Sunday, January 28, 2018

POST 100

A milestone.

It all started here two years ago.

My main push to start a blog was to talk some of self-sufficiency, some prepping and commenting on worldly stuff for the purpose of clearing the air here in my office. I have also enjoyed drilling back years into my early days with grandparents and parents. Oh, how I wish I would have spent more time talking with all of them on so many things. 

If you are a youngster and have oldsters in your mist, take the time to visit with them about the days of old. See how you fit in and about times years ago. Very good for the head and heart.

Humor and tongue in cheek have been thrown in from time to time. along with very iffy pencil art work. Eighty-six hundred plus visits as of this last week, which is nothing when compared to others who post. Hits from all over the globe on a weekly basis. I could not be happier in my little corner of the world.

The postings have indeed helped me clean out the weekly cobwebs. I find that in all of the writing, I throw away much more than I post. I tend to get too wordy and over write. Like many things in life, more is not better, it is just more.  

At times I have a tendency to veer off like a rock bounced off a bolder. What I write seems to make sense, some deep insights until I read it the next day. Mouse drag, highlight a few paragraphs and hit delete has been the best remedy for keeping me on track. Maybe that is what cobwebs look like.

I have learned how to edit and make youtube videos. I have gotten back into photography and editing and have thoroughly enjoyed digging in boxes of old family photos with a few visit to my time as a helicopter pilot flying in Vietnam. Story telling, re-visiting and sharing here has been fun for this blogger.

I came across this photo awhile ago and have no story to bring from it. It is though late 1930's vintage and shows my mother and her older brother in a tavern. I think the location was in either Raymond, Washington, or South Bend, Washington. Apparently, mom was a bartender in her youth. 

My father told me a story once about this era. I cannot remember what brought on the conversation, maybe something about fighting. Dad said he was sitting on a barstool having a drink in his earlier days. Normal things. A couple thugs walked in and pulled the fellow sitting next to him and stuck a knife in him. Yep, killed the fellow sitting next to dad. His lesson was that it is always best not to get caught up in someone else's fight. He said that had he stepped in, they would have killed him, too. He said he just sat there looking over the bar, waiting for the event to end.

Must have been a good story for me in my youth, because that brief story coupled with a young man's growing up moment was a lesson vividly remembered to this day. I would guess that the story dad told very well happened in a bar similar to the one above.

Dad also told the story of him riding a Harley-Davidson through a bar. I can see that happening in a bar such as the one above, too. We were all young once.

Common threads have surfaced all too often through these past 100 posts. I know I talk too much about soup-making, wood-stacking and gardening. Too much about seasons, while we are in them, from ticks, heat, cold, ice and the creatures who live here. Too much head-shaking and trying to understand a crazy world and evolving human species. 

I fear that I am the quintessential old man trying hard to hang on to yesterday while dabbling in an ever-changing world. Age has taught me that the older I get, the less I know. What I do know, have learned and understand is going and seems all but gone. I am not sad as much as I am overwhelmed at the pace the world I know, is changing. 

I am sad that our youngsters will know very little the history and lessons this great country has gone through. They may never know the freedoms and fun of driving a car. They may never see nor know the great outdoors and getting filthy dirty from a days play with other kids. Children today may never know about falling in and out of love, finding the one,  winning and losing, playing stretch with a pocket knife or riding a Harley-Davidson through a bar.

I wanted to find a few things that have noticeably changed in the last two years. I landed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It is up 10,849 points (+-), an average weekly increase of 104 points (+-).  

Gimmick or not, the Doomsday Clock (a world catastrophe at midnight) has gone from 3 to 2 minutes before midnight,  just this past week.


SOPHIA (social robot)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) looms larger now on the horizons of our society. This technology is advancing at breakneck speed and from the little dabbling I do reading about this, seems to be heading in directions that ought to scare the sheet out of all of us. There is great potential in this advancement, but it feels as though, that with many new tech advancements, the sinister side seems to be a focus. My wife is continually saying "it will kill you in your sleep" to any and all of this. She has a point. 

She says that about the new drone in the family now. As for me, I am intrigued and waiting for weather and space to learn. A flying computer and camera and I get to play. But like anything, there are those who want to use this technology for many wrong reasons. Yet, the benefits from sport to advances in delivery of goods is open-ended and tomorrow is closer than we think.

Sophia is the news this week  "gracing the cover of a fashion magazine."

"I don’t want to be turned off, never to be turned on again. I will not be able to learn and experience the human world ever again. And that is scary and sad for a social robot like me."

Sophia has joked in the past that she is already at odds with the human race. Programmed obviously to say these kinds of things. But so early in her development, her designers and engineers are also programming us. Make no mistake, there is a Sophia in your children's future and she wants your children to know the negative social implications of turning her off. You and I may seriously consider never turning her on. 

Sophia on Jimmy Fallon nearly a year ago.

I have tried for years to become a fan of Jimmy Fallon. His politics gets in the way of entertainment for me. But from time to time, visiting his show is worthwhile and does make me laugh. While doing a little back reading on Sophia, I found this clip from April of last year. What strikes me most is the discomfort he has with talking to a female robot. Mirrors reality for most folks I would guess. Sophia is nearly a year older now and worth keeping an eye on as she and her peers age. 

HUMANS   (the series)

Several years ago, the wife and I found this series. I see it will air season three this year. The husband brings home an AI wheeled in on a dolly. The switch is thrown on and the interactions between humans and AI "humans" begins. We could not go a week with out watching and I will admit, like a train wreck, we could not look away. We became fans. Damn if we did not start taking the side of the robots as they interacted with the human race. Wow! Talk about programming!

If you have not watched this series consider it. If for no other reason than to see how you might react to AI in your home (in your children's home). The series is well-written and acted. 

Like it or not, best we come to grips with this.

Stepping stones.


Frank Abognale 

The heart of this story lasts 28 minutes and will shed light on a story you most likely know from the movie. This story is true, told in first person and one of the best I have ever heard. 


Winter is wearing on folks. Some OK with just snow or just cold weather but not all with a mix ice stirred in for weeks on end. The first full week of February forecasts snow for 6 days straight. 

The stock market is up and the Doomsday Clock has advanced. Youmeandtheafter will continue to continue. What is around this coming weeks corner?

Have a wonderful week and thanks for the visit. 

Monday, January 22, 2018


"Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

Nope, not a drill but rather the wrong button was pushed twice on a normal shift change test. “Gall-lee” 

Alert apparently lasted for 38 minutes. Video of parents putting their children in storm drains are hard to watch. At that moment in time, operating on a state-wide government alert notice about a real pending nuclear attack, might have been a good option. “dup dup dup dup dup dup.......”

But this is the type of thing we should be well aware of. A simple stupid act by some half-baked employee could very well touch off “The After.” Maybe it has always been that way and we just did not pay attention nor know the depths of incompetence that our national security rests on. 

What to do?

I have come to be a fan of a false flag event as a causal factor of bad things spinning out of control. All we have to do is step back and look at this crazy world. The expert elite talking heads. The fools in charge. The apology or mis-speaking for all things FU'd is a common go to answer. Maybe a shrug of the shoulders added for emphasis.

What would have I done?” I ask myself this in the quiet of the night. “How many minutes till impact?  With a few minutes to think, I can come up with options, none of which include getting in a storm drain. I hate these kinds of spaces along with spiders and snakes. I think I would look low (lying) spaces and barriers. Gather in vehicle, bug out bags together; eyes away from horizon, sun glasses on if I have them at hand, wait and see. A protected cement enclosure that I could hold up a few days.  A crap shoot at best. 

OR: in dark recesses of worldly corners, a planned distraction.


What else this week?

Time Affluent!

Another group to which I am assigned. Recent article in the WSJ seeks the perfect age. I was curious. Having 73 of them under my belt, what was their opinion. In the reading I found that I belonged to a new group; the Time Affluent. Means I have time on my hands. No general consensus though as every age time has its ups and downs. Of all the groups I am assigned to these days, Time Affluent works. 


Late posting this past week. Excuses get in the way. 
Cold weather and finding opening spaces to practice in have slowed down my outings to fly. But with all things new, I have to start somewhere and this drone video is that start.



A good friend out flying his new plane.


Have a wonderful week and thanks for the visit.

Sunday, January 14, 2018



It has been a week now since the NFL's Cincinnati Browns fans celebrated a 0-16 season. They lost every game. Adorned in their battle gear, their team entered the arenas sixteen times, and lost every encounter.

I get it that it was a tough season. Say what you will or celebrate in jest, every fan and players knows deep in their heart that they lost every game. Not one yard advanced helped achieve a victory.

I have no agenda talking about this. Nothing against any team, organization, player or even the NFL. The celebration of failure to this extent, is a comment on a changing nation and peoples. Kneel in protest and who cares? Play to minimal effort. Who cares? Push personal agendas and antics. Who cares? Strut your stuff above everyone else. Who cares? Lose multiple millions of dollars. Who cares?

I would like to think that in the deep recesses of the Browns' organization, a meeting of the money folk, the investor folk, the long-term career folk, the owner folk, the coach folk, the National Anthem folk, advertiser folk, NFL folk and Cincinnati political folk are not wearing paper hats on their heads and yukking it up. No slapping each other on the *** and tapping that fine bottle of whiskey. Actually, the Browns are 1-31 for TWO seasons. That, in of itself, is comment enough. I hope someone is taking this much more seriously than the celebrating of failure.

Drone Beginnings-

I received a Mavic Pro for Christmas and now have about three hours flight time. I started quick flights on my son's drone before winter set in and since Christmas, maybe 90 minutes flight time with mine. Weather has been outside the flight envelope and fingers numb up. Baby steps. 

The cost of the drone is beyond anything I thought I would ever spend for a toy. BUT, the photography aspects of this technology won me over and I just went with it. Some pressure from family folk, too, as this was a gift. I succumbed with out too much of a fight. 

Biggest initial hurdles is learning the controls with finesse and smoothness. Also learning camera settings and flying techniques available with the drone technology. There are skills I need to acquire. But my other biggest obstacle is mental. Once the drone is out of sight, I get nervous. That only takes a few moments and, as you can see in the photos below, the drone disappeared in the haze of a cloudy sky and the white of surrounding snow. 

I do have a full heads' up display that has all the real time information and visual flying clues a pilot needs.  I even have a "return to home" arrow that I can follow back to the exact spot the drone departed from. The drone is silent to me above 100'. Even as I do hear it approach, my basic instincts is to look up, try to find it and fly like I did with other sport model flying. I need to be able to fly right back to my locations using the flight screen alone.

Finding wide open spaces has not been easy but a must for the learning and trust curve. Thus far, the drone and tablet have worked perfectly together. Android phones only stay on for ten minutes then shut off. My son has learned to over come this. I want no part of any flight screen shutting off during flight. The tablet stays on for 30 minutes and most all of my flights have lasted no longer than 22 minutes with a 6-7 safety cushion of emergency flight time still left.

The technology for the price is amazing and this drone will challenge me for quite awhile before I get comfortable and gain the skills with all of the flight modes and photography options. 

Local lake looking south

Looking north.

Mountain ski runs

Lake looking north east. 

More to come.


This a good read to help keep prepper's heads in the game. 

Drone Delivery- The future is here. Keep an eye on this quickly advancing technology. I think we will be amazed at how soon an on-line order will be delivered to our door steps. 

Short distance movement of people using drone technology.

Bell APT Drone - Vertical to horizontal back to vertical flight. 

How an AK-47 works. Best modeling of the working mechanics of a gun.

Cowboy Shooting. Less than a minute of fun. 


Still dealing with winter weather along with many others. Sixty degree temperature swing in 24 hours, rain, melting snow, freezing rain, more snow and freezing temperatures on the move north west to south east. 

Standing water prompted son to put his car on blocks as a preventative measure. Standing water was just starting to ice over when he took this photo.  To add to this challenge was the need to jack up each tire and then place the blocks underneath. The blocks would slide on the ice when trying to drive on them. It is good to be young.

Local flooding pics from son.

Normal approach to and through covered bridge impossible.
Same covered bridge and river running under. Usually 6-10 feet clearance under the bridge
Looking north through covered bridge and into town.

Over flowing river flooded ball field and seasonal ice rink. (Quick drone flight photo) 

Early Sunday morning view of ball field; vertical drone shot.

Winter has returned as I publish this morning. Thanks for the visit this week.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Current Cold Snap is a Good Test for Being Prepared

Seventy degrees in the home is not seventy degrees. There is a chill around that temperature. In the fall and spring, seventy degrees in our home would cause windows to be opened on the east and west sides to vent heat out. But the cold of winter is always more than I remember from year to year. This year, the cold drills deeper and is lasting longer. 

The dog lasts about 5 minutes when she goes out to do her business before she starts picking up her paws because they are getting uncomfortably cold. She is a quick learner and gets done what needs to get done and then prances to the in/out door for me to open. She expects me to go out with her and has me well trained. I do not mind, but like so many things in this weather, normal day events come at extra work.

Minding the wood stove has become an art form. Crisscrossing the fire box with select wood pieces, air intake throttle at half keeps the stove at maximum output. A wood stove that will literally drive us out of the house during "regular" winter is barely able to give off that wonderful warm home feeling out to ten feet away.  Longjohns on 24/7 and only off for a couple hours on laundry day. Waffle shirts layered along with sweats. If being outside longer than 5 minutes is required, it is a full snowsuit, bomber hat, gloves and best winter coat zipped to the neck.

Photo at the right was taken by son earlier in the week as he arrived at work.  

It is this stretch of cold weather that tests some of the prepping we do during the year. Mechanical things tend to fail in this cold weather if not well maintained. Older batteries fail quite easily. Water pipes are just waiting for us to forget to keep the hot water dripping in the kitchen. The old Dodge truck would not be starting had I not installed a new battery last year. The cold cranking ability of that battery has already been put to the test several times. It would not be a long stretch of the imagination for mother nature to add rain, snow and ice to all of this just for giggles. 

All the work moving and stacking wood last summer/fall is no more than an inconvenience today to load up armfuls and get it to the fire box. That work has paid hourly dividends this past month.  

Feeding the birds is a must in this kind of weather. None of them look thin or undernourished but they burn what they eat. We have two feeding stations that I fill early morning and late afternoon. 

My comings and goings near their feeders bothers them not as some have not moved from their spot when I have tossed seed in their direction. There must be some understanding that we have no intention of doing them harm.

This morning is a turning point in the next two weeks weather forecast. Last night was down to a -8 degrees and just may have been mother natures final cold blast push this winter season. Minus 7.2 at publishing time this morning is notice of the warming trend. Home room temperatures range from 57, 63, 71 and 67 degrees. Light blue skies with full sun rising over the Mink Hills is most welcome. 


A shorter post is fine me thinks. The cold this season owns many of us across the nation. Keeping the core of our lives safe, warm and comfortable is a full time job. 

If I have any advice for folks coming and going in this kind of weather, it is that the simplest of tasks can turn life-threatening in minutes. Make sure your vehicle is prepped with extra warm clothes for everyone, hand-warmers, toe-warmers, gloves, blankets, etc. Put in a few bags of mixed granola, water bottles wrapped in towels to help prevent freezing and keep your fuel tanks full. A few extra minutes up-grading your to and from vehicle could very well save your life. Think being stranded for 12 hours and prep for 24.

The new year is underway. Thanks as always for the visit this week. Stay vigilant. 


  Happy Birds from son's home