email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Monday, January 30, 2012

Strange Weather

The next couple of days are routinely the coldest days of the year, usually down to the teens at night (F).

Tomorrow is expected to reach 64F and Feb 1st 69F!  That's not proof of global warming, of course, strange things can happen in any given year.  And this is a strangely warm Winter by any accounting.  Heck, 50 F would be unusual.  But the 10 day forecast says it will not drop TO freezing here and that approaches the normal high.

Don't get me wrong on this, I agree that global warming is occurring, and by human actions of burning fossil fuels.  What most people don't understand is that "global warming" really means that while the average global temperature is rising, weather can become more extreme in both directions.  I can have a warmer than average Winter this year and a colder and snowier than average Winter next year (as I did 2 Winters ago).  It means weather will fluctuate to extremes because a warmer planet means larger and greater weather changes.

On the other hand, I like to think (in humor) that I haven't had any serious snowfall here for 2 Winters because I bought a snowblower machine.  ;)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Garden Season is here!

1.  I ordered new seeds.  Not many because most of my seeds are recent (and refrigerated).  But some are only good for a year and some are 4 years old and needed to be replaced. 

Also, I started lettuces in a windowsill planter (inside).  I should get some mesclun harvest in a month.  YAY!

2.  Also, I turned on my seedling light stand yesterday.   Mostly for some perennial seedlings from last year I am trying to recover, but also some early "greens".

3.  The light stand works.  Each shelf has two 4' fluorescent grow-lights and two "daylight" bulbs,  I can't control the light outside, but at least I can give all the plants a good start inside.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Changed ISPs

It was a little bit of a fight.  I changed my cable and internet from Comcast to Verizon FiOS.  And my telephone from regular telephone to FiOS telephone.  Turned in my Comcast equipment today.  Know what?  They didn't even care.

This brings my total bill down to $140 from $210 per month.  And gives me free long distance domestic calling for free.  I think I'll call my Dad in Florida tomorrow. 

I'm not thrilled with the Verizon remote control.  Its fussy about aiming.  The old Comcast one worked anywhere in the room.  But the Verizon folks say it is a matter of pressing the buttons fast and not holding them down.  We'll see about that, but I'll admit I am getting better about that..

If you are getting a blank on the emails you try to send me, the new one is:

cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT net...
If its about the cats, it is:  marksmews2118 AT verizon DOT com.  You know to replace the words with the symbols, right?

I've emailed everyone who has contacted me in the past 2 years with the new address, so I hope that includes everyone I should tell.  I've updated my emails (with new fancier passwords) for all my existing commercial accounts.  I've copied the old emails into new folders.

If there is anything else I should do, a suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


My crazy neighbors didn't leave after all.  There was the guy, his wife, his mother and some unrelated guy,

But it seems the bedroom furniture I saw being moved out was only the Mother's.  She was the sane one...The IDIOTS are still there.  In spite of the house being dark for about a week...  Curiously, I haven't seen the wife carrying the baby since early December...  Something is still odd.  But it is January and they are still here,

Sad start to the New Year...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


If you know the game of Risk, you know there are many nations to capture.  I have a sad fate of always coming in 2nd of 2-5 players.  And tonight I was down to 3 nations of (something like 70).  I nudged my way into NA, and got control of it while the others fought elsewhere.  Then I got SA!

If you know the game, you that means you get 2 continents with only 3 defense spots (Brazil. Alaska, and Greenland).

The 4 opponents worked together to kill me, but I survived.  I eliminated 3 (1surrenderred) and I was left with 1 opponent who had most of Asia, Africa,  and Europe.   And they were very good high-ranked players.

It took 2 hours to win the game.  I'm thrilled.  Risk is a hard game to win online.  The players are very skilled.  I win maybe 1 of 20 games.  I come in 2nd usually.  So a real win was SO GREAT!

The point is that we all have barriers, and I beat one of mine tonight. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


This was originally a political blog in 2008.  I got my college degree in Political Science and it remains an interest of mine.  I watch science, history, and nature shows most of the time, but when the political season comes around, I watch the political discussions and primary/caucus voting results all night.

The Iowa caucus voting is fascinating tonight.  In 2008, the Republican winner was clear 30 minutes after the voting ended. Tonight, it is not clear after 2.5 hours and maybe not until tomorrow!  And likely, it won't matter much.  It appears that there will be a virtual 3-way tie among Romney, Santorum, and Paul. 

They say "Iowa never chooses, but it winnows the field".  Maybe not this time.  The top 3 certainly go on when it is so close.  But the others can too.  Gingrich can because he has been running a "free media" campaign all along and South Carolina is a neighboring state.  Bachman and Perry can fight in South Carolina, too.  Huntsman has planted his flag in New Hampshire, where his views seem to match up well with New Hampshire voters.

After New Hampshire and South Carolina come Florida.  That state is so demographically diverse that anything could happen.  After Florida, primaries get spread out geographically and into other large states.

Here's my predictions:

1.  Huntsman makes a better than predicted showing in New Hampshire, but Romney wins big.  Huntsman withdraws.

2.  South Carolina gives Santorum a win, but Romney and Gingrich are "close".  Perry and Bachman withdraw.

3.  Florida?  Flip a coin!  Maybe the old folks in Florida vote "for a best chance against Obama" or the rest of the populations goes for Santorum as "the most Republican".  That's IF Santorum has any money to spend.  IF Santorum does well in Florida (as in, gets 33% of the vote), Gingrich withdraws and endorses Santorum.

4.  After that, it is between Romney and Santorum, with Ron Paul pulling a routine 10-15% of the vote on average in later primaries, with Romney getting 45-50% of the vote and Santorum getting 30% overall.  It will vary state to state.  Romney will do best on the coasts, Santorum will do best in the midwest and South.

5.  Southern voters will not be comfortable that Romney is a Mormon.

6.  Gingrich will push hard to be the Vice-Presidential nominee for either of them.  He will not be chosen.

7.  If Romney is the nominee, he will choose a western politician as Vice President.  If Santorum is the nominee, he will choose someone like Chris Christie of New Jersey or Bob McDonnell of Virginia for the "more moderate" but still very Republican reputation..  Geo-demographics still matter to Republicans.

8.  Barrack Obama will win the 2012 election.  Aside from the fact that it is difficult to unseat an incumbent president, there are particular reasons.  Mostly, all of the Republican candidates have VERY exploitable flaws. Romney flip-flops more than MOST politicians, Santorum is to the right of about 75% of voters,  and while I do have some agreement with Libertarians on some ideas, most people don't feel comfortable with the total package, so Ron Paul is just a protest vote.. 

And there is the job numbers.  The job growth has been positive for 22 months in a row.  Not as high as one would like, but compared to the negative numbers in the Bush administration, its a good thing. 

Its hard for the Republicans to attack Obama on wars, too, which is usually a strong advantage for them.  Obama got Bin Laden, Ghaddafi, and top Al Queda leaders killed.

Its hard for the Republicans to attack President Obama on the financial economy too.  The stock market is strong,  It was up 5% this past year.  The money lent to the US auto industry has been paid back in full  (and at a profit by some accounts) and Ford, and General Motors are thriving US companies again! 

The Obamacare legislation is harder to judge.  Mostly because it hasn't gone fully into effect yet. But the earliest results seem to show it is both reducing costs and improving health services.

We will have to see what the eventual Replican nominee proposes to do as President in the general election campaign.   He/She may have some great ideas they have been keeping under their hat during the Republican nomination process. 

So, for those reasons, it is probably going to be very difficult for a Republican nominee to replace President Obama this year in the general election.

The next 10 months will be great!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Fire

I hope you are ready for a LOT of pictures, LOL!

Well, I like a fire each New Year's Eve, and managed one again.  Mostly paper, cardboard, and flimsy boxes that clementines came in.  But you use what you have.

First, I had to clear out the area in front of the fireplace.  The basement is really my woodworking shop, and I cant have those machines heated by a fire.  There was my tablesaw there too, but I moved it before I thought to take a picture.  And it was really awkward to maneuver it out of the way even on its mobile base, so I wasn't going to put it back just for the sake of a photo!



Stuff I had to move...

I had various "stuff to burn":
Wood scraps...

Packing paper, Clementine tangerine boxes, cardboard... BTW, that wood box was built for me by my dad.  Its really for kindling storage.  I liked it so much I built one like it for a friend.  Good ideas should be passed forwards.

Then I set up the fire.  As I said, it wasn't a "proper" fire, just accumulated burnable stuff from 2011, so it really did look trashy.  But fire makes all look the same afterwards.

 The set up...

The initial lighting...  Of course I lit a sheet of newspaper in there first to establish the draft (and make sure the damper was open).

The  initial burn...

 The first good burning...

The funny part was the "old oak board".  It was left over since when I had oak floors installed about 15 years ago.  It got left out on the patio and deteriorated before I brought it inside again.  So I decided it was time to use it up.

The tradition is "yule logs".  Yule logs were long and were slowly pushed into the main fire as they burned.  I think there used to be some importance as to how long they lasted.  Like years of good luck, or something like that.  Well, I guess this was a "yule board" and it only lasted an hour.  So I hope the "good luck gods" will take that into account.  :)

Once I had some good embers and heat, I introduced old Mr Oak Board into the fireplace.  You can see it fed slowly into the small fireplace fire here...

The start...




 As the tip burns!

Almost gone...
It burns nicely. 

 Oak is great in a fireplace!

The last bit of it!


I even swept up loose bark and tossed that in...

And the finale about 1 am New Year's Day! That gray spot above the ashes?  That's actually where the soot on the back of the fireplace was burned off.  Looks strange though, like "the ghost of the fire".

BTW, I used to have such hot fires that my grate has sagged.  You can see the curve in that last photo.  I think I should turn it over and have another hot fire to sag it back to "straight".  LOL!