Tag Archives: Amusement

The end is nigh

Well actually it’s here. The long trip is over and we’re safe home to a leaky toilet and thoughts of moving to a less plumbing troubled apartment. Yesterday we crossed the border back into Canada and reached home. We are taking a huge tranche of memories and experiences, some of which I will be sharing with my last remaining reader as I shoehorn the relevant memories into some semblance of order. We’ve taken over a thousand pictures, some of which are actually in focus, a select few of which will be cropped, resized and posted on this blog, possibly with amusing captions and text.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted so much about our trip is simple; we’ve been too busy doing to write about it, and there’s been at least an hour a day when my brain’s been too overwhelmed to put everything down in a half way cogent fashion.

This content will not be appearing on Facebook. First because I’ve tried to shut my Facebook account down several times. Yes, I followed all the tips and hints religiously, but still the wretched thing has been resurrected so many times you’d think it had been buried in a Yo-yo. Second because I now do all my picture and video sharing with family and friends on Instagram. As our kids have migrated away from Facebook, so have we. Third because Facebook censors stuff it’s employees don’t like. It’s politically censorious because that was always part of its design. Which will eventually be the death of the site. Remember Friends reunited? Yes? No? Don’t care? That was big. Once upon a time. No doubt Facebook will follow as people tire of getting those annoying little ‘Your content has been removed’ notices. Tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse, et tout se remplace. I don’t care how many ’emotional speeches’ people make about their personal lives. You’d think they were the only people who’d ever suffered troubled times. Newsflash! Been there, done that. Not impressed with all the public caterwauling.

Any old road up, of which we have encountered many, I’ve got two major projects for this Summer. One is work related, but the other is to go through all the photo’s we took and spend a little time documenting our trip properly with all the events and anecdotes associated with our journey. From underwhelming hotel accommodation and nice surprises to random stuff like finding ‘white power’ visiting cards under our windscreen wiper one merry May morning. Which amused me, but also brought forth the snippet that there was an active community of such people in Boise. The noisy sort who hold marches and suchlike. We missed them all while we were there. They must have been taking the day off is all I can say.

Talking of taking the day off, I’ve just been looking for volunteer opportunities locally to help victims of the Fort McMurray fire. To which I must report I found none in Victoria. At least not online. There are plenty for Syrian refugees, SPCA, Eating Disorders, Invasive Plant Species, Farmers Markets, but none for sending supplies to the afflicted in Alberta. Maybe I’m just too late and all the fuss is over? Or is the well known BC prejudice against Oil Sands production making itself felt yet again? Hmm.

A grand day out

I don’t want to upset anyone. Well, yes I do, I just love annoying knuckledragging totalitarians with all the intellect of crushed cockroaches, but not today. Apart from to say we breakfasted in the elegant saloon of a restored 1800’s paddle steamer, rode the rails in a restored 1950’s first class rail carriage and generally had an affable time wandering around Sacramento’s Old town. Hell, the sun even came out this afternoon as the promise of rain receded. We’ve had a very nice day, and are now playing catch up with work related tasks.
A heavenly stairway
That’s it. I wish I had some tale of scurrilous sarcasm or pertinent put down to relate, but no, ’tis not to be. Well apart from noting (Yet again) that the Republican Party establishment is so dead set on losing the next US Presidential election, it’s been reduced to cancelling votes which might go the way of the people’s choice. Maybe they’re taking the same dollar as that backing the next Democrat (Cough, cough, Hilary Clinton) candidate? Sorry chaps, the Presidency (as usual) will go to the biggest vote of all; Wall Street.

No matter, the next leg of our epic road trip awaits. Onwards and up, upwards, into the mountains.

Caught Napa-ing

Well almost.  Not quite napping but certainly pleasantly surprised despite the rain.  And considering we were in California, there certainly has been quite a lot of it.  Took a hike out to Napa and had a quick meander round the Oxbow Farmers Market.  Lots of fancy stuff, and believe you me, if I had the money and lived in the neighbourhood, this would certainly be one of my favourite food shopping stops.  Or so I thought.  On an impulse we took Highway 29 North of town up into the vinyard area and visited some of the gift shops.  Ever heard of the movie ‘Bottleshock’?

Well we went to the vinyard behind the story. Now I’m not a fan of Chardonnay, I usually find it too oily and sweet. However, these guys are the real deal, and you can visit the place where the ascendancy of Californian wine really began. Oh yes, if you’re ever in the neighbourhood, check out these little rail cars which people ride up and down the rail road paralleling the highway. Cute as all fuck or what?
Railcars in the Napa Valley

Now there’s an idea that might make railways really work. Little automated rail car sized units parked up at stations like a row of shopping trolleys. Passenger gets in, punches in destination from list, swipes credit card. Rides direct to destination with no waiting on draughty platforms for trains that take forever to arrive for whatever reason. Only sharing their carriage with those they wish to share personal space with. What’s not to like?

Charleston

Well that was a bloody mission and no mistake. Finally booked our hotel in Charleston without breaking the bank. Charleston is an expensive place, but then it’s a historical resort, so fair deal. What we aren’t spending on the hotel we will spend elsewhere, of that I have no doubt. The good news is, we’ve saved money on the midwest leg of the trip and I’ve just fed the details into a spreadsheet to calculate the cost and the overall trip is running slightly under budget. Which is nice.

That being done, I’m off back to my studies and will leave my one remaining reader with the talents of notorious 1920’s dance icon, Josephine Baker, performing her version of the ‘Charleston’.

Texas

Right. That’s us all booked and planned as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our next big step is Texas and frankly I’m a little stumped. We’ve decided to head down toward the Gulf coast to Corpus Christie to take a drive along the beach at Padre Island, but there are so many route options. Do we dogleg down from Amarillo through Lubbock, or cut down through New Mexico via Roswell and Carlsbad toward San Antonio? Or even take the easy route south into El Paso? The plan is then to take I-10 through Houston and across to Baton Rouge thence to Jacksonville on the Florida coast where I hope to make a side trip to catch one of the two scheduled SpaceX launches from Canaveral in or around the last week of April.

So many choices they’ve given me a wall to wall grin. As for the inevitable election stuff, no matter who asks me about it, my reply will be “What do I know? I’m a Canadian.”

Update:  Revision of route will take us from Albuquerque to Amarillo, thence to Abilene and the following day to San Antonio.  We’ll give the whole Roswell, Carlsbad, UFO route a miss.  Why?  Because I’ve already seen this movie and we’re having nothing to do with illegal aliens, honestly officer.

 

Thump

Today sees me feeling relatively chuffed. This is despite a car repair bill that almost hit two thousand bucks and dying cell phone and laptop batteries which will set me back another hundred or so. For the moment my only money problem is caused by the relatively poor GBP to CAD exchange rate and my banks moving like heavily chained slugs whenever I want money moved around. However, I’ve got a workaround in situ now that’s fixed that specific issue, so nae bother.

Anyway, our little SUV is now fixed, and can stop as well as it goes. Which is quite briskly, even if it will break no speed records, it will keep going like an Energiser Bunny. It has already proved it’s mettle, dancing nimbly over packed ice, potholed gravel roads, mud and snow during the last five years whilst bigger and more powerful vehicles have ended up nose forward in a ditch. Not that our car hasn’t been able to stop, but the front caliper was seizing, meaning both front calipers and discs had to be replaced. Which came as a nasty shock to the wallet and no mistake. Nevertheless, it’s our first real major maintenance and repair issue. Apart from the two occasions I’ve been rear ended by some of the local zombie population. You’d think people would be able to spot a medium sized SUV properly parked within a parking bay, but surprisingly this is not a skill taught by the local driving academies.

Despite the bills, I’m minded to think that life could be a whole lot worse. We’re a month away from the start of an epic US road trip, the car is paid off, and all our paperwork is up to date. Even my youngest sister in law seemed to be happy to see me over the weekend, which in some ways felt a little troubling given our history, but for the moment all seems well. I’ve just helped Eldest get her volunteer organisation’s web site back up and running, so I’m feeling fairly virtuous. I’ve also just aced my last University course and begin the next tomorrow. If I may essay a little immodesty, I’m feeling quite amused with myself. Surprised, shocked even, but still very pleased. What’s wrong?

Any old road up. Tonight I’m booking our overnight stay in Las Vegas followed by a two day respite in Flagstaff as a base for visiting the Grand Canyon area. I’m also going to suggest stretching the four hour run east from Lost Wages by taking the legendary Route 66 loop from Kingman to Seligman and after we leave Arizona, maybe as far East as Oklahoma City. Well, if you’re going to do an epic once-in-a-lifetime road trip, you might as well go the whole Harley Davidson full dresser with turbocharger playing Steely Dan’s ‘Showbiz kids‘ at full volume. That reminds me, must get some new tracks for our onboard music collection which currently ranges from Mozart to AC/DC. It’ll blot out the incessant US election coverage.

A new one on me

I was talking to one of my stepdaughters on Skype yesterday, relating a minor spat I’d had with some person who had accused me of being ‘sexist’.  Being, as my wife often tells me ‘an unreconstructed male’, I am happy to put my hand up to this thoughtcrime.  I am biologically and culturally male, within a given set of parameters, but also a gentleman.  By the same token my wife and stepdaughters are wonderfully female, for which I am alternately very grateful and highly perplexed, but hey, that’s my problem.  I celebrate their strengths, and offer my own up where theirs are not able to cope, on the very rare occasion that this is necessary.  In their turn they offer crusty old me the occasional hug when I’m feeling less than masterful.  It all works out.  Closer to home I open doors for people, particularly young mothers with their hands full of children, because I understand that they have their work cut out with these little not-quite-housetrained little humans bouncing around like manic pinballs, and need all the help they can get.  Does this make me a bad person?  I’d like not to think so.

Being male of course, I also can’t help my biological programming not to look at any passing young female of pleasant proportions or parts thereof, but I do try not to make them feel uneasy by staring overmuch.  Although this is sometimes very difficult and requires much self control.  So yes, I’m ‘sexist’ and unapologetic with it.  My girls (Wife and stepdaughters both) like grouchy old me this way.  Now kiss my cosi fan tutte.

Now what my stepdaughter actually said made me sit up and think; “What on earth is that?”  I’d just recounted that in a minor online spat with someone who seemed to have left their masculinity in their sock drawer that morning, I’d been accused of being ‘sexist’.  My stepdaughter remarked with an acid laugh; “Sounds like a right mangina to me.”  before changing the subject and going on to talk about her next job move, possibly to Australia.

Afterwards I wondered ‘what is a ‘mangina’?’  So I looked it up and burst out laughing. From the Wiktionary entry:

Etymology

Blend of man +‎ vagina

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /mænˈdʒaɪnə/
  • Rhymes: -aɪnə
  • Hyphenation: man‧gi‧na

Noun

mangina ‎(plural manginas)

  1. (slang, derogatory) A man with a pronounced feminine side, or a weak masculine side.
  2. (slang) A homosexual or bisexual man’s anus and rectum

Or perhaps a nominal male who thinks that being falsely ‘non-sexist’ will up their value to a certain radical feminist mindset.   It’s a submissive attitude which, if the student politics coming out of academia is any guide, owes more to sexual insecurity and immaturity than anything else.   However, the sad truth appears to be that many young women hold this mindset in the roundest contempt.  Hence the pejorative.

We males often let our limbic or ‘reptilian’ brains do our thinking, but as women have a similar, but not identical biological structure and often do the same in their own idiosyncratic and erratic fashion, I think with a little give and take we can all rub along together just fine.  Apart from those on the extremes of the sexual bell curve who should not be seen as spokespersons for the majority, or anyone else apart from themselves.

Bloody hell, Sarge

Oh this is absolutely precious. The ultra PC British Brainwashing Corporation made a ‘Documentary’ about how recruits are treated in the Army, then got all upset when a noncom instructor took a squaddie to task for not doing what he was supposed to and swore at the newbie. Yes, he swore at the delicate little petal. He said nasty words because someone couldn’t follow a simple written instruction. Aw, bless.

Then the BBC got their undergarments all rucked up about a few four letter words and complained to the MOD. Swearing in the Army? Heavens to Betsy old thing, you’ll be asking them to kill people next.

So what? I’ve never been in the Kate, but a good few acquaintances and boon companions have. They have told me that when you join up you should be certain of two things; people will try to hurt you, and no-one gives a flung turd about your ‘feelings’. You’re there to do what you’re told smartly and effectively, be that pulling a trigger, wielding a spanner, filling in forms or digging a hole. It’s called obeying orders, and according to my old acquaintances the Corporals, Sergeants and Officers tend to get rather cross if you’re a bit slow. So yes, they swear at dunderheads and people whose self centred little world view won’t allow them to keep their kit clean and tidy or turn up when they’re supposed to, and justifiably so. No matter what some prissy middle class pursemouth at Al-Beeb thinks. Or rather doesn’t.

However;

“The BBC says it has now been informed a meeting will he held to address the issue, but that it is unlikely swearing will be banned throughout the British Army.”

An amused thought just crossed my mind. I have a vision of a British RSM loudly telling off a bunch of new recruits and brandishing the regimental swear box : “So you ‘orrible lot. There will be no more fucking swearing. One more incidence of bad sodding language and you sad bunch of useless cunts are all on a fucking fizzer, got that?”

Well, it’s put a smile on my face.

Addendum: I’ve just seen that the paedo-witchhunters have been going after Tony Blackburn. Yep. I thought that too. Tony fucking Blackburn? Now that’s just plain desperate. Back in the day he was the breakfast DJ everyone loved to hate because of his corny jokes, but no-one in their right mind would think he was a groupie-groper. I hope he sues his accusers and their sponsors back to the dark ages. This whole persecute a retired celebrity thing is so blatant that it’s got to crash and burn soon.

Doomsday

Tonight I’m ferrying Mrs S to a work related potluck ‘Do’ downtown, and have promised to ride to the rescue with the promise of red wine and chocolate when she’s finally lost patience with the mandatory Vegetarian and teetotal catering these events seem to attract. Why vegetarian? I have no idea. Unless of course this is an experiment in social exclusion. Personally I’d give it a miss, or deliberately take sausage rolls, claiming they’re flavoured Tofu.  However, as these people are key to her job, Mrs S feels obligated to go.  So we’ll be raiding the Deli counter at our local Thrifty’s this afternoon.

For those of you not familiar with North American custom, or not residing in the not so frozen North, see the definition of ‘potluck’ below.

pot·luck
ˌpätˈlək/
noun
used in reference to a situation in which one must take a chance that whatever is available will prove to be good or acceptable.
“he could take potluck in a town not noted for its hotels”
NORTH AMERICAN
a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish.
“a potluck supper”

To my mind there is nothing remotely lucky about vegetarianism.  From a dietary standpoint it’s more like a form of masochism with no real health benefits.  However, some people are into BDSM and that sort of thing, but like veganism etc, I’d prefer if they kept it amongst themselves.

Danger warning robotNotwithstanding….. Danger!  Warning, warning Will Robinson!  Incoming Asteroid Alert!  Well kind of.  Possibly.  Maybe.  Not really.  Which might come as a reason to forgo the dubious delight of an evening of enforced vegetarianism.  If only said astronomical event was happening this evening.

What’s actually true is asteroid 2013 TX68, a hundred foot wide (All right, 30 metre) piece of space rock is due to pass, at closest approach, 0.044 Lunar Distances or 0.00015 Astronomical Units and change from Earth, which works out around about 14673.322 Miles between March 5th and 8th 2016.  At around 14.5 metres per second.  At least according to the NASA small body database.  Wikipedia quotes 0.06 Lunar Distances (12,000 km; 7,400 mi). Which is quite close.  Very close by astronomical measurements.  An impact remains a distinct possibility.

Now the orbital data is well known, but what we don’t know is the density if 2013 TX68 does take a last second detour into, rather than past dear old planet Earth.  Which can be the difference between the firework display of a bolide type detonation in the atmosphere like the Chelyabinsk Meteor (Of which 2013 TX68 is twice the size) in the case of porous or even dense rock, or an unsightly crater in someone’s back yard around eight hundred and fifty metres across if it’s a nickel iron body.  Which can play havoc with the Crocuses and ruin that nice rockery you’ve just put together.  However, if you’ve always wanted an ornamental lake or waterfront property opportunities in your neighbourhood, then this is the asteroid impact for you.  Although local real estate prices might take a bit of a dive in the immediate aftermath.  I try to retain a positive outlook, and am inclined to think that with the right financial planning, doomsday can be converted into financial boomsday.

For those so inclined, you can have endless fun scaring yourself silly with Purdue University’s asteroid impact calculator here.

If you are planning to miss this specific apocalypse not by pulling a sickie, please be aware that 5th March 2016 is a Saturday.  The good news, for a given value of ‘good’, specifically for those at the point of impact, is that you won’t have to worry about Monday mornings any more.

Planning on having a lazy day to myself.

From one ‘wassock’ to another

Investors showcase tonight, where people who call themselves ‘financial experts’ will be making a bid to increase our capital. Not that they will, I’ve seen these guys come and go (normally with your cash lining their pockets) over the years, and can’t help but think it’ll be a wasted evening. I’m only going for the freebies. When it comes to signing on the dotted, we Stickers have a limpet like hold on our resources and will no doubt come away from the event slightly bemused and waiting for the cold light of day to help us sort the real from the faecal cow residue.

In the meantime, I made time between coursework, work and cooking to have a look at the fuss over this Trump fellow. He certainly has polarised people hasn’t he? Out of the mouths etcetera.

My goodness, he hasn’t even won a nomination or even a primary, and a bunch of spineless gimps have already got their undergarments all rucked up.  If you believe what’s in most of the left leaning lamestream media, the floppy haired Barbarian is at the gates and we’re all dooomed if he so much as sets an ignorant, stupid foot within ten miles of elected office.  Stefan Molyneux on the other hand, no matter what you think of his sometimes apocryphal style, does one of his excellent dissections of what the lamestream get completely one hundred and eighty degrees from reality.

What the lamestream and their owners are all frightened about are that the Barbarian is complaining about the real barbarians who indulge in such things as, oo lemme see, rape attacks and sexual assaults and celebrating notorious terrorist attacks, which threatens the blatant gerrymandering and vote buying commonplace in the west. The real barbarians are not already inside the gates, but are messing up the living room, hogging the couch and Xbox with their booted feet up on the coffee table demanding more Nachos and playing grab-ass with every comely young female within reach. What’s worse is that these racist, sexist, hostile slimeballs can’t be kicked out because mainstream politicians need their fresh votes. Even worse is that many of the bad guys are second generation. Born and bred. Not simply ‘immigrants’.

As fans of the X-files will attest, the truth is most certainly out there, (but lies are definitely in your head) and as Stefan ably demonstrates, easily found courtesy of the jolly old Interweb. All you have to do is go to the source data, which is far more easily accessed if you’re prepared to do a little digging on your own account.

Like it or not, I’m tempted to believe my a strong suspicion that we’re at a cultural nexus, the kind that brings down civilisations. Such a collapse probably won’t happen in my lifetime (Despite rumours to the contrary – the people in charge have too far to fall), but if we carry on doing the same old thing, ducking the issues, subsidising, importing, pandering to and protecting a hostile culture, perhaps the western way of life and the prosperity it brings will be a fading memory by the end of the century. Some of the more philosophically short sighted out there might be tempted to think that this might be a good thing. I would disagree. Classical civilisation, for all it’s faults produced great art (A lot of which was defaced by zealous early Christians) and great literature (Which also fell victim to zealous early Christians). The arts and sciences fell into disarray for centuries afterwards. Anyone else see the parallel?

Which may be a comfort to our great grandchildren. Or not. Clinton’s the next US President anyway, she’s Wall Street and the lamestreams preferred candidate. Despite his wealth, I think Trump won’t even get a mention, but I wouldn’t be totally displeased if he won. Just to hear the outraged wailing and gnashing of teeth of sore losers.