Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's In A Name

In the case of Lloyd, it appears only the first and last letters are important.

Okay. So the name Lloyd is unusual. (Thanks go to Mom for making me special). In 1940, the name Lloyd ranked 100th according to Social Security Popular Baby Names. The last year Lloyd made it into the top 1000 was in 2002 when it ranked 992.

Some Starbucks ask for the name to put on the cup when taking the order. Rarely spelled with two "L"s, I am not one to complain. However, ....

Undiagnosed dyslexia is rampant. Over these many years, I have had the opportunity to see many variations on the misspelling. Most spellers know there is a "Y" in the name., but don't know where to put it. Add to the misspelling in the image these seen versions: Llyod, Loyld and Llody.

Regardless of the disrespect shown this semi-regular customer, I will frequent Starbucks to keep their baristas employed. Yeah. I know it is a poor way to preserve my wealth, but habits need to be tended.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hot Times

The locals in the Napa Valley said that it has been a cool summer. However, Nature doesn't know about months or seasons as Mother Earth wobbles through space around the sun. Don't know how Nature does it, but with wobble, ocean current, ocean heating or whatever, today's predicted high is 99. More than likely my thermometer will register about 105 -- in the shade. The mid 90s heat has been the mantra for the last several days. Fortunately, cooler days are predicted beginning later in the week.

It is also that hot time of year for electioneering. The lawns, vacant lots, billboards, bumper stickers are emblazoned with smiling faces to vote for one liar (oops) or another. Honorable is certainly a farce when that adjective is used for elected government officials. Two sites that I check periodically track politician statements: and It appears all candidates lie, tell half truths, incomplete facts, quote out of context, etc. Surprise. So how would a voter choose. Really. Does it matter who gets elected.

Then there is that old saw about knowing when a politician is lying -- his mouth is moving.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Broad In The Shoulder

Fortunately, that cliche does not appear in Brian Gore's western genre book: A Matter Of Honor. Science fiction for some. Mysteries for others. For me, it's always been the western fiction genre. Many hours were spent on airplanes reading Louis L'Amour, Terry Johnston, Zane Grey, etc.

A Matter Of Honor is a fast moving story and not easy to put down. With good guys, bad guys, a love interest, and horses, it is has all the elements of western cowboy fiction. However, Gore goes beyond that to tell a great story about one man who stands up to the injustice of the greedy rancher. The greedy rancher with government connections on his side can make anything happen including disposing of that one man. Without divulging the complete plot of the book, I couldn't help but note the plot looks very like the one that plays out in today's real life of average Joe, apathetic voters, large corporations and government.

Brain Gore's A Matter Of Honor is available as an eBook download at Smashwords.

After reading the book, it is easy to believe that the writer of the book is the same multi talented Brian I met at Starbuck's in Loveland, Colorado for coffee. Brian is also the writer behind the blog and web site RV Boondocking The Good Life.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Napa Valley Color

According to Winemaker John at Bell Wine Cellars, the harvest is late this fall. There has been some crushing, but peak harvesting has really not yet begun. A cool summer has slowed the ripening of the grapes. Two days ago, the weather turned hot -- mid 90s to be followed by more hot days before 80 degree weather returns. This just a few days after the first day of fall.

Traveling up and down the roads of Napa Valley, there are plenty of photo ops. Expect more of these photos and fall colors to appear while Wandrin Wagon is parked in Napa.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Great Software for Mac

Perhaps I could be trained to develop a useful filing system. Instead for the Mac user, check out this great find in software for stickie notes, note taking, light word editing, saving internet URLs and quotes, etc. Notational Velocity can do all that and stores the notes in its data base. No need to worry about where to store the notes and then find them. Let the software file them in its data base. WIth the data base available, to find note(s), enter a few words in the command line and word matching notes will appear.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Get Bored

I get bored. There I've said it. That goes for spending nine years as a nomadic explorer. I need a change. This is who I am. I knew that when I started wand'rin' back in 2001.

In my 35 years of employment in Information Technology (in the old parlance: Data Processing), I had the same problem. After a few years in the same position, I started to get bored. Fortunately, there were occasions of change in responsibilities and tasks or some thing new to learn. That would be enough to keep me going for a while. It was only a matter of time before once again something had to change at the current employer -- or I found a new employer.

That is what is happening to me now with travel. The nomadic exploring is not as exciting as it once was. As I was headed to the northwest this spring, I realized my heart wasn't in the nomadic exploring travel the way I once was. Eastern Oregon provided many a possible stop for an extended explore, but I just didn't care. There were places for hikes. There were small towns just begging for a photo stop. I couldn't be bothered.

Needing a break from travel. With cool weather on the Oregon coast and looking for warmer days, I headed to Portland for what turned out to be a seven week stay. At one time, Portland was on a list of places for settling down. There were plenty of blue skies during my stay. However, there are a few too many winter months of gray and overcast days. I wouldn't last one year -- let alone a winter.

The final list. In a previous post, I noted that list was down to three: Fort Collins (Colorado), Tucson, and San Diego. Several comments have noted the attractiveness of Arizona's Verde Valley. I've always found plenty to do there and enjoyed my stays. The Grand Canyon isn't really that far away. The elevation is high enough to have cooler summers than Phoenix. Okay. Verde Valley will be put on the list above San Diego.

Those four places are for that day when personal health requires a settled existence or I am physically unable to handle the truck and trailer. The list may also change. What may be attractive about a location today may not be so attractive when the time comes to make that decision.

Purchase or rent. Whenever that day comes, there will be no purchase of sticks and bricks. Renting is the only option. When I decide I don't like the neighborhood or I want to check out one of those other cities on that list, I don't want to be concerned with selling the property. Just return the key to the landlord and make a nomadic travel to the new location.

Short term plans....Hoping that the settling down time is farther in the future, my plans are to become a snow bird with summers in central, southwest and/or Front Range Colorado and winters in the Tucson area.

A final caveat: These are my thoughts today. There will be change. This is who I am.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Color Sample

A single red leaf on this plant warns of future cooler weather and shorter days.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Physical Balance

With my long time balance tag line, the irony of my periodic physical balance episodes are not lost on me. No doubt my readers will also find it humorous.

Over the past several months I have experienced infrequent episodes of unsteadiness. The episodes range from a nanosecond to a few seconds. Fortunately, it never gets to vertigo. A day or two would pass between the unsteady episodes. After arriving in Portland and a couple experiences, I headed to the emergency room to see if there was some obvious solution.

Of course nothing could be found. For me, that was the expected result. It's like a broken car that fails periodically. Until the car fails permanently, there is no way to analyze the problem.

So the referral to the neurologist ended with the same result. Neurologist in office tests did point to a problem. There was the inability to walk a straight line while looking at my feet. Standing straight with my eyes closed also pointed to a balance problem. Additional blood tests were run to rule out other possible causes. Nothing.

The usual question -- and the answer: Blood pressure is taken frequently and the reading is always the same -- it's borderline at 130/80. Perhaps it is always "normal" when I check it because I have trained myself years ago to relax when blood pressure is taken.

Jeesh. Is this physical unsteadiness coincidental as this body "celebrated" 70 years of living. Perhaps it may be just part of that downhill slide. Age appropriate condition. :))

Do not be concerned as I drive down the road driving Silver Slug and towing Wandrin Wagon. If the dizzy episodes occurred while driving, I would get the issue resolved before going any further down the road.

Note to self: Watch alcohol consumption. With an inability to walk a straight line, a roadside sobriety test would end in failure.

Yup. Enjoying Life Is A Matter Of Balance.... Indeed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Acorn Storage

Seeing a squirrel fleeing into the grass, I saw this acorn storage unit. Could that squirrel be stealing from this larder. Or perhaps the squirrel is highly evolved and uses the woodpecker created holes on the post to store acorns.

Nearby was a one time power pole about twenty feet high with a holes covering the entire surface providing a much larger acorn storage capacity.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One Less on The Short List

That list: possible places to settle down. Portland has been removed. The top ranked places remaining: Fort Collins (Colorado), Tucson, and San Diego.

My recent six weeks stay in Portland was very pleasurable and I had a good time exploring the area. There was lots of natural exploring, country drives, photo ops, downtown walks, dining, etc. There was lots more to do. I experienced just a small part of what there was to do -- and I didn't go hiking. Walked lots of places, but didn't hike on an "official" hiking trail.

However, my mood and ambition are fueled by blue skies and gets me outside. Fortunately, I was in Portland at the time of year when there are frequent blue skies. It is those other months with the gray skies that would have me cloistered in a cell staring into a computer -- or other indoor activities like eating too much.

Nomadic exploring after ten years isn't as attractive as it once was. Time for a change. The current thoughts are for extended stays in Colorado, Arizona and southern California and migrate with the changes in weather. Guess that would be a snowbird. :)

Seems I'm going through one of those periods when I imagine "I'll be happier when..." However, I know I am fooling myself. Regardless. That is the plan.

The photos: Salmon at Bonneville Hatchery in viewing tank. Duck tracks turn to weasel tracks. Enjoying the scene at Oregon Gardens. Osprey hovers over fish ladders.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Purse Purchase

For several months, I've been looking for a replacement for the large day pack with too many pockets. That pack carried the iPad, the camera, the water bottle, the pencil and note paper, etc. Finally found the replacement in the woman's section at REI as a mini sling bag. I had found shoulder packs in other stores, but they were as large as the pack that I was trying to replace.

Fortunately this (woman's) bag was in basic black and it has become my version of a "man purse".

The unpaid model in this photo demonstrates how the bag may be carried. It may also be slung over the head on the other shoulder.

Another view of the purse.

Great bag. This one will be with me for a long time.

Note: On the REI website, the mini sling bag shown is essentially the same bag. It has the same product code, but the layout of zippers and pockets is a bit different.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Haystack Rock

When in Cannon Beach, do what all the other tourists do. Take a photo of Haystack Rock.

It was on the most recent visit (with Krista and TJ) to Cannon Beach when I (finally) captured a scenic photo that looks like every other photo of the rock outcropping. Walking downtown Cannon Beach art galleries and gift stores, the rock is the feature of every knickknack and art gallery item.

Here's my version:

With some Photoshop distortion...

How about black and white....

Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Osprey Hopes

At the Bonneville Dam, the salmon were leaping and swimming the ladders in their mono minded approach up the Columbia River to reproduce. Most likely, the osprey was looking for a meal. It may have been tempting for the osprey to sink his talons in one of those salmon. However, the osprey would be out-weighed by the salmon and would get a dunking for the effort.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Migration South

Son TJ and DIL Krista were not able to see Mount Hood during their visit to the Portland area. However, as we toured the area, I was able to lead them to very few of the many places to explore in the area. Today, they head back to Denver.

For me, that ends my stay in the Portland area. Late this morning, Silver Slug will be hitched to Wandrin Wagon and the migration south begins. Exploring along the way, arrival in Palm Springs will be about six weeks from now.

The first leg of the journey will be 100 miles down the I-5 freeway to Eugene, Oregon. After a few days of exploring, the migration south will continue.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bee Breakfast

From Swan Island Dahlias....

Considering September's cooler days and nights, no doubt collecting nourishment for the winter ahead is the goal of this nectar collector.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

An Economics Lesson

The lesson occurred about 60 years ago. Less than a half mile from the farm home was Dodge's Tavern -- an eight stool bar with the facilities out back. On rare occasions, Dad would stop in for a beer and buy a Royal Crown cola** for me.

I may have asked why we stopped here rather than at the nearby farming village tavern. Regardless of the question, it was an opportunity for a simple economics lesson.

When Dad bought a beer, this allowed Dodge (bachelor proprietor always drove Dodge cars) to purchase groceries at the nearby country general store. His purchases allowed the Falck family (owners of the Morrison general store) to make purchases. The use of money to purchase services or products continued from purchaser to seller.

It was a simple lesson -- in simpler times.

** Invert the words and today's beverage of choice is Crown Royal Whiskey.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Camera Club

With frequent sundown visits to the Tualatin Wildlife Preserve for sunset and bird photos, I wasn't alone in the attempt for another great photo. With mega lenses and high end cameras and tripods, my photo taking by comparison was entry level.

Conversations with fellow amateur photographers informed me of a local camera club's monthly meeting in a room at the Preserve visitor center. Attendees were asked to bring a photo (on a USB drive) for critiquing. Not knowing what was the competition, I declined that opportunity.

There were three judges -- two supporting themselves with photography and workshops. After brief intros about their background and how they look at photos for judging, the critique began. The photos were projected from a PC. The projected photos were not equal to what was visible on the monitor. Considering this, the judges ignored color and sharpness and limited their comments to the form, focus, subject and overall composition.

Surprising to me was the frequent suggestion to use Photoshop to improve the photo through cropping, cloning out distractions or blur annoying backgrounds. Along with a good camera, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are part of the photographers tools to create a magazine cover, nature book photo or wall art.

In retrospect, I realized I should have brought a photo. However, selecting one from my hundreds of bests would have been difficult. Perhaps creating a file "a best ten" from those hundreds would be a good idea. That would make the selection a little easier.

Note: Photo was taken at Tualatin Wildlife Preserve. The sunset cast the great colors on the scenery with the great blue heron. Photoshop was used to crop and add the frame.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Work and Play

Americans vs Vacation was an article I came across. The article describes the American work/play time that I was trying to attempt to balance when I was still employed a decade ago. It appears there has been no change in the past ten years.

Then I wonder why all those socialized countries have more vacation time and other social benefits and yet the unemployment rate is no different than that in the US. In some cases it is less.

It's a stretch, but with lots of thoughts in this cynical mind I find that to be a segue to a recently spotted sign posted in anticipation of elections in November.

Not sure what those words on the sign mean. Today is no different from the past 100 years regardless of the governmental party makeup. The serf works for the corporation and that corporation decides the laws the government enacts regardless of the party in power. (More cynicism)

For your reading enjoyment: Building a Nation of Know Nothings by Timothy Egan

With the upcoming elections resulting in another stand off in legislation, the fictional result may be How Caesarism Came to America. Don't forget that sometimes science fiction became reality.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Last Day For Rich

Cool days and cool nights for the past week. High yesterday was 67 degrees. For Rich's last day in town, it was a driving tour of nearby agricultural lands. A stop was made at the Swan Island Dahlias. Lots of photo ops with a multitude of varieties and colors.

One of many closeups...

Among other claims to fame, the town of Silverton has the distinction of straddling the 45th parallel.

Looks like a good place for a bar called "The Half Way House".

Three balanced meals each day required more ethnic dining. So we headed to Mt Angel for a German themed lunch at the Mt. Angel Sausage Company. Potato pancakes, sausage and beer took care of lunch.

For meal three and for Rich's last meal in town, we headed to Dar Essalam -- a Moroccan restaurant. Excellently spiced four course dinner of lamb shank was a great way to celebrate a great week of dining and exploring.

Never did go hiking. Maybe next time.