Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Somewhat "Rocky" Situation

In the grand scheme of things, this probably ranks way up there with watching water boil or something. But, it's annoying all the same.


C'mon, shoe manufacturers. Not all of us live with sidewalks and grass. Not all of us have full-time housekeepers to sweep up all the little rocks several times a day. Not all of us have the time or desire to pick out little rocky pieces before entering a building or room to avoid scratching the floor.

What's the purpose of the deep grooves?  Give me a good reason and I'll shut up. Well, probably not, but it sounded good.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Curiously Trivial? Or Is It?

Except for a long stint of playing "Duke Nukem" in the 1980s and "Scrabble" last year, I have never been very interested in computer games. But, thanks to my son and his fiance, I've somehow gotten hooked on "Trivia Crack." Not sure why, but in two months, I've advanced to Level 130 or so, whatever that means. I'm really not that interested in the awards like cards, gems or what-have-you. No, I just enjoy the challenge of answering questions in the various categories. And that's really what this blog is about.Trivia Crack-Education Version

For those of you who haven't played the game, the categories of questions are: Sports, Art, History, Geography, Science, and Entertainment. I won't go into the details of how to play because it's very simple: figuratively spin a wheel online and answer a question from whichever category the pointer lands on. If you answer correctly, you can continue going until you miss a question. For the rest of the details, you might check out the Trivia Crack site.

The questions are rated Easy to Difficult, with a choice of four answers. Here are some samples:

  • What is the addictive chemical in cigarettes? Alcohol? Carbon Dioxide? Sodium? Nicotine?
  • What country did King Hussein rule? Vietnam? Canada? England? Jordan?
  • What is poi made from? Breadfruit? Taro? Rice? Potato?
  • Marcus Allen won the Heisman Trophy in 1981 while attending which college? UCLA? University of Miami?  USC? Oklahoma?
  • What kind of animal is the cartoon character, "Daffy?" Hen? Duck? Doodle Bug? Bear?
  • What is the Beaufort scale used to measure? Surf? Barometer readings? Wind intensity? Volcanic Activity? 

Sure, it's disappointing to answer a question wrong. But, I love Google. What's to stop me from looking up more information about those baseball stats or that rock group, to find out more about them? Nothing. I've discovered my best category is Science, but there are many chemistry and physics-based questions I have no idea how to answer. Google. How about the history of the rulers of various countries? How about which states or countries border others? Google.
                                                                                   Chemistry Tutor Online

In another blog, I might write more seriously about my thoughts on the Googlization (is that a word?) of the world. But for now, it's sufficient to use it for somewhat trivial pursuits in search of little bits of extra knowledge, perhaps just to win a game, or perhaps to expand my knowledge just a little.

 Model Rocket!

Which Reggae band helped Sean Paul launch his career? Do you know? I don't have the slightest idea.
 Sean Paul Sued By Ex-GF For $80 Mil, Did Cocaine, Erectile Dysfunction ...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lumbering Around at the Desert View Tower

Okay. I admit it. It's been kind of a long time since I've posted anything. Like, way back in March? In between, I worked on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington for a month, then came back here to the Desert View Tower. This has been the first summer I've stayed here - and it's too damned HOT!!! Hopefully this heat and humidity will end soon. In the meantime, I love the air conditioning in the RV and have been getting a lot of reading done.

 In order to do anything outside, I've found that heading out about 6 am and working for a couple of hours before it gets too sweltering works pretty well. So, we've had a project for the last month. Those of you who know me pretty well might remember that I enjoy starting what might seem like impossible projects and actually finishing them. This has been one of them. And I swear I've gotten some pretty decent muscles in my arms in the process.

In October, the owner of the Tower will be welcoming his brother and family here from Bali, which will be quite a change for them. They'll most likely be living in the little green house, very close to where my RV is  parked. In order to give them some much needed privacy, I decided to move my rig down the hill. Not a bad spot at all. But, the beautiful view has been spoiled by a huge (humongous?) pile of several years' worth of old lumber, immense stickery tree branches, scrap metal, and other kinds of junk and trash. In addition, the owner had dug a long trench to repair the lines for the sewer leach field. He made an offhand remark one day that he has wanted to clear out the area for a long time. Impossible? Well, yeah. But, what else did I have to do? LOL!

My RV and site

Wish I'd thought to take some "before" pictures, but alas, you'll have to use your imagination to visualize what the area looked like, using the "almost completed" pictures I took this afternoon.

We started by tackling the huge stack of assorted "stuff," which rose to the lower branches of the three trees and covered all the area between them, out to the driveway. Layers and layers and layers of every size of both useful and no-way-in hell-to use-this wood and metal and ??? you can think of. Sandwiched in between the layers were beer cans and bottles, pieces of wire, cardboard boxes, and anything else you can imagine. It took a couple of weeks to get rid of that pile, piece by piece, layer by layer. We made several secondary stacks of stuff in order to just be able to walk around: good wood in one stack, possible firewood in another, branches and tree limbs, and complete worthless junk in yet another. We threw all the possible firewood into the back of the pickup and unloaded it up the hill, where we'll cut it as needed. So, one huge stack turned into another somewhat smaller stack in another place. Hmm. Did that make any kind of difference? Not sure. You decide.

Stack for firewood

 Gradually we uncovered the trees by getting rid of all that stuff and doing a lot of raking to get rid of several years' worth of dried thatch. That stack of thatch alone took many, many trips with the wheelbarrow to get rid of it down the hill, out of sight. Note: since the construction-type wheelbarrow has also been used for foundation work, the inside is coated with a nice layer of hardened cement, making it quite a bit heavier than I'm used to. (Are you picturing the development of muscles yet?)

This is what the area looks like today. More to come. But the area under the trees is now clear.

On to the maybe-useful wood. I rounded up lots of old plastic buckets and filled them with kindling-size pieces, ready to grab for winter fires. As for all the old branches and tree limbs, I dragged them all down the hill - again, many trips - minding all the thorns (Band-Aids help). We stacked all the possibly-building-usable wood nearby. Lots of 2 x 2s, 2 x 4s, and 4 x 4s. Couple of huge black plastic trash bags took care of the plastic, bottles, cans, weird metal, and other stuff. I filled six other trash bags with dried cardboard and paper, again, to use as kindling.

In the meantime, the owner finished the sewer leach field project and filled in the trench. One less thing to jump over. Yaay! We've still got a bunch of old fencing, hoses, and other possibly usable stuff, as well as a big stack of tree stumps. Perhaps we'll even level the ground a little.

See the little building in the pictures? A former tenant built that several years ago but didn't get to finish it. Ben is going to complete it, covering a couple of walls to go with the sliding glass doors and the windows, all of which provide a beautiful view of the canyon, mountains, and desert below. We'll cover the roof and finish the floor a little better and...voila, something special.  I'm visualizing a possible getaway when the weather is dismal and the RV gets too crowded with one person. And my friend Cindy Crawford has offered a picnic table and bench for under the tree. Thank you, Cindy.

 It's still a work in progress, made slower by the 100+ degree weather and humidity. But, the end is in sight. Probably time to pick another project, you think? Hah!

P.S. A big thanks to Ben's sister, Mary, who just sent me this picture of the area in 2013. She wrote that they moved a lot of the stuff in order to get to the leach field. So, we didn't have to worry about the chain link fence, the wooden wire core, and some of the other larger things. However, other than the leach field ditch (and the piled up dirt), the area got filled up with more stuff.

The area in 2013

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Green!

 Note: I wrote this on March 16, 2015, but for some weird reason, didn't publish it. So, here's s different view, this time in Spring. Things bloom and flower and it's beautiful.

What  difference a little rain at the right time makes in the desert! I've usually left the Desert View Tower by the end of February, so this my first time to see how the area blooms in early spring. It's time to take advantage of all the "weeds" and flowers because I'm sure they'll be gone in a month or so, but they're sure beautiful right now. I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm actually lucky enough to be here.