Monday, April 27, 2009

Missoula, Montana

RBG's travel blogs are my favorite, so I thought I'd give it a try. I know Missoula isn't as exotic as Helsinki. I was expecting more of a hick town, and was pleasantly surprised by the character here. Lots of very well maintained old brick buildings nestled in the mountains, in the Bitterroot valley. Most of the old buildings have a plaque describing its history and architecture.
The class is Helibase Manager Training. If you're not familiar with the concept of the 'Peter Principal', it implies that you keep promoting and progressing until you reach your level of incompetence. That's why I'm here.
My dorm room is OK, kind of like a hostel. It's $3.95 a night and the classroom is right below me. There are 6 beds in my room. Good people work for USFS

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If you want to be rich like me, do the things I do

Here's your chance to get in on something big. You should know by now the people who hit it big in Amway, Shaklee, and the other MLM's are the ones that got in early.
I want to set up Multi Level Marketing company called 'Greenway'. We are going to sell carbon offsets.
Here's how it works. For a small buy-in, you can use the business name and attend fabulous seminars. You get to work from home and do all the work online. Your market is easy----if you can list twelve people that don't realize Al Gore is a liar and a crook, you've already met your first quota, and earned your 'green belt' by signing them up. If just half of THEM sign up 12 people who buy in, you only have to forward 75% of that buy get to keep 25%. At that point you become a certified "Green Warrior" (I'll send the certificate myself. It will be etched in naturally sloughed birchbark and delivered by zero impact hitchhikers)
Isn't this just a pyramid scheme? NO!!! You'll be selling a real thing people are very in need of--peace of mind. Media has made everybody feel really bad about their carbon footprint. Here's a way for the little guy to shed the guilt by purchasing carbon offsets. They get a bumper sticker too. There's a bunny on it, by the way.
The bumper stickers will be made of 100% post consumer recycled waste with adhesive from sustainable rubber trees, harvested by third world starving animists.
Here's where the offset comes in. We will be publishing 3 color graphs that show Amway's carbon footprint from packaging, shipping, posters, and reams of paper used administratively. "Greenway" will be completely digital; in fact, you must take an oath not to print out anything. Flashdrives are acceptable. Our graphics will show the HUGE carbon savings "Greenway" offers as an MLM when compared with "Amway". As the company grows, so grows the carbon savings. We'll be making a case for the carbon footprint for a $20 bill (eight tons of polar bear killing CO2) and we'll guarantee that when those bills work their way to the top, we'll have methods to dispose of the cash appropriately.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mobile gel mixer

So we took delivery today of the 'mobile gel mixer'. We heard rumors of it coming. Someone way high up outside our department decided the city was safer if we had one and came up with funding.
It's huge. It's a massive trailer with a 3000 gallon steel tank that can be placed hydraulically on the ground, and an 1800 gallon mixing unit. The idea is you set this thing up, find a water supply, and start mixing fire fighting gel then pumping it to the tank. The copters can dip out of the tank or use the snorkel to fill. It's really, really big.
We'll see how useful it is on a real fire. Right now generating a user's manual and buiding a structure to shelter it is the concern. I'll bet you don't have one of these at work.
Did I mention it's really big? Shiny too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Canadian Geese, eh?

I got back from vacation and checked in at the lake office. Two of the dock hands came in very flustered. We had rented the pontoon boat out, and a pair of geese nested and laid two eggs; the dock hands were trying to relocate the nest. Geese, apparently, don't like that.
I told the lake manager to leave the geese alone and call the newspaper to get some press out of it at least. Ed Zeiralski is the outdoor news writer for the San Diego Union/Tribune and stays at our cabin whenever he comes up, he was nice enough to give a little plug at the end of the article.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2 Grams of friendship

Just have to rave about Byron and Paula. Byron brought us to the airport even after I gave him the wrong dates; then picked us up (5:00 am) this morning. He picked us up in AnnaMarie's car, which Paula had washed/detailed. When we got to their house to drop off Byron, Paula had gotten up early to bake fresh muffins, and packed a bag with yogurt, fruit, drinks...It was the perfect thing for 5 weary travellers, and I don't think we were spry enough to fully appreciate them. None of this will come as a surprise to anyone that knows them. Whenever we have a party, they show up to work----and don't even have to ask what needs to be done. Paula always adds an extra touch of style, Byron always brings something that makes the party---spud guns, iron puzzles, liquid nitrogen ice cream, magnesium engine blocks to burn---something.
Not sure why we're so blessed to have friends like this

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cross reactions in resourcinols

Yay, going to Hawaii where there is NO urushiol, the alkyloid in Poison Oak that causes a bad dermatitis. "Hey Daddy can we buy mangos?" No...I'll pick some wild ones for free.
Find mango tree. Pick mango. Mango sap drips on various exposed skin sites. Skin inflammation occurs, just like poison oak.
Mangos and poison oak/ivy/sumac are all sumacs. The alkylloid mangol is very similar to the alkylloid urushiol, and cross sensitivities are the rule, not the exception. Basically, if you have been sensitized to poison oak, avoid mango sap and skin of the fruit. Nuts. (Eating the fruit is fine and will not cause a reaction)
Oh well. The discomfort is minor compared to the excitement of learning something new.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Indian Mongoose

The Indian Mongoose was introduced to the Hawaiian islands to eradicate the rats that came with the ships. The rats were destroying the sugar cane. Problem is, rats are nocturnal, mongooses are diurnal. They gnosh on native birds, lizards, and the like.
Mongooses (not mongeese) are related to to meerkats. They can learn tricks and make fair pets, but like civets have an unpleasant scent gland.
The flora and fauna on pacific islands lack predation so the mongooses thrive.