Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Have a very, Happy & Safe Halloween!

Just wanted an excuse to use this picture. The Batman looks like the Shaw family's Chops, so I couldn't resist.

Perhaps something more serious later.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One of the reasons that SHELDON remains one of my favorite strips are the odd references that Dave Kellett tosses in.
I mean "Duck & Cover"? Bwahahahah

Monday, October 29, 2007

It was all around a very nice weekend. There are still, sadly, some fires causing continued hardship. The air is a bit better today, at least in the Mission Viejo/Ladera Ranch area. We could still smell it last night, but by this morning it had cleared. Looking out towards the hills you can see smoke but the winds have died down.

We went to play Bingo over in Irvine on Saturday and I won again. This time I didn't have to split the money with other winners, but did make a small donation to the school where it was held. I figure I could afford $20 out of the $250 I won. We're putting aside part of that, like we did last time, to pay for our next Bingo adventure. We'll probably never break even, considering how much we have spent at San Manuel, but it's nice to finally win a few.

Speaking of winning.... :-)

Did you happen to hear that....BOSTON WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And while we are on the subject of winning the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS are undefeated!!!

On a more serious note, Donna is in Los Angeles this afternoon getting a second opinion on her thyroid. It will probably be the same and we will have to look to get her scheduled for surgery sometime after returning from our cruise. Possibly in early December if we can, as we are also considering a quick trip back east for Christmas, depending on my work schedule.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire Fighter Tribute

Just a moment to thank those who risk everything day after day.

It appears that the worst is over, at least for now. Firefighters seem to be gaining the upper hand in almost all of the fires and people are beginning to return to their homes. It will be days, if not weeks, until there is a complete assessment of how much this is going to cost the state. It's still smokey and many of the schools in Orange County have cancelled outdoor activities, including sports.

It's a sad anniversary for firefighters out here today. Just a year ago five of them lost their lives when they were trapped during another forest fire. At noon there was a moment of silence and many of those working to stop the current fires lay down their hoses and equipment to pay tribute.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Well, it's a bit of good news/bad news here in the OC. The Santa Ana winds have died down and the weather has cooled a bit. On the other hand, these winds coming from the ocean are a bit less predictable than the Santa Ana variety and can shift. Still most of the fires are coming under control to some extent. It is hoped that over the weekend, if things stay as they are, many people can begin returning home.

Unfortunately, the fires from Santiago Canyon which were a glow over the hills on Tuesday night have swept over the crest and into Lost Canyon & Live Oak Canyon. The fires are visible now from the patio, where Donna and I watched them spreading and moving closer. Fires have also spread into yet another county, moving into Riverside which had been spared up to now.
Yesterday, Donna drove over to Rancho Santa Margarita where Kristina lives (much closer to the fires) to see how things are there. Our daughter is on a cruise with friends this week, but her roommate is home. Still we are concerned and wanted to ensure ourselves that we didn't need to grab Wilbur (her cat) and take him with us.

Between a marine layer which brought in fog and the continuing smokey conditions visibility this morning was not the best. Again the car was covered in ash and everything smells of smoke. It has gotten so that the library here continually smells of it, as winds bring it in when patrons enter and leave the lobby. We keep the windows closed at home, but we do have the smell beginning to come through the halls so there is little escape. Poor Donna has had to use her inhaler more often and you see some folks in surgical masks walking and even in cars.

We had plans to go off for a 'romantic weekend', but cancelled our reservations at the casino, since the roads to get there keep being closed due to the fires. Besides we feel safer sticking close to home until the situation improves.

On a more pleasant note....the RED SOX WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The photo here is from Cooks Corner, here in Orange County this morning. They are predicting that the Santa Ana winds will be dying down by this afternoon. Fingers crossed.

If anything it is slightly worse here today then yesterday. The firefighters have a bit more control of the Foothill and Santiago Canyon fires, which are north of us, but the new fires at Camp Pendleton to the south are out of control. We are getting smoke and ash from both depending on how the winds are blowing. The car was covered by dust and ash this morning, plus it was necessary to run the windshield wipers a few times to clear debris.

Top things off with a 4.3 quake early this morning and you wonder about this California living.

Normally, the quake would have been the top story this morning, but with the fires it was barely commented upon. It may have caused some damage to structures already weakened by the fires, but caused no damage on its own.

If I hear one more reporter make the comment that it is a 'miracle' that this or that home or business survived I'm going to scream. Even if you believe in all that why would one million dollar beach front home be worthy of divine intervention and the one next door condemned to ashes? Sorry, bad morning...don't get me started!

Since yesterday we have been getting folks from San Diego coming to the library looking to use our computers to contact family, look for housing and other things. Several mentioned that they were hoping to move into the area as their homes had been damaged beyond repair or destroyed. One guy I talked to lost his job as the place where he worked had burned down, the owner does not plan to rebuild. Could somebody come to our rescue?

Oh, specking of which, we are expecting His Smugness to walk among us tomorrow. He has already called for prayers on our behalf, so I'm not expecting much in the way of federal funds. Still, as a photo op you know that he is going to wait until he is here to sign off on emergency relief, although some folks are unpatriotic enough to question why he has not done so already. Terrorist loving bastards! You can expect more ungratefulness on my part in about 24 hours, when he allows us to look upon him.

Watching TV this morning I saw too often the face of Mr., Michael Chertoff. Again the question arises about why he is still in such a position given all that didn't happen after Katrina? I'm just a bitter guy, you know?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Polar Bears

This is really cute, but with a nice message.

The photo shows a blaze less than ten miles from Ladera Ranch. It's north of us and could technically travel down the arroyo directly behind our complex. Hopefully, we won't have to deal with that and the firefighters can keep things under control. Considering that they are insufficiently equipped and undermanned the men and women out there on the fire lines are doing an amazing job.

As you can imagine the only two things that I have paid attention to the past few days have been the fires and the ALCS. I guess that second event being important to me is kind of sad considering the other things going on in the world.

My primary worry is, of course, that Donna, Kristina and I could very well be packing our bags at almost an hours notice. We do have some emergency supplies already on hand, packed for an earthquake but equally useful should we need to escape the fires. We have some acquaintances who have had to evacuate and we hope that nothing more serious takes place.

To be truthful, thanks to shifting winds the trip in today was not as bad as yesterday. Some exits have been reopened and the Toll roads are available, so traffic was not as congested northbound. I took several photos of the smoke from the fire which is visible from our balcony. Last night you could actually see the glow of the approaching fires over the nearby hills, which was pretty scary. If it is like that tonight after I get home I'm going to take some photos and try to post them.

Finally, I want to thank Joe & Elayne for posting their concern. I also want to thank several family and friends who have called the past couple of days from New York. Donna and I appreciate your concern and we promise to keep you updated should things change for any reason.

Considering that over a thousand buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to evacuate, we are lucky that it appears that only three or four deaths have occurred. One had been reported yesterday and another this morning, but it was just reported that two bodies were discovered near Irvine (between Ladera Ranch and here in Orange where I work). Firefighters discovered the two bodies when called to a brush fire, so it may or may not be related to the other fires we have had to concern ourselves with.

I'm going to end this now and might check in later depending on how events move.

Monday, October 22, 2007

If you have been following the news since yesterday, I don’t have to tell you that things out here are pretty bad. The air is heavy with smoke and some areas of my ride in were almost like driving in twilight due to the fires. I’m fortunate in that the northbound I5 wasn’t affected, except for visibility today. One of the alternate routes I can take (the 241 toll road) actually runs right though one of the larger fires. It has been closed from where I would take it on Oso Parkway up to where I would get off on Chapman Ave. and beyond.

Most of the fires are northeast and south of Ladera Ranch, although the winds are carrying lots of smoke and ash our way. We have seen a lot of birds flying over the arroyo heading in both directions trying to find safer areas. It’s rather sad, but fascinating to see a dozen hawks, herons, etc. flying directly overhead. We are used to seeing the huge flocks of crows each day, but the larger birds are generally flying solo or only in pairs.

We are a little unsure if things are going to get bad for us in LR. We have had fires in the area before, as you may recall, and the amount of equipment and manpower available is stretched pretty thin. Donna actually took some of our valuable papers with her to work, “Just in case.”

Oh, and if Joe is reading this, I agree. “Maybe we should let Malibu burn.”

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ninja Libraian

How can you not LOVE this??

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How could I not add the new DAILY SHOW page to the links over on The Left? Just up today and already full of awesomeness!
The site has an archive of shows going back to '99. Plus lots of other goodies I haven't had a chance to check out yet.

Check out the new item over on the side. Another reason why I'll be voting for Senator Chris Dodd in the California primary early next year. The man is the only Democratic candidate whom I am totally behind at this point. I'm proud to say that I was able to vote for him as my Senator while I lived in Connecticut.
Just in case some of you folks are wondering, the sand storms you may have seen reported out here are way north of Ladera Ranch. On the other hand, we have had a couple of quakes the past week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Blaah! My mood mirrors today's weather, overcast and cool. It appears that unless the Red Sox repeat their turn around of the couple of years ago they may be eliminated by Cleveland in the next game. Currently at 3-1, I have to keep my hopes up that Sox pitcher Josh Beckett comes through in Game 5.

Heard some of His Smugness' press conference this morning. Damn that David Gregory for not taking a hint! Also, did G.W. seem to be having a bit more trouble than usual with the English language? He appeared to be slurring his words as well. Of course, maybe it only seemed that way because I was listening to it while Stephanie Miller & the mooks were doing a MST-3K on the whole thing.

By the way, I had some other things planned for both here and Shot's Shack, but Blogger seems to be giving me trouble uploading images. We'll see how things are going later today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

DIY - How to Make a Zine; Paper, Scissors, Pen - Rockin!

Hey, Elayne! All those years doing I.J. and apa-stuff, who knew it was this easy?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Boy, if I wanted chilly, cloudy and generally gloomy days I could have stayed back East. Hardly, what I signed up for when I moved out to the Left Coast! Still the weekend was mostly nice enough, with some rain which we needed so I shouldn't complain.

The news reports that most of the traffic problems caused by the tragic tunnel fire up north has been cleared up. As of this morning the was no public identification of the three victims who perished. Sadly, one was an infant boy, although I don't mean to slight the two adult males who also lost their lives in the inferno. Over thirty vehicles were involved, mostly commercial vehicles, so it is lucy that more people were not injured or killed. Personally, I'm always nervous driving along side the semis on the I5 each way. Although, truth be told, most of the accidents I've witnessed have been with passenger cars.

Donna and I played Bingo on Saturday at a smaller hall, here in Orange. She didn't feel like traveling up to San Manuel, so we settled on evening bingo. Believe it or not, I actually won the final game of the night, but had to split my winnings with two other folks who also needed "B-2" for the blackout. Still, it paid for our play that day and we've put it aside for our next time out.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I just wanted to experiment with our new Gateway laptop. Excuse any major typos I don't catch since I'm trying to get used to the keyboard.

Donna has been using it for weeks since we bought it, but I haven't so much as turned the sucker on. Figured it was about time to play around and get comfortable. I haven't used a laptop on a regular basis since back at UNH in 2004, where we would use it for classroom instruction. At least we have a mouse now and not that stupid little ball thing!

Wow! Only 41 days and counting to our anniversary cruise. The past few weeks seem to have flown by and the holidays are fast approaching. We are debating whether or not to take the laptop on the cruise, but since it's only three days we probably won't. On the other hand, if we take the Alaskan cruise as we plan next year I definitely will bring this along, just to blog and gloat!

We had only our second significant rainfall on SoCal last night into this morning. Sadly, though we needed it there were several bad accidents due to the weather. Worst involved several big rigs colliding just outside a tunnel north of LA on the I-5 last evening. At least one driver is missing, ten people transported to hospitals and it may be hours before rescue/recovery efforts can be made since the tunnel itself may have suffered structural damage. It could have been much worse but again nobody will know for sure until later today.

Well, I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the computer, so I think I'll play around reading blogs, etc.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cats' Bad Day

Just because they are cats.

A tip of the ball cap to Al Gore for his well-deserved Nobel Prize. It has been widely expected and wished for by a lot of bloggers. At least those of us on the more progressive side of the 'net.

I heard while at lunch that it barely took minutes, following the announcement, for the folks over at Fox and on 'right-wing' sites to denounce not only Gore but the prize itself.

Guess they should urge Henry Kissinger to return his in protest, huh?

I still don't believe that the former VP will throw his hat into the Presidential ring this time out. However, come 2012 we might see him once again hitting the campaign trail. I also think we can expect the next Democratic President (and I have little doubt that we will have one in '09) will find some position for Mr. Gore, if only to keep a close eye on him.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

If you look over to The Left you'll find that I've added three science related sites to the 'skeptical' area. These are all recommended by James Randi and I've found some very interesting topics on all of them. Of course, I'll be the first to admit that Science was not my best subject back in school, although I generally enjoyed it.
Many of the essays on these sites are way above my head and level of understanding, but they all examine some of the myths, preconceptions and misunderstandings the general public has on such matters.

It doesn't hurt to get a 'second opinion' on things before you except anything at face value.

The nicest thing about having two blogs, as well as a MySpace account, is that I can write and promote just about anything that captures my attention. Given that I most certainly suffer from Adult ADD it’s great to be able to write about whatever captures my wondering attention at any given moment. With the new ability to post videos here on Blogger I’m having even more fun as things come to mind, rather it is something current or nostalgic stuff I find over on YouTube.
I have some more websites that I plan on adding to one or the other of my blogs and I may be moving some around. There are a few science/skeptic pages that I plan on adding here and two web comic sites that I’m going to put over on SHOT’S SHACK.

Speaking of that site, I find it cool that when I do a Google “I’m Feeling Lucky” search for Shot’s Shack you go there immediately. With Parting Shots you get a lot of hits and even when you do a Blog search for that title it doesn’t always come up on the first page. So much for trying to be clever!

There have been some news stories (political and otherwise) that have caught my attention, but generally by the time I get a chance to blog about them they are old news. I also wonder if what I have to say is worth posting, since anything I write on politics or social issues I’m probably parroting someone far wiser so why bother? I’m sure that at one time or other I’ve had an original thought, but with the ADD I never remember it long enough to get credit. I want to blame it on enjoying the Sixties & Seventies a bit too much, but honestly I can’t remember if my memory was all that good before all that abuse.

This all comes around to the reason that I post some many links to sites that do discuss different topics. At some point I was interested enough to visit that page, found something I enjoyed or made me think. One of these days I’m going to remember what it was and go back, so the links are often there just so I can find them again. If you use them yourself, so much the better!

One final thing. Am I the only person who goes back at some point and reads what they have posted weeks or months before? I’m pretty funny sometimes, I think!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fall in New England

I do miss living in the East this time of year. This will show you some of my home state in the Fall.

Wish you could smell the burning leaves.

Looks the the Dems are going to cave in, as usual, and give the WH a go-ahead on wiretapping U.S. citizens. Can’t be ‘soft’ on terrorists, can you?

Personally, I think that only people in Washington and the mainstream media think that the American public would believe that the Democratic party are not patriotic when they try to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens. Most folks I know would rather folks in Congress stood up to the administration. That is why most of us voted the way we did last year, isn’t it?

The Daily Show remains one of the best sources of information on television. It’s kind of sad to say that, but it seems to be the case as the regular sources of news are generally too afraid to offend anyone. (Countdown with Keith Olbermann an exception.) Last night Jon Stewart did two great bits on ‘torture’. Is it O-Tay to do it? Sure am!

On a much more pleasant note…The Yankees lose…THHHEEEEEE YANKEEESSSSS LOSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Mmmm…feel much better now, thanks.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Silver Apples---best band

Back in 1968, I heard this on a local radio station (during a show when the played experimental and new music). I went out the next day and bought SILVER APPLES the first album by the duo of the same name.

You can imagine what my friends and family thought as I played this over and over.

UHF Conan The Librarian

I saw this a few years ago and have always wanted to find it again. Enjoy!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Back in December of '03 I posted a draft of a review I had just completed. I did not like the book, but made the mistake of posting an initial draft and not one with several corrections. The review upset the author at the time and I have just received another e-mail from her. She is right in that I thought her writing amateur at best, as I said in my review. However, in the corrected draft I removed an error regarding the book, which she pointed out.

At the time I told the Joe Bob Briggs folks that they could remove the review or insert the correction. Neither was done.

My apologies to JR and I have removed the review from my site.

"Kitty Sandworm" via Dave Kellett over at the SHELDON comics blog.
You have to love the eyes, don't you?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

At this point in time is it even necessary to say what a moron we have sitting in the Oval Office?

The same week that one of his daughters is making the rounds promoting her book on children and health issues, Daddy decides that we don't really need to spend any money on SCHIP.

Hell, he and Lauradidn't need government help to raise the twins. Why can't the rest of America do the same?

How can you go wrong? Jokes about coffee AND Dune!
Once more another reason to make SHELDON part of your morning routine.
I'll still be at work when the Angels/Red Sox game starts in Boston today. Aaaaargh!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm on mailing lists for Major League Baseball, as well as both the Red Sox & the New York Mets.
It was amusing, but still sad, to get a letter yesterday from the Mets front office apologizing for their collapse. When the owners of a team are so brutally honest and feel it necessary to make a public apology you know changes are afoot. Still it appears they are going to keep Willie Randolph as manager. Personally, I have always liked Randolph and don't lay total blame on him for the miserable final weeks of the season Fingers crossed for next year.

I thought that with leaving Brooklyn it would be safe to take my Red Sox cap out of storage. However, seeing at the Beantowners are coming to SoCal to face the Angels I'm not sure if driving around with a big red "B" on my head is the smart thing to do. We'll see what happens during the first two games at Fenway.
As for the apparent most important story in America today.... Did you ever think that you might actually find yourself feeling some sympathy for Britney?