Saturday, December 20, 2008

The muck and the yuck

In the extreme south west corner of the contiguous states, there's a garden spot where the Tijuana river flows across the border into the U.S.....It forms a sort of delta that captures all the trash, bodies, and raw sewage Mexico sends our way. There are no real developments here, just a bunch of horse corrals and some shanty houses for ranch hands.
When it rains hard and long the whole valley floods. Every time. Most have the sense to move their horses somewhere else but some of the corrals get 8' or more of water, so some people try to go and let them out. They get stuck. The 'swiftwater response team' takes care of most of them and does a good job letting as many horses out as they can. We flew down and assisted---I think we got a total of 6 people out and up to higher ground. The lifeguards did quite a few more.
Today the river's back down but we have lots of snow in the back country and everyone's off school---Wonder if we'll get a snow rescue

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Solar energy

Annamarie's mood, and therefore the mood of our whole house, is largely dependent on how many excited air molecules collide with her. The more, the better. Unfortunately we live in a location where the molecules of air are spaced further apart, so to excite them into colliding with her requires fusing expensive hydrocarbons with oxygen. Combine with this my family's unwillingness to participate in keeping the excited molecules inside, and you're talking some serious bucks.
Fortunately, there are devices placed around our neighborhood that collect sunlight, pull large amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere, and produce oxygen. They're pretty ingenious. Most of the carbon from the CO2 ends up in the ground where it will become a hydrocarbon so future environmentalists can make future consumers feel bad about exploiting it....Some of the carbon, however, is stored in solid form. It's free for the taking. It takes some effort, but if I spend a good day's work I can collect it and convert it to a useful size. I'll store it in bulk until I need it. We have some devices in our house that you can put it in to reduce it-----the stored sunlight is released in a wavelength that excites the air molecules and another wavelength that's a visual stimulus to further elevate mood.
Yesterday, before our date, I had just enough time to collect two truckloads of the stuff, make it the right size, and store it in a compact manner. Shielding it from precipitation keeps the moisture content low, facilitating the reduction process.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Leader of a nation or democrat patsy?

Illinois politics has long been the most insider friendly quid-pro-quo environment (with the possible exception of DC, at least) in the nation. This whole Blagovich thing is a surprise to no one, and kudos to the local dems for keeping him out of the press just long enough.
His dirty political stench will absolutely impact Obama's first days in office.
If Obama is a member of the Illinois democrat inner circle that got him into office, he should encourage a delay in filling the Senate seat he left vacant, so the new Governor can whisk another Democrat insider in. If Obama wants to distance himself from that cesspool and demonstrate he's setting aside partisan politics for the good of the nation, he could very publicly support a special election for the seat. Chances are a Democrat would win it anyway, so the actual political risk is minimal to him.
If he did call for a special election, I would be very impressed by the move. If my character assessment of him is accurate, though, he'll lay low and let politics as usual prevail---why run the risk of losing the senate majority? Please note---my character assessments aren't 100% accurate.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3 insignificant miracles

This is a picture of Annamarie's miraculous keychain. OK maybe miracle is a stretch, and curiosity fits better.
There are three things that amaze me about her keychain.
20 years ago I bought my first house in Julian. I was in my early 20's and Annamarie and I were dating. I had to cut back a big manzanita bush, and the wood was pretty enough that I carved this heart for Annamarie.
Amazing thing #1---the initials AM + SV scratched onto the surface is more significant now than it was way back then..... Amazing thing #2 I scratched those initials in the exact center of the heart (I have a picture somewhere)---over time they've been slowly drifting to the left (thank God we haven't drifted slowly to the left) Not sure if it'll be an omen if they drift right off the keychain....The most amazing thing is, #3---in 20 years, Annamarie has never lost her keys.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas inspiration

Skipping Christmas is so very tempting. I had a brazillion things to get done, but I had to keep reminding myself that things like Christmas decorating are the extras that make it all worth it. At our home, it starts with my decorating the mantle in the dining room/kitchen area, then Annamarie follows the theme for everywhere else in the house. This year Mckenna did the banister, too. Next yuletide hurdle was the Christmas letter, which Annamarie starts pressuring me to write in July----I woke up at work last night inspired and got it done. So now my job is my job; I picked up an overtime shift at Station 21; this is the view out my window. When I get too old for the copter maybe I'll bid in here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Visit to the George's

Made the drive last night right after school, up to Lake Forest to the George's house. It was a little over 2 hours and well worth it. It's good to see people 'in their nest', to picture what their lives are like. The food was great, playing Wii was fun, and jumping the neighbor's fence to steal guava and limes from the trees was good. Also---Mckenna's math homework has passed my capabilities. Rob helped her out, thank God. She's going to start calling him at work instead of me for homework help. Ina's in the picture hiding.....