Archive for May, 2018

Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 29, 2018

Garden Report for 180528

Boy is my face red. I mis-read my previous planning posts, and I’ve been using the 2017 planting guide. That means I’m planting the same plants in the same place, two years running. Do too much of that, and you have a higher risk of root diseases. I’m going to assume that two years in a row isn’t too bad.

Made a run to Home Depot over the weekend. Bought some tomatoes and squash. They didn’t have any Boston Ivy, so I’ve ordered some on Amazon.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned that if one nozzle of a 4-way hose splitter goes bad and won’t close, you have to dump the whole thing*, and buy new. At least that gave me a chance to restructure my hose pattern: 1. spray hose for the dog run, 2. mobile hose for the north side of the yard, 3. soaker hose for our cedar, which is feeling poorly, 4. soaker hoses for the garden. I’ve put 3 and 4 on a timer, so the cedar and the garden get a drink every day. *Yeah, OK, I could have bought an end cap. Now you tell me.

Here’s what looks like a good tutorial on planting tomatoes. Too bad I’ve already got mine planted. She lives in L.A., which makes it easy to get fish heads. Here in the NENW we have to special order them from Amazon (or, if you are willing to make do with trout, you can do a catch-and-release, after removing only the head).


Green Thumb Up My Nose

May 21, 2018

Garden Report for 180521

Well behind on gardening this year. Something to do with teh chemo. The garden and environs look like something out of a D&D game description: you stumble upon an abandoned house, with an overgrown garden and a yard that is reverting to forest…

Finally bought a bunch of tomatoes from the local hardware store, one of each:

Section 1: Champion, Beefsteak Hybrid, Brandywine, Big Boy, Carolina Gold, Big Beef, Oregon Spring.

Deck containers: Early Girl, Pink Accordion, Busch All Star Beefsteak, SunSugar.

Also bought snow peas and cucumbers. One cucumber went into the tub out front, and all the rest went into Section 1.

Of course, immediately after I bought all this, it poured down rain for two days.

My other project is to remove the hops on the south wall, and replace them with ivy. The hops worked well, but their ‘berries’ are poisonous to dogs, which meant I had to climb up every Fall and cut them down before they started producing. I’m too old and fat to do that any more. Stage 1 worked well — the plastic grid panel came off at the first tug. It’s probably lucky I did it deliberately, otherwise the whole thing would have fallen down unexpectedly. Now I have to dig up the hops, so they don’t come back.

I will probably limit the garden to Sections 1 and 2. Next year, when I’m retired, I can go all out.

Stonekettle on Responsibility

May 19, 2018

I rarely make a post that’s just a link to someone else’s post, but in this case I’ll make an exception.


Why is it that whenever the subject of responsible gun ownership comes up, the “responsible” gun owners are the first to protest being held responsible?

My favorite anime mother

May 13, 2018

Kuramoto Nana

There are very few mothers in anime, and those that do appear are usually lacking in the normal motherly attributes. In most anime where parenting might be an issue, the parents are dead (Japanese cars are notoriously unsafe in that respect), or working overseas (possibly contributing to the drop in Japanese population). Many mothers who are both alive and present are professionals who we see briefly on their way to work in the first episode (one of the magical girl series), or briefly when well into the series (Monogatari). Others turn out to be behind-the-scenes contributors to the plot (Witchcraft Works).

The only normal mother I can think of is Kuramoto Nana, in The Flying Witch.

She runs the household, and does motherly things, and She also handles the occasional magical phenomenon with grace and aplomb. And just so we don’t think she’s a tradition-bound woman, she also is a professional artist and writer of children’s books. Maybe not rocket science professionalism, but pretty good for a farm wife in Aomori Prefecture.


Keeping hubby fed

“Mom, can I go out?”

“Mom, I want to make some tempura”

“What a cute witch”

Why yes, I am a professional

Pumpkin Oats

May 12, 2018

So, MJ wants me to eat more healthy-like, and one of her friends has a husband who swears by putting pumpkin in his morning oatmeal. I suspect that he’s eating something that looks like orange cream of wheat, but anything to keep peace in the family.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of beef broth, two heaping teaspoons of canned pumpkin, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. Add the pumpkin at the beginning and the potatoes at the end.

Results: Not bad, not great. Tastes like beef broth with something in it. I guess that’s about what I want — something that won’t interfere with the taste. Now to try it with other additions. After all, I still have most of the rest of the can.

Rating: *****

They are coming for your drones

May 6, 2018

Last week at an industry conference, the FBI spun a fairy tale, one that was reported uncritically by the press, about criminal use of drones. Go read it (and note that two of the first three comments called shenanigans, so it’s not just me). Here’s my breakdown.

It seems this “criminal gang” got itself involved in a hostage situation, as criminal gangs are wont to do. Now, this is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. Usually, it’s some lone idiot whose plans have gone horribly wrong.

The FBI was called in, and set up an “elevated OP” to monitor the situation. This OP evidently was not hidden well enough that the bad guys weren’t aware of it. Maybe it was the FBI flag that gave it away.

The bad guys then launched a swarm of drones, from an unspecified location, to fly around the observers’ heads, kindof like nesting starlings, distracting them and making them lose “situational awareness”.  The drones, by the way, had been “backpacked” in, in anticipation of the FBI arrival.

Finally, the drone video was uploaded to YouTube, so that all members of the gang could see what a distracted FBI agent looked like.

No further details are available, because the incident remains “law enforcement-sensitive”. Of course, the criminal gang knows when and where it happened, and it has YouTube videos of FBI agents swatting at drones, but the FBI can’t tell us citizens any more (like, just for e.g., why the FBI didn’t use its own drones).

One has to wonder what the true FBI motive is behind this story. My guess is that they want more control over civilian drones, and this fake news is just the start of a flood of reports about drones harassing law enforcement, disrupting cattle drives, and carrying off small children.



Memories of my youth: Titan launch

May 3, 2018

On the 3rd of May, 1961, the Air Force conducted a silo launch test at Vandenberg AFB. The test was to see if a missile could stand the stress of being launched from inside the silo, rather than being lifted to the surface. The Silo Launch Test Facility (68-SLTF) had a W-shaped blast deflector at the bottom and two vents on the sides. This was intended to be the normal launch method for the new Titan II ICBM, but that missile was still in testing, so they used a Titan I, instead.

I was a teenager, living on Vandenberg at the time, and of course we all knew the test was going to take place. We also knew of a good place to observe it from, so on the day of the launch we bicycled down the back roads of the base.  Turns out, it was such a good place to observe launches from that the Air Force had set up a press facility there.

After some delays (as usual), the missile was launched, and was spectacular, also as usual. I took pictures with my 35mm camera, and my friend, Jim Bones used an 8mm movie camera on a tripod, looking through one lens of a pair of binoculars.

Unbeknownst to us, an Air Force cameraman included us in his shot of the launch, which photo was used as the basis for a painting, currently in the Air Force Art Collection. I actually saw it, thirty some years ago, hanging in a back office in the Pentagon.

That’s me, kneeling, on the left

The equipment on the left was a quad-.50 caliber anti-aircraft machine gun mount, modified to hold a 150mm tracking camera. The two people kneeling next to the tracker were me and Jim. Our jackets were actually olive drab. The Air Force blue was artist’s license. The trailer with the white canopy on the right is a press phone bank.

Here’s a video of the launch:

Painting Reference:

Artist: Nixon Galloway
Catalog Number: 1961.082

Video Reference: