Thursday, March 31, 2011


No surprise I agree again with Radley Balko. Politics is so often disgusting.

Humboldt Bugs

I would have enjoyed watching this presentation on insects of Humboldt County that took place in Weott recently. I wish there were pictures included with the story. I guess I'll have to buy the guy's book.

I believe I've seen those circular holes in leaves that leaf cutting bees make. I'll have to keep my eyes open for them again, especially the rolled up leaves they use for laying eggs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Redwood Community Video

I love this idea. Has this been brought up in the blogs before?

Redwood Community Video is a place where you can upload and show your locally oriented videos. Kind of like a Youtube for Humboldt County, I guess. I'll have to check what's already up there. Might be some fun stuff.

There are some rules as to what is allowed and what isn't. You can watch this short video for info on the rules.

They also have stuff you can add to the sidebar of your blog, widgets, I guess they're called. I'll see about doing that later on when I don't have a headache.

Wish I had a video camera.

Monday, March 28, 2011

North Coast Travelogue, 3/27&28

Light rain pretty much all the way down to Novato.

Stopped at the One Log House for our first break. The big surprise was they don't offer sandwiches anymore. They replaced them with what seem to be some pre- made burritos they heat up in the microwave. I asked them why the change and they said the sandwiches were too much of a logistical hassle- keeping fresh stuff in stock, and all. Bummer.

I was hoping we'd make up for that disappointment by our dinner pick- up spot as I'd been under the impression a new Quiznos had started up in the same place as the old one in Cloverdale. Nope, no Quiznos. Just a sign saying to check out their web site for their other locations. Bummer. Now what are we going to have for dinner? I had my heart set on Quiznos. The thought of hassling with finding dinner in Novato wasn't really appealing to either of us.

Gas prices were all over the place all the way down there. I didn't write down any numbers but, suffice it to say, some places I normally see the lower prices seemed actually higher than others that run more the norm. Safeway in Willits seemed to be the cheapest at $3.70 (after the 3 cent discount).

Hardly any holdups going through the Santa Rosa/ Petaluma area except for the bottleneck at Rohner Park, although we went through that pretty quick. It was the folks trying to make it to the front of the line at the merge that caused the problem. I had my usual gap in front of me for at least a couple of miles before the merge to allow drivers to merge early. Only one car took advantage of it and that was pretty close to the merge spot.

I'd told myself after that I wouldn't let anyone in and closed up a little. Then, right at the merge some guy or gal ( I couldn't tell) started trying to slip in front of me. I went ahead and let her do it. He or she waved to me in thanks. I flipped her off. I wonder if she noticed?

Stayed in Room 203 at Novato Day's Inn after picking up some dinner stuff at Trader Joe's. First time we stayed that close to the freeway, and we could tell. Constant freeway sound, along with noisy neighbors in the rooms nearby. Didn't bother me as I was a bit ill, but Connie didn't enjoy it.

Got to UCSF around 10am on Monday, a bit later than I prefer as I worry about not finding a parking space but there were plenty of places to park. This was a first for me. Due to my illness, I could hardly walk so I spent most of my time sitting in the parking garage in my truck. It was actually quite comfortable and I got to study the dynamics of life in the parking garage.

You can't count on it day by day but the garage started getting busy a little before 11am and most- but not all- of the spaces ended up filling up. Around 2pm it seemed like more people were leaving than coming. Wish I could count on that as then we could show up later in the morning, but you just never know.

Got to see the parking enforcement folks ticket some chicks' huge pick up for parking wrong. Not sure what she did. Maybe she parked in a "Compact Only" spot, but I didn't see any signs. She'd tried to park behind me earlier on and had a hell of a time because her truck was just too big. She needs to find a smaller car to use for UCSF. That Ford F250 or 350 with the crew cab was too big to ever find a good spot with such limited choice.

Stopped at the Cloverdale Starbucks on the way home if only to take a pee. Boy are they a godsend. That's when I took a close look at the mall just a short distance to the north and noticed they had a Subway sandwich shop. I pointed it out to Connie and we decided to take a look at it after our bathroom break.

A small but diverse mall. A Ray's market, Subway, some Mexican food place and some other restaurant there, along with McDonald's just to the south. I guess that will be our place to pick up dinner to go next time down there. How come it took us so long to notice it?

Picked up a few burritos at the Willits Taco Bell, then gas at the Willits Safeway and northward we went.

When we left on Sunday I got the impression my truck was getting a lot better gas mileage than usual from the way the gas gauge was so slow in going down. Maybe it had something to do with the work I'd had done on the truck? Problem was, it had been so long since we'd gone to UCSF I couldn't recall where the needle would normally be at certain points. I figured I could tell for sure after filling up at Willits and driving to Eureka.

Nope, I guess it was normal mileage. Arriving at home the gas gauge showed about what it normally would have. Bummer, again. I was hoping for some good news. Well, at least my mileage wasn't worse than normal.

The New York Budget Answer?

This article in the New York Post makes it sound like their Governor actually balanced the budget. Hard to say if they're leaving things out to make the Governor look good. I'm sure some- Mayor Bloomberg being one- are still complaining about the cuts. Is this anything similar to what's being proposed by one side or the other for California?

As an aside, I found one of the comments to the article rather funny. Looks like spam, but funny regardless, imo:


The Italian - throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.

The German - carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it and makes a new cup of coffee.

The Frenchman - takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.

The Chinese - eats the fly and throws away the coffee.

The Russian - Drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no charge.

The Israeli - sells the coffee to the Frenchman, sells the fly to the Chinese, sells the cup to the Italian, drinks a cup of tea, and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.

The Palestinian - blames the Israeli for the fly falling into his coffee, protests the act of aggression to the UN, takes a loan from the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives and then blows up the coffee house where the Italian, the Frenchman, the Chinese, the German and the Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that
he should give away his cup of tea to the Palestinian.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Stumbled into some old Saudi pictures the other day. I've always told people that, while the M1 Abrams tanks look big in pictures, they really aren't all that big.

Then I looked at this picture of me in copula of an Abrams tank in Saudi Arabia and it does look pretty big! Still, when I was standing next to it I was surprised at how small it seemed compared to the ones I'd seen in pictures.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another Petition

Here's a petition you can sign opposing Mark Lovelace's appointment to the Coastal Commission.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I don't normally comment on international issues here if only because there's more than enough people doing that. I've made a few comments regarding Egypt on at least one other blog. I'll mention Libya here if only because of this Reason Magazine commentary that pretty much echoes my feelings. Something not often brought up in much of the discussion I've seen in the blogs.

Anyway, great minds often think alike. An excerpt from the Reason commentary:

"Do we even know that the insurgency we propel to victory will be successful in liberalizing Libya? Foreign policy is infested with black swans. When The New York Times asked Paul Sullivan, a Libya expert at Georgetown University, what we should expect, he answered: "It is a very important question that is terribly near impossible to answer. It could be a very big surprise when Gadhafi leaves and we find out who we are really dealing with." Comforting, no?".

Yep. We may end up finding out we backed the wrong horse. Remember Russian occupied Afghanistan? After this first round of this Libya conflict is over, we may find the new folks in power are as bad or worse than the current regime.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Forgotten Quotes

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”- Barrack Obama


"Given the low level of competence among politicians, every American should become a libertarian. The government that governs the least is certainly the best choice when fools, opportunists and grafters run it. When power is for sale, government power should be severely limited. When power is abused, the less power the better."- The Late Charley Reese

Dress Codes?

This sidebar item I read in today's Times- Standard brought back memories. Some indian school kid in Louisiana was suspended from school for having long hair. Not a lot of info in the story but I'm assuming the school in question must have a dress code? I thought those were a thing of the past in most public schools nowadays.

Anyone remember those? Not all schools had them when I was a kid back in the 60s and 70s, but the ones I went to did. Tustin Union, Mission Viejo and University Park High Schools all had dress codes, if I remember correctly. I forget all the requirements but it was something like guys couldn't have their hair touch their ears, or the top of the shirt collar. Girls had to wear dresses, except for on the one or two "pants days" we'd have a year. There might have been some other things they nitpicked on.

I hated the dress codes, being a punkish teenage yippie. Funny thing was, what was considered long hair back when I went to high school- and could get you sent home- wouldn't even be thought twice about today. The long hair thing started a small industry of companies making "short hair wigs". I ended up getting one. You'd put it over your head and could stuff your often shorter hair up under the wig. I'm surprised they didn't try to make those long hair wigs against the dress code.

I eventually weaseled my way out of conventional high school and into continuation school which didn't have a dress code. I was happy with that and graduated early. No more dress codes for me, until I joined the Army National Guard (and there was one guy in the Guard when I joined that wore a short hair wig on drill weekends).

Now I prefer my hair short, but I still resent anyone telling me how my hair or [long gone] mustache should be worn.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eureka's May Day Cleanup Web Site

There's a story in the business section of today's Times- Standard about that that Adopt- A- Block program the Eureka Chamber of Commerce is trying to get going. They mention a web site, to go to for more info. That link didn't work for me. I found it leads to the City of Eureka web site. So I guess it's not so much the maydaycleanup site that isn't working but the City of Eureka web site that's down.

We'll try it later.

Brrrr... says it's 38 degrees, but feels like 33, in Eureka right now. Looks like a good dropping of snow up on Kneeland, too. I wish I had an indoor job.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Green Car Skullduggery

Rather disappointing news (at least for me) on the Chevy Volt in this CATO Institute article. Not only is it not a fully electric car, it also seems to be getting much less than the 100 miles per charge claimed earlier on. I was hoping the original claims were right and they could improve on them in the future.

I actually saw a Chevy Volt in Eureka a week or two heading south on Broadway near Taco Bell. I was surprised anybody up here would be able to afford one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reason Looks At Nuclear Power

Reason magazine takes a look at the future of nuclear power in the wake of the catastrophe in Japan. Some may think it a moot point but they point out, as did a reporter on NPR last night, that it wasn't the earthquake itself that caused the problem. It was the tsunami that shut down the cooling systems that caused the mess. The nuke plant itself survived the quake.

As for the future, I can't help but be intrigued by the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors that supposedly can't melt down, at least in the conventional sense. I'd never heard of those until reading the Reason article. I'll be interested in hearing more about them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mosquito Warning!!!

I was working in Myrtletown this morning and noticed a water filled wheelbarrow full of what looked to be mosquito larvae. That's a bit earlier than I usually expect to see them. Wonder if this will be a bad year for mosquitos?

Hope you'll all be diligent in watching for larvae in pooled water in your yards.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Disaster Moon?

Catastrophe might loom just around the corner, some folks think, with the moon coming the closest it has to Earth in 19 years on March 19. Scared yet?

If only there was some way to tie this in with CO2 emissions.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Bradley Manning Case

Great minds often think alike. In this case Radley Balko pretty much echoes my thoughts on Bradley Manning's imprisonment and prosecution for leaking confidential government documents.

In short, I don't think Manning is some great patriotic hero. He does deserve punishment for, if nothing else, divulging classified documents he was sworn to protect as part of his duties.

However, the way he is being incarcerated is criminal in and of itself. That he's been held under such conditions with no trial in sight makes this even worse. Shame on everybody involved that is in a position to correct this situation.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

One Guy's Drug Dog Story

I thought this guy's story about getting stopped by the Texas Highway Patrol and searched for drugs was a fun read in some ways. His point wasn't so much about the dog brought to sniff his car for drugs but the widely practiced fishing expeditions that are carried out routinely in the border states.

I've seen it myself on those real life cop TV shows and, while I'm sympathetic to the police side in many instances having somewhat of a mickey mouse law enforcement type background myself, some of the ways the cops intimidate drivers into having their cars searched without probable cause burns me up at times.

My question in this case was about search procedure in regards the dog:

The dog supposedly signals drugs in the car. The cops consider that probable cause to search so they go inside the car and search it both inside and out. If the dog can locate drugs, why didn't they have the dog go inside the car and pinpoint the drugs he supposedly smelled from the outside of the car? Seems to me that would have saved considerable time.

My guess is that it gives the cops more leeway in searching the vehicle if they keep the dog away from the car after signaling. If the dog finds the drugs right away, I'm guessing that may cause problems with them wanting to go through the rest of the car. I'm not sure but it probably has to do with something along that line.

This should concern us all, especially with the reliability of the drug dogs themselves coming into question now. Thanks to Radley Balko for the link to the story above.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Bushwacked by QENABMCHMOF.exe

I'm hating it right now. Yesterday afternoon while puttering around on the blogs a hacker or web site slipped a virus or malware on to the hard drive of my Alienware computer. I saw it happening just a second too late and my response after that proved to be a mistake.

I had three windows open in Firefox and was switching back and forth between them. I switched back to one and noticed a small window towards the bottom of the screen that was showing something being downloaded or an operation in progress. The top of the window said, "Downloading" (Yes, it said that). I immediately clicked on the Cancel button but it looked like it was too late.

I immediately went into panic mode and closed all three windows, then fumbled with my ZoneAlarms firewall and shut off all internet activity. Then I did a virus scan. The scan showed no infections. I thought maybe it was a non- issue, unlocked the internet and tried to open Firefox again but it told me Firefox was already open. I've had that happen before so I rebooted the computer.

Once it was back up the firewall started popping up warnings about a couple programs trying to access the internet or gaining access to privileged resources. I denied the programs the first couple times then decided I better figure out what those programs are, assuming I could.

I typed the name of the first one, a Jusched.exe, into Google and it came back as being something associated with Java updates. I figured it must be ok so let it do it's thing. Not sure if I should have done that now. The second was QENABMCHMOF.exe. I typed that into Google and got no results. I typed it into Yahoo. Again, no results. That should have been the flag.

But, nope, I figured if it was something bad there would have been info on it. Wrong answer, as new viruses come out every day. A short time after I allowed it to do it's thing all hell broke loose on the computer. A screen pops up saying there's 1200 viruses on my computer and it's finding more. I tell it to stop but it keeps popping up. It's not my anti- virus program. It's a virus or malware.

To make a long story a little shorter, Connie tried to play her games and it wouldn't allow the games to open. Then I started getting messages that a bunch of programs couldn't be found. Things didn't look good.

I finally rebooted and rescanned the hard drive with still no infections found. I managed to get most things up and running, or so it seems, but I can't access the internet with either Explorer, Firefox or Zonealarms. ZoneAlarms the big one since if it could get updated I might be able to catch the virus. Now I can't. Oddly enough, I can still get online and play Aces High. Not sure what's with that.

I went to reformat the hard drive last night but remembered the CD drive didn't work so I couldn't read from my Windows XP disk. I'm stuck until I get another CD drive, unless anyone has any other ideas. Until then, I'm stuck doing my writing on the laptop.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Best Frozen Burrito

I've been on a never ending quest for a decent frozen burrito. Sure, nothing like a freshly made one, but frozen ones are nice for a convenient lunch or snack. The problem is all the ones I've tried seem tasteless and dry. I've yet to find anything that I'd want to eat more than once or twice, until now.

A couple months ago I noticed these El Monterey burritos in the Winco deli section while looking for something for lunch. I wanted something quick, easy and filling. Since they weren't frozen, I figured I could pop them in the microwave and have a quick meal of them.

They were pretty good for a packaged burrito. I didn't realize at the time they were just thawed frozen burritos. I figured they probably bought them freshly packaged and hoped to sell them before they went bad. I went to buy some yesterday and they were frozen, with ice still clinging to the package. They must have just come out of the freezer. That's when I realized I'd found the best frozen burrito.

I'm not saying they're as good as a Taco Bell 7 Layer or a super veggie burrito from Speedy Taco, but they're good enough and inexpensive enough to make them a regular lunch treat at 98 cents each. Not sure why these seem so much better than the others I've tried. Maybe you need to thaw them out before cooking them?

Funny thing is, their web site has a search thing where you can find the nearest place to buy them and they say the XX Large ones, the kind Winco sells, aren't available here.

Anyone have any other good candidates for best frozen burrito?

25% Water?

I think I got burned yesterday.

I took a full garbage can full of flattened aluminum cans down to the City Garbage recycling center. I dump the cans in the hopper and the guy runs them up the conveyor belt where they drop into those wire mesh bins they use to weigh them in. He grabs the wire bin and rolls it around and bounces it up and down to get out as much water as possible. I notice only a few drops of water are shaken out. They seem relatively dry.

He puts the cans on the scale saying he's going to have to "take some off for the water". I told him that was fine and didn't think much of it. I look at the scale's digital readout. It's bouncing back and forth between 41 and 42 pounds. I look down on the receipt he's filling out and notice he wrote the weight down as 30 pounds.

Thirty pounds? He took off 25% from the total weight from clean, pretty much empty cans. I ended up walking away with $42 and change. I haven't done the math but I'm guessing I would have ended up in the $50.00 range had he not taken the 25%. I could see maybe 10%, but 25?

A gallon of water weighs 8.8 pounds. He took off 11 or 12 pounds, depending on how you read the scale. That's saying there was over a gallon, maybe 1 1/2, of water in the flattened cans. I doubt it.

This is the first time I've noticed how much they were taking off. They've done it before and, quite frankly, I don't blame them some of the time, especially in the summer when the cans haven't been continually washed by the rain. This was surprising if only because I thought it was one of the cleaner loads of cans I'd brought in.

I think I'll start taking my cans to General Recycling again. I don't recall them ever penalizing me for water, let alone non- existent water.