13 May 2020
Some random notes from The Range ...
Some of you have seen the gear I normally have close to paw (back in the 2015 blog, wherever that went), whether self propelled, on the road, or in some other way moving around. I have an EDC (every day carry) bag that usually weighs at least 17.5 pounds (depending on which tools are in it at the time), and an INCH (I'm not coming home) bag that weighs at least 34 pounds, depending again on what tools are in it. When the flag goes up, the EDC becomes part of the loadout, and fully equipped it's near 65 pounds total. That doesn't include other tools I may also want to carry, which may be mounted to the combination or strapped on me elsewhere.
Since COVID came to town I've been trying to walk around the neighborhood every day, just to stress and exercise the systems a little bit. Operative word being trying. I'm not anywhere near meeting that self-imposed schedule, so when I do have time to ramble, I put one of those packs on my back to make myself work a little harder. If nothing else it keeps me ready for when I have to put those on when the deal goes down.
I hear the countdown,
Am I the only one?
Is it in my head?
Four - three - two - one ...
The clock's ticking ... 16 days, three hours, 48 minutes as I type this. When that clock reaches zero, at 1630 hours Friday, 29 May, I'll be a free coyote. Old, yeah, but free of my labors in the service of my employer. I expect BB and I will very soon thereafter exit, stage left in the LRB, with a sonic boom as we hit the road for better horizons. Stay tuned for updates!
Tick tock time's up
God already hung up.
Tell the lie, say goodbye,
Tell me when it all falls down!
Years ago someone referred to the collection of data management tools I worked with back then as my "Command Center." This is the current version. The laptop I have used for the past dozen plus years to maintain this web site is visible in the lower right corner. That is the only part of the original equipment that fetched the original moniker. Back then it was just that, a 20" flatscreen VGA monitor, and a remote hard disk. Things have changed, mostly because of two things, COVID and my slowly failing eyesight. Now I rely on dual Asus 27" flatscreens at 1366 x 768 resolution to see what I'm doing. They are capable of much better resolutions, but when I "max them out" I have trouble reading the text ... Don't grow old!
The other laptop is my company-issue machine. As I try to do what little of my job I can do from home, this is my interface to the Met world. Yeah, that's Duke on the desktop image. The caption reads I drink coffee in the morning ... because whiskey before 10 AM is unprofessional. Yes, there's a backstory to that, and no ... I'm not telling it now. Conjecture away.
And yes, I'm still using Dreamweaver MX to maintain my web pages. I know Adobe bought it out and made a "better" version of it under their own banner, but this one just works. I'm not inclined to upgrade.
These have been trying times for all of us. We here are fortunate enough to be navigating the rough air without difficulty. The three of us (BB, me, and Ma Coyote) are healthy and safe. Many of those around us ... not so much. Our hearts go out to those who are in more dire straits than we are. We hope all of you are faring well, staying healthy, and not succumbing to the mania that is going on around us. Improvise, adapt, and overcome. The future may not look like the past, but that's OK. It's nothing to be afraid of if you're ready to deal with it. Be bold, be strong, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
OK, woofing and yipping mode off.
(Oh yeah, props to New Medicine for the lyrics from "End Of The World" from their album Race You To The Bottom.)
8 May 2020
Putting the finishing touches on eight weeks of lockdown. We're still healthy, and if you don't mind the additional hassle and delay of ordering everything on line and getting it delivered (sometimes weeks later), the supply chain seems to be loosening up a bit. Got my haircut in my own garage by BB, that was fun. First time in 30 years or so Luz hasn't worked me over. Time's are changing. The weather is sort of cooperating, since my last post here we've gone from gray and damp with occasional real rain to CAVU - clear and visibility unlimited - with highs in the 90s. In early May. Summer isn't here yet. It's gonna be hot this summer, no doubt.
Can you believe it? I haven't bought a tank of gas or eaten a meal in a restaurant in two months! I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Every now and then I fire up the LRB and run around the neighborhood enough to get the fluids circulating and warm, and do the same for pop's '04 Cherokee. Yup ... 95,000 miles and it's still running around. It was BB's every day driver until COVID came to town.
I've stopped counting weeks. At this moment (1622 hours local time) I am 21 days and eight minutes from retirement. I guess we'll still be on a modified lockdown even as I pass that milestone, but as soon as we can see a return to normalcy beginning BB and I will be out on the road. We've got a lot of work waiting for us up north, and family to catch up with, trails to run, steaks to grill, and and whiskey to drink. Retirement is going to be rough, I'm tellin' ya.
Any of you into overlanding? BB and I are looking at some of these all-terrain trailers that we can tie to the LRBs tail. Wouldn't it be cool to start your day in the outback, instead of spending half your morning getting to it from town? If you're into that or have experience with it, drop me a line. I'd like to hear your thoughts.
I have upgraded my profile at the PlanetFurry BBS. Seems I changed my email address some time ago, and neglected to let them know. My bad! But it's fixed now, and I'm actually dropping by there now and then to see if anyone is still hanging out. Lo and behold I found a recent post from The Ol' Raccoon of Bookshelf fame. I haven't communicated with Mike in many years, so I sent off an email for him to six different addresses ... all of them were valid when The Bookshelf was still in operation. I hope one of them still works, because the BBS choked when I tried to PM or email him through it.
Not much else to yip about around here. It's actually been pretty darn quiet. I hope you all are healthy and safe, and look forward to hearing from you, or at least about you. Maybe we can dream about a meet somewhere, somewhen.
Good luck, and ...
25 March 2020
Pandemic, COVID-19, and corona virus seem to be the conversational trigger words these days. It's all anyone seems to want to talk about. Local and national media runs for hours and hours about it, and local and national government have issued directives about how we are supposed to live and conduct ourselves. To quote Amarante: "I'm not saying it's good, I'm not saying it's bad ... "
But you have to admit that we're living in very different times these days, right? BB and I are very fortunate (depending on how you look at things) that our employer has sent us home. In BB's case to telecommute, in my case to stay put and do ... nothing. So every day it's the four of us: BB, me, Ma Coyote, and Ma's caregiver.
With that in mind, I posted this on my FaceBook page a couple of days ago. I was responding to a message from DF Thompson, who was expressing concern for the well-being of me and mine. (My Facebook page, if you're interested. You must be already logged into Facebook to get to it.)
We're good so far. Ma Coyote and BB and I are in our second week of seclusion. The only bump in the road is our supply chain. We have a long history of buying dry goods in bulk (remember, one of us is 94, with all the limitations and daily chores that implies), and that supply chain broke about two weeks ago when the uninformed thought that the best way to combat a virus was to build a fort in your front room out of rolls of toilet paper. Some aspects of that issue are resolving slowly.
We live in earthquake country, and BB and I both work in emergency management. Between the two of us we've probably got near 60 years of experience with that. So experience has taught us that it's good to keep a stock of stuff close to paw for situations just such as this. And we do. So we're safe and healthy, and can take care of ourselves for a while.
I'm sure you guys are similarly prepared. Whether it's tornados, hurricanes, fires, riots, arctic winters, boiling summers, bad politicians, or just life ... we all have things we need to prepare for so those we care about won't suffer. It's part of who we are, right?
Obviously our biggest concern is Ma. If COVID19 somehow manages to invade our home and her lungs, it could get very bad for her, very quickly. So we take the self-quarantine stuff pretty seriously. Sure, BB and I get out for walks now and then, and we did manage to get the LRB out of the garage last Saturday morning for a short but necessary trip, but we are staying home to make sure nothing gets in to end Ma's days.
And yeah ... it's kind of a nose rub to think that I'm part of the "OK, boomer" demographic that everyone seems to be worried about. Not sure how I feel about that, but it wouldn't bug me so much if they didn't make it sound like 60 is the new 90. So yeah, #notfeelingit. I can't be elderly if Ma is still around to dispense daily doses of guidance ... I apparently still have a lot of work to do and a lot left to learn! I'm still somebody's pup!
So ... guys ... enough about that. Stay safe, protect your family, help your community. Some day, when we really are old, we'll tell stories around the campfire about the days when everyone went nuts for toilet paper and the world slowed down for a few weeks. Then we'll get some sleep, and go find something new to explore the next morning.
It'll be fun!
I'm trying not to take the "pandemic" too seriously. Yes, the stuff is dangerous. Yes, "social distancing" and "self-quarantine" are good ways to minimize the impact of any virus. But it's not the end of the world. This is not 1918. We aren't facing Armageddon. Conversely, yes, more folks are going to die. They do every year from some form of the flu. It's normal. But despite the attention, COVID-19 really isn't ringing the bell so far. Expressed as a percentage of the total population, the number of folks afflicted or killed by it is very small. Little consolation if it's someone you know or are related to, I know, but from the "global perspective" the numbers are quite small.
The county I live in reported it's first COVID-19 fatality yesterday. My county is the third most populous county in the state, the sixth most populous in the country, and is more populous than 21 of the United States (Wikipedia - Orange County, California). My county has an estimated population of approximately 3.185 million (US Census projection) squeezed into an area of just under 950 square miles, about 790 of which are populated (urban / suburban areas). The numbers work out to about 4,030 people per square mile. As of today there have been 152 cases reported (.0047% of the population). My state has a population of 39.56 million (2018). As of yesterday there were 2,102 cases confirmed ( .0053% of the population).
Expressed as a percentage of the whole, those are pretty small numbers.
Our supply chain took a hit, probably yours did too. Panic, which some might say was fueled by overzealous media and social networks, caused a considerable portion of the population to to run out and buy up whatever they could find, clearing stores and warehouses of virtually everything in just a few days. This in a state where preparedness has been preached to the citizenry all of my sixty years, in fact since the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Amazing.
This is starting to look and sound like a rant in my own ears, and I don't want to go down that path. My sincere hope is that the lot of us will keep cool heads, protect ourselves and our families, do what we can to help our neighbors, and help us get through this ... whatever it is. Focus on the horizon. As a species we have the technology, the resources, and the will to minimize the impact or COVID-19. We can do it. We just need to want to, to make it a priority.
In my earlier post I paid homage to The Beast. For those of you who don't know, this is that machine, in its native habitat (the top of Corkscrew Pass in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado). Someone asked me about what I had been referring to ... this is it.
So I have a lot of free time on my paws. Guess I'll be spending some bucks on parts and spending part of the spring wrenching on the LRB. Sure wish my muse was around ... this would be a fabulous time to get back to working on one of my stories. Perhaps fate will be kind and she'll show up one day. In the meantime,
3 March 2020
Time to catch up, I think.
I guess a coyote can bottom out more than once, and still rise from the ashes and the shit, bind up the wounds, dust himself off, and make something of what he's got left. Or so it seems. It takes a lot of help from some good folks. A tip of my hat to you, you know who you are ...
Yeah, that's a smile. And she's a bunny of the first order. Brigid. I am very thankful for her patient love.
19 October 2019, Yosemite Valley.
So off we go, into a future of promise. Don't wish us luck. Be part of it.
And then there's the Little Red Beast ...
'Cause even an old mech-tech gun-dog of sixty needs something to move he and his missus safely from "A" to "B" in the most adventurous and enjoyable ways possible, right? It's not The Beast (all hail The Beast!), but in some ways it is better. Big enough for a conejita and a coyote and a couple of friends, plus gear. For those of you who like the scenery, we are in northeastern Arizona, looking southwest roughly up the Gypsum Wash at Monument Valley.
I'm less than three months away from retirement as I type this, and BB has a little over eight months to go herself. By the spring of '21 there'll be some big changes going on around The Range. Like a lot of those haven't already happened ... but we've got a bucket list of things to do that I'd need at least two paws to carry, so we'll be making some noise, burning lots of fuel, and racking up the miles for some time to come.
Join us if you like!
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