like this:



Congratulations are in order for Ms. Williams, seein' as how she was recently inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.  Next stop, Cleveland.

The Sunday Re-Run

Five years ago this date...

Monday, September 22, 2008


Fall

In honor of the first day of Fall…



 It won’t be long before people in the four-season part of the world will be seeing this sort of tableau.  Alas, such is NOT the case here on The High Plains of New Mexico.  In the northern part of the state, yes.  Here?  Absolutely not.
―::―

SN3 got his first USAF ID card this past week and The Second Mrs. Pennington was good enough to send along a scan:


She also included the following information…


He wears a men's size 10-1/2 in tennis shoes and a men's 10 in hiking boots.  I kid you not.  He weighs about 130 and I think must be about 5'2" now.


To which I replied, in part:  “Holy Shit!  …  Still: amazing.  It's not beyond the pale to think he could kick my ass if he had a mind to do so.”


I don’t think this would be feasible any longer.  Maybe not even possible!


Taken in April of 1997.  I'm just in from work, which explains the get-up.
Note I didn't say "five years ago today," coz that would be tomorrow... Monday.  That said, it'll be Fall at 2044Z today... or in a lil over an hour from when I post this drivel.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dreary

I don't believe it could be any drearier outdoors than it it is right now:


There's a fine mist in the air that's just shy of heavy fog (note the damp pavement).  It's pretty frickin' chilly, too... I was out on the verandah drinkin' the first part o' my lunch and had to come indoors coz it just ain't a nice day out there.  Here's what Google sez about our WX at the moment:


Note to Ma Nature:  It's still summer, Bitch... for another two full days.  So act like it, mmm-kay?

Math



I think there's a message here... but I'm not exactly sure what it is.  I'm the poster boy for more STEM in school.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: World Turnin'

It bears mentioning that my listening habits in the auto-voiture have changed radically since The Tart came to live with me.  It used to be that I carried no less than a dozen CDs in my car(s) and that still holds true, given I have a large selection of CDs residing in The Tart's glove box and other places, as we speak.  But... and here's the change... I don't ever listen to any of those CDs.  I spent seven days on the road... coming and going... on our recent Grand Tour and not once did I break out a CD.  Nope, it was all XM, all the time.  My XM listening is fairly limited in that I have four go-to channels... Deep Tracks, The Loft, Classical Pops, and NPR (no link required, eh?)... but I have been known to surf up and down the dial in moments of minor ennui.  But I always seem to get back to those Big Four.  One of the main reasons I listen to the first two channels is the deejays seem to pick music directly from my album collection, and I really, rilly like that (plus I have SERIOUS hots for Meg Griffin).  I also tend to hear stuff that I haven't heard in years and that fires off synapses that generally result in pleasurable experiences.  And I change the channel if those firing synapses aren't of the fun type...

So... here's a tune I heard on XM recently that evokes fond memories of Former Happy Days:


Everybody's trying to say I'm wrong
I just wanna be back where I belong

World turning
I gotta get my feet back on the ground
World turning
Everybody's got me down

Maybe I'm wrong but who's to say what's right
I need somebody to help me through the night
Well, yes.  We found someone (several someones, actually) to help us through the night when this song was current in the wayback.  The synapses that fire off when I hear this tune are pleasant, indeed.  That said, I think the album from which this tune comes is the last Mac album I ever bought.  But it sure was a GREAT album... and a great period in my life, come to think on it.

Rock on.

P.J. O'Rourke On Climate Change

I'm currently reading O'Rourke's "Don't Vote It Just Encourages the Bastards," which, as might be surmised, is a book about gub'mint.  The book is in Mr. O'Rourke's inimitable style, which is to say truthful and funny as all get-out.  I'm gonna do sumthin' today I've never done before: publish an entire chapter out of a book.  So, as the post title notes, here's what Mr. O'Rourke has to say on the subject of climate change.
Climate Change 

There’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. Maybe climate change is a threat, and maybe climate change has been tarted up by climatologists trolling for research grant cash. It doesn’t matter. There are 1.3 billion people in China, and they all want a Buick. Actually, if you go more than a mile or two outside China’s big cities, the wants are more basic. People want a hot plate and a piece of methane-emitting cow to cook on it. They want a carbon-belching moped, and some CO2-disgorging heat in their houses in the winter. And air-conditioning wouldn’t be considered an imposition, if you’ve ever been to China in the summer. 

Now, I want you to dress yourself in sturdy clothing and arm yourself however you like—a stiff shot of gin would be my recommendation—and I want you to go tell 1.3 billion Chinese they can never have a Buick. Then, assuming the Sierra Club helicopter has rescued you in time, I want you to go tell a billion people in India the same thing.
That's it... in its entirety... and he states the case perfectly.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Joe Jackson with my theme song...



Yeah... really?

WANT!

Want what, Buck?  Why, Spitfire Kentish Ale, of course!



More vids here... and the hat-tip goes to the Ex-Bootneck.  Brilliant!

While we're on about the beer... Wanna see more stuff like this?  Go here.




Heh.  DOUBLE-heh.

A Better View From Washington

From the Usual USAF Source...
Air Frame: The sun rises behind the Air Force Memorial, the Pentagon, and the Washington, D.C. , skyline, Aug. 25, 2013. (Air Force photo by TSgt. Peter R. Miller)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It's Always Sumthin'

We were up at the crack o' dawn this morning... literally, like 0600 hrs... so we could get over to The Big(ger) CityTM to have The Tart looked after.  The window on the driver's door decided it didn't want to go up and down on command while I was out Virginia way, which pissed me off mightily.  I thought for the briefest of moments... about 15 minutes, actually, which consisted of me tugging on an unresponsive window switch... that my window was gonna be stuck in the "down" position for a good long while.  That would have necessitated a visit to an away Cadillac Motor Car store for to be fixed, but the window eventually came up and I left it there.  Still and even, we remain unhappy.  Things simply should NOT break on a car that's only 15 months old.

So, anyhoo... it seems like The Tart needs a new window regulator which was NOT in stock (of course) and had to be ordered.  So we'll go back to Bender day after tomorrow for window repair, part II.  And another early day.  Aiiieee.

It's always sumthin'.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Helluva Way to Wake Up

Police work the scene on M St., SE in Washington near the Washington Navy Yard. The U.S. Navy said that three shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where about 3,000 people work.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
I got a call from SN2 about a half-hour ago; he wanted to let me know he's OK.  He led with "Did I wake you up?" and I replied that no, I'd been up for at least five minutes.  Then he told me about the shooting in the Navy Yard.  The shooter(s) were two floors above him in his building and everyone in his area is OK.  It sure as Hell could have been worse...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Gray

Eurythmics...


Here comes the rain again
Raining in my head like a tragedy
Tearing me apart like a new emotion
Oooooh
I want to breathe in the open wind
I want to kiss like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you
It's been gray and rainy for the entire three days since I got back home.  I missed the worst of it by a day (what with having returned home on the Thursday immediately after the referenced Wednesday below), to wit:
According to Accuweather.com Senior Meteorologist Mike Pigott, radar estimates showed that Roosevelt County received up to 4 inches of rain as of Wednesday afternoon as the showers continued.

“We have a lot of tropical moisture flowing into the region,” Pigott said. “There’s pressure from the Gulf of Mexico and the winds bring it into New Mexico. There’s very warm and humid air flowing into the region.”
This has been a strange and different summer here on The High Plains o' New Mexico.  I haven't ever seen a summer like this in my 11 years here in P-Ville and by that I mean it's been an inordinately wet summer with more rainfall than I've seen here, ever.  That's all well and good and we have no problem with that at all.  Rain is good and this summer's rainfall has gone a long, long way to mitigating the drought that has plagued us over the last few years.  Still and even, we're missing the brilliant blue, clear, and cloudless skies that we are accustomed to.  The pervasive grayness is affecting our mood, as well.  Over the past few days I've found myself wanting to "breathe in the open wind" like we did during the past three weeks.

Which brings us to this point: we're having some difficulty returning to our life as a self-imposed exile (in Portales!).  Our last three weeks have been chock-full of stimuli... an avalanche of new experiences, new places, new roads, new restaurants, new beer, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Not to mention the fact that we've been wrapped in the warm embrace of family and friends during that time, with all the good conversation and closeness therein.  So, here we are, back in our solitary life in a place that... for all its charms... is decidedly lacking in "new and different."  We're NOT burning in well at this point, which is to say I have this feeling that I should be doing SOMETHING besides "just being" and that's a weird and strange experience for me.

I'm wonderin' if my feelings are just a passin' sort of thing or if they're gonna be permanent.  I mentioned at some point during the past three weeks... tongue in cheek... that I might do that "sell everything I own, Part III" thing and move into one of the kids' guest rooms.  I'm beginning to think that's more of an option than I first thought.  OTOH... this, too, shall pass.  Mebbe.

Old Stuff From the Duffel Blog

This is... as they say... some good shit (from yesterday's Duffel Blog):
WASHINGTON, D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama has challenged Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, to a sanctioned one night Pay-Per-View match for control of Syria’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

“Asma al-Assad. Whatchagonnado when the Let’s Move! Coalition goes wild on YOU?” said the First Lady to television cameras broadcast worldwide. “I’ve been training for this day by eating healthy, being active and signing up for email newsletters about community events. And what have you been doing? Hiding in a bunker and not getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. WOOOH!”

Michelle Obama’s manager, Barack “The Bomba” Obama, stood by her side making exaggerated head nods and shouting “uh, Oooooh Yesssss!” as the First Lady spoke.

“That is why I am calling you out – next Saturday, in Geneva, Switzerland LIVE on Pay-Per-View – to enter the ring for control of your husband’s WMDs. No, cruise missiles, no chemical weapons, just you and me, sister, and the thousands of Let’s Move! Maniacs at home cheering me on, WOOOH!”
"Barack 'The Bomba' Obama"  Heh.  RTWT.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Putin On the Ritz*



From the Usual USAF Source...
Putin Addresses Americans on Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin appealed directly to the American people this week through a New York Times opinion piece in which he urged the United States not to strike Syria and instead seek a diplomatic solution. Putin said bypassing the United Nations and taking military action without a UN Security Council resolution could further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa, "unleash a new wave of terrorism," and "undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem." Putin said Russia is not "protecting the Syrian government, but international law." He also cautioned that civilian casualties "are inevitable" no matter how targeted a military strike may be. He claimed "there is every reason to believe" opposition forces, and not the Syrian military, used chemical weapons in Syria. And, he took umbrage with the idea of American exceptionalism, warning that it is "extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional." Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, said he "almost wanted to vomit" after reading Putin's Sept. 11 piece while at dinner, reported CNN. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday, in a tweet, called Putin's piece "an insult to the intelligence of every American." (See also Washington Post's fact check of Putin's piece.)
Do read that WaPo piece.  It's a pretty good and fairly neutral analysis of Putin's Op Ed in the NYT.  Plus... you can kill two birds with one stone if you've not yet read the Op Ed.  My opinion?  Syria ain't our fight and we should stay the Hell out of it.  Just sayin'.

*Don't get the post title?  Go here.


―:☺:―

Some minor facts about the recently completed Grand Tour of 2013... the average speed/average economy numbers are taken from The Tart's computer, which hasn't been reset since I bought her (in other words, the numbers are the averages for well over 10,000 miles).  The numbers in parens are from the one-year report.
Total miles driven: 4,214
Average speed: 47.1 mph (43.0)
Average economy: 23.6 mpg (22.7)
The Tart has well over 10,000 miles on her now and she hasn't begun to show her age.  She IS looking pretty rough after her run, though.  We'll fix that today.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Home

I've been home for about three and a half hours but we had some stuff to do before we updated the blog... stuff like Happy Hour on MY verandah while catching up with one of my neighbors.  And then there was the matter of dinner, provided by Domino's since the cupboard is somewhat bare and I didn't wanna go shopping today.  But, we're here... safe and about as sound as we get.  Google sez the trip from Little Rock AFB to P-ville... 713 miles... should take ten hours and 36 minutes.  I think Google is pretty optimistic, since it took me exactly 10 hours and 43 minutes and I certainly didn't let any grass grow beneath my feet.

NOT what ya wanna see in your rear view mirror
And there's this about that... I was fairly conservative on the way home, what with setting my cruise control at seven over the speed limit.  That worked great in Arkansas and Oklahoma, i.e., 77 in 70 mph zones, but not so good in Texas where the limit is 75.  Yep... I got popped, not ten minutes into Texas, for doin' 82 in a 75.  The cop was a good guy, though, and issued me a warning ticket: no points, no fine.  As for me?  The fear of The Deity At Hand, in the form of the Texas Department of Public Safety, set in and I set the cruise control for THREE over the limit for the rest of the way home.  It wouldn't do to get stopped twice in one day.

So.  We are home and we are happy, proud, and humble to be here.  Like Dorothy said: "There's no place like home."  Amen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just Checkin' the Box

That would be the blogging box...  Here's what we did today:



We're in the TLQ at Little Rock AFB tonight... it just worked out that we were in the vicinity when our day was done.  Nice digs at a cheap price, including two Michelobs for a mere three bucks... and ya can't beat that with a stick.  I changed my route, opting for the super-slab... I-40... instead of the scenic route.  I'm not sure if it's faster, or not.  There were moments today... as in when one semi doin' 67 mph feels it's important to pass the other semi that's only doin' 66 mph.  The resulting back-ups can be quite long and the frustration level can be quite high.  And you KNOW this happens waaaay too damned often.  The cure is to put on XM's classical station and roll with the flow.  Other than that?  It was an 80 mph world, most o' the time.

I did notice about nine or ten big-ass white state police SUVs parked in the median while passing through Tennessee, with the somewhat unnerving "Drug Task Force" lettering painted right underneath the "Police" lettering.  I got further unnerved when one of those SUVs pulled out into traffic and started coming hard after I passed by.  I was only doin' 73 mph, thanks to one of those big ass semis I was stuck behind, so that was a good thing.  The Man never got closer than a quarter mile behind me and never turned on his lights.  Am I paranoid?  Well, no... given there's that Deadhead sticker on The Tart a Cadillac and New Mexico plates.  I'm thinkin' I might could be a prime suspect.  (h/t to Curt)

So.  Home tomorrow, The Deity At Hand Willin' and the creek don't rise.  That's also assuming my ass holds out... it'll be a ten hour day if I go all the way home from here.  We're gettin' rather road-weary at this point.

Cheesy Videos XXIX

Four minutes o' drivin' the Blue Ridge Parkway, shot with the mePhone.

Never Forget


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Notes From the Road

We're in London, Kentucky this evening... which means we decided not to eat the whole enchilada, getting off the Blue Ridge Parkway somewhere around mile post 279.  That said, I did more than half of the 469 mile route and was well into North Carolina when I began to think that the road was looking a lot like more of the same, not that "the same" is bad in any way, shape, or form.  It is simply a beautiful drive and would be even better on a mo'sickle, about which: I saw hundreds over the last couple o' days.

I had virtually the entire road to myself today, just like yesterday.  Another interesting observation: I saw very, very few young people.  It seemed like every car I saw was filled with Old Gray Heads (including mine... but Wait!  I'm a very light blond, so never mind.).  Even the bikers were geezers (on Harleys, of course) with very few exceptions, most notably the two middle-aged guys on beautiful dual-sport Beemers I chatted with at an overlook.

So.  I decided to head for home and called up OnStar for routing directions.  (A brief parenthetical digression: OnStar doesn't work well everywhere, most notably in heavily forested areas.  It took those friendly folks FOUR attempts to get routing instructions downloaded to my car.  FOUR.)  I was almost at that proverbial "You can't get there from here" point in my journey and the folks at OnStar had some trouble figuring out a route for me, given I told them I wanted to avoid the superslab.  So, we got the "scenic route."  And BOY was it ever scenic, as in twisty two lane mountain roads that were a driver's delight.  Or a biker's.  That link takes you to a few biker tales about riding "The Snake," which is what I did today (if you substitute drive for ride).  Here's a thumbnail view of part o' my route today:



A bonus I didn't anticipate is I had that road pretty much to myself, as well.  A further bonus is I got to seriously exercise The Tart for the first time ever and I gave her (and me) a real workout in those twisty-turnies.  The Tart has a pretty cool transmission that will either shift for herself or let me choose the gears (as in a "manual automatic").  We used the manual for a good long time today, going into those 25 mph corners (posted) in second gear while holding her in the power band... from 4000 ~ 6000 rpm... and upshifting to third on the exit; rinse and repeat for a good 60 miles or so.  There were some straights where we got into sixth gear but those were few and far between.  That lil bit o' automotive exuberance prolly wreaked havoc on my gas mileage... it seemed like every time I looked at the tach to up or down shift my "Instant Economy" readout said 4 or 6 mpg.  I was on her hard.

So.  The Tart is a LOT o' fun.  She's too portly to be tossable but she does handle well and sticks on those turns in the twisties better than I thought she would.  That's actually sayin' a lot, since I expected her to be competent.  I didn't expect her to great, however.  And she IS great.

A couple o' pics from today and then we'll go.



Clearer than yesterday but still pretty hazy.  Somewhere south of Roanoke, VA.

I was surprised to see farms and homes along the Parkway.  Some, like this one, were quite beautiful.  Note the graveyard behind the farm.  I'll bet there are some stories there.

I shot some dashcam video today, but the Wi-Fi connection here at the Hampton Inn is painfully slow.  The Tube O' You estimated 97 minutes to upload a four minute video and it's still going as we type.  I'm gonna go to bed but I'll leave the computer running and post the vid tomorrow morning.